Take to the fields of war in Castle Raid

Castle Raid is a new iOS-based strategy game from Arcticmill. It’s designed to be a simple real-time strategy game that is accessible to both core and casual gamers, and is available now as a $1.99 Universal download from the App Store.

Castle Raid’s core concept is a conflict between two opposing forces who begin at opposite sides of the screen. The aim of the game is to destroy one’s opponent’s castle gate and thus invade their castle. This is achieved by earning money, deploying forces and occasionally unleashing special powers to hopefully turn the tide of battle.

Players earn money over time, which can subsequently be spent on deploying new units. The cheapest of these, Peasants, can be used to cut down trees on the battlefield, which brings in additional income. Players may also deploy three different military unit types — soldiers are cheap but may only attack in melee; archers are slightly more expensive, may attack from range but are not good up close; and mounted knights are most expensive, most powerful and fastest. No single unit is overpowered, so the player will require to use all the different unit types to succeed. Training three of one type of unit in one go causes the third to become a “heroic” unit with additional strength, so it is in the player’s interests to save up their money and try to deploy larger forces in one go rather than a steady stream of weak units.

The player also has access to two special weapons that recharge over time. The “offensive” weapon is a rocket launcher that is fired by tapping and holding on the screen to set a power level, then releasing to fire. Any enemy units caught in the blast from the rocket will usually be immediately defeated. Meanwhile, the “defensive” weapon fires electrical blasts at enemies who are getting close to the gate — again, this is powerful enough to defeat most enemies immediately, but takes time to recharge.

The game features both single- and multiplayer modes. In single player mode, the player competes against a series of increasingly difficult opponents across five different battlefields. Successfully winning a battle unlocks the next battlefield with the same opponent and the next most difficult opponent on the level just completed. In order to “beat” the game, players must defeat all opponents on all battlefields.

The multiplayer mode allows two players to compete using the same device. Since the game’s interface is compact and simple, this is even workable on the small screen of the iPhone, but is obviously better-suited to the iPad. The aim of the game in multiplayer mode is identical to single-player, the only difference being that both sides are controlled by human players. There is no means to play multiplayer online or via local Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connection, however — the only option is to share a device.

The game features no social features as such — not even Game Center compatibility — though the main menu does carry links to Arcticmill’s Facebook, Twitter and Web pages. A single in-app purchase is available to unlock all battlefields to play immediately for $0.99, but most players will probably want to earn their way to the later levels rather than “pay to cheat.”

Castle Raid is a decent game at its core. It’s simple to play and individual skirmishes are over relatively quickly, making it a good title for those who want a diversion for a few minutes rather than the depth of a “full” strategy title. The addition of same-device multiplayer is particularly worthy of praise, particularly as it is implemented so well, though some players would probably prefer the opportunity to play against an opponent using multiple devices either online or via local wireless connections. The game would also probably benefit from some social features, even if it is just Game Center support for achievements — with iOS 6’s new Challenge and social sharing features in Game Center, this is becoming an increasingly useful avenue for viral promotion.

Castle Raid is currently ranked at No. 129 in Top Paid Apps, No. 178 in Top Paid iPad Apps, No. 75 in Top Paid Games and No. 99 in Top Paid iPad Games. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.