Tarrasque Castle is a Facebook game from Wuhan Circumferential Interactive Technology and published by 6waves. The game has been showing activity on AppData since mid-October, but was previously listed on Lolapps’ site, suggesting it has actually been around for much longer. It has recently been showing up as one of the more prominent emerging Facebook games, displaying a gain of 500% in MAU last week.
Tarrasque Castle is a puzzle game heavily inspired by the 1981 arcade game Qix and subsequent, more recent reimaginings such as Nemesys Games’ standalone PC game Fortix. The majority of the gameplay involves players tackling a series of increasingly-difficult challenges by drawing lines and filling in as much of the level as possible. The player is vulnerable to attack while drawing — if an enemy monster or projectile collides with the line they have drawn, they will lose a life point, and losing all life points causes failure of the level.
Tarrasque Castle builds a robust metagame around the core Qix-inspired concept, however. Players have a home base castle in which they can build a variety of structures to generate income and resources. With enough money, they can even purchase “guardian” creatures to protect their castle, which come into play during the player-vs-player component of the game — as well as working through the linear “single-player” campaign, it’s also possible for players to attack each others’ castles using the same line-drawing gameplay, and having stronger defenses helps make this a more significant challenge for the attacker.
An initial tutorial walks players through the basics, and this is then subsequently followed by a series of quests encouraging players to engage with all aspects of the game. This gradually helps players to familiarize themselves with the surprising amount of depth present in the game — there’s a lot more to Tarrasque Castle than simply playing Qix. Players are able to purchase a variety of buildings, customize their hero character, acquire items to use during the “battle” scenes, collect items in exchange for rewards, earn trophies — most of these mechanics are fairly conventional for social games, but to have them wrapped around something other than the usual “build and click” gameplay of a citybuilder or farming sim is a refreshing change.
Monetization stems primarily from the sale of “Dragon Coins,” which can be used to purchase a variety of premium items. These range from support items that can be used in the “battle” scenes to energy-restoring items. Players are also able to purchase “amplifier” items, which allow them to broadcast their victory in various circumstances to other players of the game via a scrolling “news ticker” at the top of the screen.
Presentation is where Tarrasque Castle falls down a little. The background music is recorded at a rather low sound quality, and consists of short, repetitive loops that most players will likely want to switch off quickly. The graphics are functional at best and feature some clashing art styles — the 16-bit style sprites for the player character and enemies aren’t really in keeping with the higher-resolution cartoonish graphics for the buildings, for example. Most noticeably, though, is the fact that the in-game text is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, presumably as a result of hasty translation. While a few errors in these circumstances are understandable, persistent mistakes such as a button reading “Star Adventure” instead of “Start Adventure” should really have been caught in quality assurance — or at least fixed post-release.
The presentation issues don’t detract from the solid gameplay, however; Tarrasque Castle is a good game, and players appear to be responding well to it, judging by the sharp increase in user figures recently. With a bit of spit and polish, it could prove to be a solid, if modest, success among social network players looking for something a little different from the usual fare.
A good, fun game that offers something a little different from the norm, albeit one that could use a bit of extra polish and a good proofreading.