Cardboard boxes have long been established as an excellent play thing; making rocket ships, boats and cars for children to play in. Cardboard Castle brings a new use for the paper-based material, as an excellent iPhone puzzle.
As any good knight should, the Knight of this story is after a quest that he can use to prove his worth. Luckily, he finds monsters that need to be stopped and damsels in distress on his journey, just the sort of thing a good Knight needs. Yes, the story is (paper) thin, but along with the charming visuals it resembles a children’s picture book with the odd nodding wink to an adult audience thrown in.
The stories are, of course, a set up for the puzzle-based gameplay that takes place over 15 levels. Each level gives you several objects and bits of scenery that you can use to allow the knight to get from one side of the screen to another, or to complete an objective. A pair of scissors could be used to cut down a tree, the sun to dry wet cardboard etc.
At first the puzzles are fairly simple, but the game soon introduces several uses for the same item, meaning that you’ll need to think carefully before using the scissors on the enemy guard when they could be used on something else and since there is a set solution, some puzzles may take a while to work out.
While, at first glance, it seems as if the puzzle element could be fairly limited, the inclusion of new elements every few levels keeps the idea fresh and the smooth learning curve prevents too much frustration during the first chapter, while still invoking some head scratching during later levels. Luckily, there are clues which can be bought using the coins littered around the scenery. Each level has a maximum of 3 coins and while the temptation is there to use them straight away, it’s a far better idea to save them for later levels when a bit of lateral thinking is in order.
The flat storybook graphics work well with the environment and puzzles. Objects are easy to pick up and interact with and characters are well animated, in an ‘old fashioned children’s TV’ sort of way. Along with all the noises from the animals and sound effects the elements combine to make the game one of the most charming looking adventures on the App Store.
The 15 levels are split in to 3 stories, but even when you finish these there is a Time Attack mode which challenges you to complete each level in a certain time. Time Attack aside, the main issue with the game is really that the 15 levels do not last long and only the need for Openfeint Trophies will see you return to the main quests. I’m hoping that BulkyPix are planning on adding more levels, though, because the game is so inventive.
Cardboard Castle is a charming puzzle adventure that is well worth experiencing, even if it does leave you scratching your head at times.
- Sound: 7
- Graphics: 8
- Gameplay: 8
- Longevity: 7
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