Castlot is a free-to-play RTS game available to play online. The game is browser based so anybody with a computer and an internet connection should be able to play it without experiencing any technical issues. Best of all, you can play the game instantly as you dont have to download any additional game data onto your hard drive.
Surprisingly, the game starts off immediately and you are unable to customize the appearance of your on-screen avatar. All you have to do is choose your desired name and you are ready to undergo the tutorial for Castlelot.
Gamers looking to play a game with high production values should definitely look elsewhere. The game lacks any audio so players will be experiencing the game in utter silence. There are no voice-overs in the game so gamers will have to read a lot of text boxes. Not only that but there no background music in Castlot which makes the atmosphere of the game very dull, although this is to be expected from a free-to-play browser based RTS game.
Graphically, the game is quite impressive for a game that lacks in other production values. As it is like with other RTS games, the games camera is from an isometric viewpoint where you can over look the city that you can build. The city is nice and bright and the graphics resemble that of Age of Empires which was released over a decade ago. Although the game is developed and published by Chinese company Clapalong, the game is obviously heavily European inspired. You wont see the cutesy looking character models and bright colors you often see in other Asian-inspired video games.
The game is not your typical RTS game, which is a good thing. The game is more objective based so you wont encounter the tedious task of collecting resources in order to build your city like most other games from the genre. This is a good thing in my opinion as it makes the game more fun to play and you are able to finish quests with much more ease.
Another great thing about Castlelot is the combat interface. Sadly, combat is all simulated and you dont have any control on the overall outcome. Nevertheless, seeing these one-on-one battles unfold is more entertaining than in most other RTS games. Once you challenge a person into a fight, the screen changes showing two combatants battling it out in an old school battle to the death. This part of the game is rendered in full 3D as you see two knights with swords and shields in hands trying to kill each other. I though this aspect of the game was highly entertaining and much more fun to watch than most battles that occur in free-to-play RTS games.
One of the earlier battles you get to see is your army facing off against a dragon. You can view the battle up close and personal and it looks very impressive. It is unlike in other RTS games where all you see is just a bunch of tiny ants fighting. The visual spectacle of actually viewing battles in this fashion makes the game much more fun to play.
If theres one thing I have to criticize about the game is that the game sometimes takes a long time to load. I am not sure if it was just my computer but the game often freezes whenever it transfers from the combat interface to the normal game. I havent encountered freezing issues when I played similar free-to-play RTS games like Chronicles of Merlin. Hopefully the developer looks into this later to make the game run more smoothly for people who own weaker computers.
Castlot may lack the high production values of other free-to-play games but it shines when it comes to witnessing combat sequences. It also breaks the stereotype of other RTS games as its more objective-based in lieu of just tediously collecting resources and building a strong army. RTS fans will love the way Castlot adds new and exciting features to the genre while other games will love the presentation of the whole game. The only unfortunate thing missing in Castlot is the lack of any audio as it gets very boring playing the game in absolute silence.
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