App description: BIG HOLIDAY UPDATE! All new holiday levels added with Santa and a whole lot of gingerbread!

Build amazing 100, 500 or even 1000 foot tall castles for the King, because, well, that's what Kings like. Castles! And really big ones!

Take on the role (if you dare) of the King's personal castle builder and be prepared to jump at his every whim as you build amazing castles for the kingdom.

Building castles hasn't been this much fun since 1326.

And when your done building castles, it's time to destroy them! Use Cannonballs, Super Cannonballs and even UFOs to destroy not only your castles, but the castles of your Game Center friends.

Compete with your friends and the world to build the tallest and most amazing castles.

The King isn't stingy. Building castles earns coins you can spend on exciting upgrades and new building styles like Cathedrals!

slewis7's comments:


I never heard of this until Touch Arcade gave it a front page favorable review today. I immediately downloaded it and I have played a few minutes. It looks and plays great! Of course there are in-game coins to be earned and they can also be bought using IAP. It is too early for me to tell whether real money needs to be spent to progress far, but this is well worth a look.
07-20-2012, 04:47 PM
#2
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: California
Posts: 914
If only it weren't freemium...

Please, for the love of God, just charge me a couple of bucks and be done with it.

07-20-2012, 05:31 PM
#3
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 1,173
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ubisububi View Post
If only it weren't freemium...
It doesn't look like the IAP is needed, it doesn't look like it would take too long to unlocking stuff. There are some consumable items though, but they appear to be just for the 'Destroy' mode (eg cannonballs to throw at other castles).
07-20-2012, 06:17 PM
#4
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Redding, CA, USA
Posts: 11,150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ubisububi View Post
If only it weren't freemium...

Please, for the love of God, just charge me a couple of bucks and be done with it.
I'm right with you on this! While the basic concept is cool, true freemium games like this make me feel like I'm only "leasing" the game at best.

How they zing you in this one?

-In the Destruction mode you need to BUY all of your ammo (the default cannon barely removes one building block). This isn't immediately clear as you start with enough fireballs to play through a couple of levels (the game starts with these fireballs selected by default and I had no idea that I only had a finite amount, I just assumed the number shown was how many I got EACH attack, not one time uses).

-The actual gameplay initially seems almost generous with the coins as all coins earned in a level play through are kept BUT, the coins only appear your first successful play through of a level. If you complete a level without getting them all YOU CAN NEVER GO BACK AND TRY AGAIN (you can replay any level but there won't be any coins which is a huge part of your score when playing a level)!

-Another campaign, which might be decent but is clearly priced beyond any amount of coins you'll make simply playing the game.

So, all and all, kind of a cute game but far too freemium scammy to recommend.

Tim "Lord Gek" Jordan, Game Consultant
OpenFeint, Plus+, & Twitter: LordGek
GameCenter, Crystal, & iTunes: Lord Gek
My iTunes Reviews
07-20-2012, 06:39 PM
#5
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 1,173
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordGek View Post
the coins only appear your first successful play through of a level. If you complete a level without getting them all YOU CAN NEVER GO BACK AND TRY AGAIN (you can replay any level but there won't be any coins which is a huge part of your score when playing a level)!
The coins are still appearing on subsequent play throughs of levels for me, but not on the first level for some reason (which is annoying, as I didn't collect them all the first time). So I wonder if there's a bug somewhere.

It does look like they are meant to appear every time you play a level, as they are in a different pattern each time you replay the level, and the selection of patterns is different for different levels.
07-20-2012, 06:45 PM
#6
I hate freemium as much as the next guy, but I think there is still a lot to enjoy in this game without forking over real cash. I too would have been happy to pay a few bucks or so for a complete game here without the IAPs. Still, the devs have got to find a way to make a living and freemium seems to work better then playing the app store lottery.

By the way, the same developers have a word game named Word Spiral HD, which is a few years old and currently goes for 99 cents. I bought it after trying Big Big Castle and Word Spiral is pretty darn good and worth a look.

Game Center: MarinasideSteve

Last edited by slewis7; 07-20-2012 at 06:49 PM.
07-20-2012, 08:11 PM
#7
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Redding, CA, USA
Posts: 11,150
Quote:
Originally Posted by HLW View Post
The coins are still appearing on subsequent play throughs of levels for me, but not on the first level for some reason (which is annoying, as I didn't collect them all the first time). So I wonder if there's a bug somewhere.

It does look like they are meant to appear every time you play a level, as they are in a different pattern each time you replay the level, and the selection of patterns is different for different levels.
Oh? Well then the game is already earning back some of my respect. Thanks for the heads up on that.

