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  • Writer's pictureRoberto Nieves

PAX West 2023: Castle Doombad Provides devilishly good tower defense

Sometimes, it's good to be a cartoony villainous bad guy, and developer Grumpyface knows it. The team has established a long and solid degree of cartoon-based action, making games from some of the most popular cartoons of the last ten years. Now the team is at it again in the cartoony tower-defense game, Castle Doombad.


Originally a game for Adult Swim, Castle Doombad is coming back fully revamped for today's generation of gamers. After some time with it, this devilishly good tower-defense game can't come soon enough.



The Things I Do for Love


My demo put me in two levels of the game. Players are the bad guy. Life is swell. A captured princess in one room. Coffee, donuts, and a luxurious recliner in the other. However, where there are villains, there are heroes. As per their part, the heroes are determined to ruin the day for the villains. Fortunately, the castle is armed to the teeth.


Castle Doombad is a tower-defense game that puts players as the master controller. Heroes enter the castle, determined to grab the princess and ruin the day. Fortunately, the castle is primed to make the heroes' journey insufferable. Players place everything from wooden spiked floors to buzz saws and tentacles to impede the heroes.



What a Fine Day for Science!


The first level was a breeze but undeniably enjoyable. The cartoon visuals are reminiscent of the golden age of animation in the 90s, such as Dexter's Laboratory and Powerpuff Girls. There's a degree of edgy violence that works but doesn't go over into mature territory. The heroes have to ascend floor to floor to get to the princess. Seeing their struggles at the hands of diabolical traps was quite enjoyable. Placing traps felt fast-paced and engaging, while the visual humor gave me a few chuckles.


The impressive visuals and gameplay are clearly a labor of love, and they come from an experienced team that simply loves cartoons." We've made plenty of games over the years, including games for Steven Universe and Teen Titans Go. We wanted to bring Castle Doombad back as this is a special game for us. Castle Doombad was originally for Adult Swim, and this game helped put us on the map."



Do the Monkey with Me


The second level was significantly challenging. The heroes used hooks and rappelled themselves higher. Additionally, resources needed to be accelerated. Fortunately, the "scream" tower, which is exactly as it sounds, makes the environment more unsettling. This helps create points to spend on towers. A few well-placed traps stopped the stampeding Invaders, but it also introduced me to a herculean boss. This boss, coming in on horseback, has a chest the size of a desk and a head the size of a fridge.


These ridiculous proportions highlight his nearly impervious strength. To defeat the boss, traps had to be placed precisely, namely the buzz saws and tentacles. One other choice was a troll to block the path and act as a damage sponge, but as that took many points, it was better to rely on simpler traps. Before long, the boss was felled, and the demons over. Not only was I rewarded a victory, but I was also rewarded with a set of pogs, courtesy of the team.



Expect the Unexpected


It is abundantly clear that the team lives and breathes the world of cartoons. The demo for Castle Doombad was refreshingly colorful and enjoyable, as well as self-aware. If this was just a sampling of the final game, players are in for a true winner on their hands. The final game is teasing dozens of levels, with 35 traps and manually activated traps, too. While I didn't get a chance, the game will be compatible with Steamdeck, making this a perfect choice for gamers on the go. With this level of enthusiasm, I simply cannot wait for Castle Doombad's debut. What awaits this villainous adventure is sure to be incredible.


Castle Doombad launches in 2024.



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