Castle Doombad Game Makes It Devilishly Fun To Be Evil [Review]


Castle Doombad by Adult Swim
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: $2.99

Anyone who grew up in the 80s will likely be familiar with the video game cliche in which players take on the role of hero as they battle their way through a series of fiendish castles to rescue a damsel in distress.

Adult Swim have taken this core concept and subverted it: forging a tower defense game that is pitched somewhere between Lemmings and Dungeon Keeper. Instead of playing the hero, you’re put in control of the villain tasked with protecting your castle (with its kidnapped princess bounty) against an army of wannabe do-gooders.

The range of options makes this a surprisingly varied gaming experience.

The range of options makes this a surprisingly varied gaming experience.

To carry this out, you must lay traps, build weapons, and summon a cadre of evil minions to do your bidding. Each category gives you a fair variety of options — with the strategy part coming from the way you balance more powerful slower defenses with faster, less effective ones.

Adult Swim are behind a number of high quality iOS apps, and Castle Doombad is no different. The game is highly detailed, with pleasingly colorful cartoon graphics, great sound effects, and a fun irreverent streak that will appeal to anyone familiar with the source material. The central character of Dr. Lord Evilstein is clearly modeled on Doctor Doom, while the plethora of would-be heroes do a good job of ticking off the likely (and unlikely) suspects one would normally play as in this kind of game: from archetypal white knights, to ceiling-crawling Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Rambo-style action heroes.

It’s a fun mix and their various skill sets make what could be a throwaway game a deeper experience.

The strategy [comes] from the way you balance more powerful slower defenses with faster, less effective ones.

The benchmark for this sort of game is, of course, something like Worms or the aforementioned Lemmings: both deceptively simple strategy games with a wicked sense of humor. Castle Doombad never quite reaches the level of either of these — sometimes losing the strategy side in favor of sheer zany fun — but it’s still one of the best iOS games I’ve played in recent memory.

The diversity (there are more than 20 traps and minions to choose from) and learning curve means that you will be playing this for quite some time — while the relatively short playing time per level makes it a perfect mobile game: the kind of thing you can play for five minutes or, quite easily five hours. Spookily good.

Insert evil laugh here.

castledoombad2Game Name: Castle Doombad
The Good: A subversive, fun strategy game that will appeal to anyone who poured hours into games like Castlevania back in the day.
The Bad: The strategy part can occasionally be lost amidst the zaniness.
The Verdict: Great fun and, just two weeks into 2014, already a contender for iOS Game of the Year.
Buy from: App Store

Cult of Mac rating: 4/5

  • Atienne

    I bought it last week when you first mentioned it. It’s been hella fun…

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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