Tim "Lord Gek" Jordan, Game Consultant
OpenFeint, Plus+, & Twitter: LordGek
GameCenter, Crystal, & iTunes: Lord Gek
My iTunes Reviews
07-20-2012, 08:14 PM
#8
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Redding, CA, USA
Posts: 11,150
Quote:
Originally Posted by slewis7 View Post
I hate freemium as much as the next guy, but I think there is still a lot to enjoy in this game without forking over real cash. I too would have been happy to pay a few bucks or so for a complete game here without the IAPs. Still, the devs have got to find a way to make a living and freemium seems to work better then playing the app store lottery.

By the way, the same developers have a word game named Word Spiral HD, which is a few years old and currently goes for 99 cents. I bought it after trying Big Big Castle and Word Spiral is pretty darn good and worth a look.
Yeah, Word Spiral did look interesting. Am I right in assuming each level is totally replayable as there are no set answers other than needing to find words of the proper length that will link appropriately?

Tim "Lord Gek" Jordan, Game Consultant
OpenFeint, Plus+, & Twitter: LordGek
GameCenter, Crystal, & iTunes: Lord Gek
My iTunes Reviews
07-20-2012, 08:20 PM
#9
Regarding Word Spiral, you make valid words of 3 letters or more and any matching letters are fill into the crossword puzzle entries. There are combos you can make and they get harder (require longer words) in subsequent turns. As for replaying levels, I do not see how to do that, but an achievement indicates there are at least 100 puzzles. I am really enjoying the game, as I am Big Big Castle. I have only tried the Word Spiral classic mode.

Game Center: MarinasideSteve
07-20-2012, 09:01 PM
#10
Designer ramblings for TBBC...

Quote:
Originally Posted by LordGek View Post
I'm right with you on this! While the basic concept is cool, true freemium games like this make me feel like I'm only "leasing" the game at best.

How they zing you in this one?

-In the Destruction mode you need to BUY all of your ammo (the default cannon barely removes one building block). This isn't immediately clear as you start with enough fireballs to play through a couple of levels (the game starts with these fireballs selected by default and I had no idea that I only had a finite amount, I just assumed the number shown was how many I got EACH attack, not one time uses).

-The actual gameplay initially seems almost generous with the coins as all coins earned in a level play through are kept BUT, the coins only appear your first successful play through of a level. If you complete a level without getting them all YOU CAN NEVER GO BACK AND TRY AGAIN (you can replay any level but there won't be any coins which is a huge part of your score when playing a level)!

-Another campaign, which might be decent but is clearly priced beyond any amount of coins you'll make simply playing the game.

So, all and all, kind of a cute game but far too freemium scammy to recommend.
Hey LordGek,

All understandable reactions given the general tone of some freemium games.

When Ron and I decided to go with this approach to our design it was with the goal of avoiding that hamfisted grab for the wallet, while allowing players to have some fun at no cost. A couple things I can clarify, if that isn't too scammy:

- Yes. Some of the niftier weapons in Destroy mode are purchased with coins. You can earn enough to buy a single shot pretty easily just playing the game for a few minutes. A few levels into the game and you can collect at least enough for several UFO's or Flaming Cannonballs on a single level. Also, our Destroy scoring is based on skill vs. quantity. If you hit the right spot with the free cannonballs, you can still get a high score -- but you need to choose your shot more carefully (points per piece broken goes down with each shot taken).

- You can play a level again and still get coins. Coins appear at different altitudes and in different layouts that can change every time you play a level. So, you might see coins at 100 feet one time, but not the next (but maybe more will appear at 200, etc.). We just wanted to make the levels worth playing again. Hope this clears up any misunderstanding about how this works.

- True. The Cathedral set costs more in-game coins than the other stuff in the store, but we always thought this would be attainable. As you build and collect coins, they increase value WITH ALTITUDE. So, if you get through the levels in the basic game, you can rake in some pretty good coins totals. This was also something we did to avoid gaming the early levels, which can be built super easily.

TBBC was something a couple game designers did for fun. We figured it would offer enough game at $0.00 to be worth checking out, and some additional stuff if someone decides to either spend some time with the game, or take a shortcut yes, by buying some coins if you want to unlock everything. It's actually really interesting to hear "just charge me a couple bucks for everything," since that's pretty much what you get if you fall for our evil plan.

We did some stuff in the past with regular pricing and were curious to learn about in-app purchase since that often gets your game in front of more eyeballs, which at the end of the day is what we really wanted to do.

Hope this helps clear up any misconceptions, or at least makes our evil plans more horrifying.

Best,
Clayton

Last edited by Claytoonz; 07-20-2012 at 09:23 PM.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:04 AM.