Castle Crashers is a 2D beat 'em up video game developed by The Behemoth. It features music created by members of Newgrounds. The Xbox 360 version was released on August 27, 2008 via Xbox Live Arcade as part of the Xbox Live Summer of Arcade. The PlayStation 3 version was released in North America on August 31, 2010 and November 3, 2010 in Europe via the PlayStation Network. A Microsoft Windows version, exclusive to Steam, was announced on August 16, 2012. The game is set in a fictional medieval universe in which a dark wizard steals a mystical gem and captures four princesses. Four knights are charged by the king to rescue the princesses, recover the jewel, and bring the wizard to justice.
Castle Crashers was well received by critics on all platforms on which it was released. The Xbox 360 version holds a score of 82.73% at GameRankings and 82/100 at Metacritic, while the PlayStation 3 version averages 88.67% and 85/100 at the same sites. The PC version holds a score of 7.8 on Metacritic, indicating generally favorable reviews. The game was a commercial success, and the Xbox 360 version has sold over 2.6 million copies alone as of year-end 2011. The PlayStation 3 version has also done well, moving over 181,000 units as of December 2010.
On June 15, 2015, The Behemoth announced Castle Crashers Remastered, a remastered version of the game for Xbox One, while the Steam version received it in the form of a free update.The remastered version features higher quality textures, uncapped frame-rate, performance improvements, and an additional mini-game.
Castle Crashers is a side-scrolling beat-em-up that incorporates a small number of role-playing video game elements. After selecting a character, the player then selects a starting stage through an overworld map. After completing a stage, the player has the choice to revisit it or to move to another stage. The map also displays shops where the player character can buy items and weapons using coins gained from defeated foes. Arena stages can be unlocked where the player character can take on challenges to unlock additional characters.
Castle Crashers supports cooperative gameplay for up to four players, either locally or online. The game progression in terms of what stages are unlocked is defined by the player who is furthest along, although some levels require all players to have unlocked them before proceeding to them; however, each player character will gain experience points and acquire wealth, weapons, and animal orbs independently as they progress with the rest of the party. In each stage, the player can use melee and combination attacks. Each character has a unique magical ability in order to defeat foes and a health meter that, if drained from enemy attacks, will cause the character to fall in battle. In single player mode, this ends the stage; however, in cooperative multiplayer other players may attempt to revive the downed character.
Characters gain experience points by damaging foes which allow the character to level up. Each level gained allows the player to allocate points towards the character's four basic combat attributes. Certain level advances also grant new combination attacks. Progress is tracked for each of the playable characters separately. The character's magic level is also tracked by a meter and regenerates over time. Numerous weapons can be found in the game, each that have various effects to the character's attributes when equipped. The player can find animal companions for their character that may assist in battle, improve the character's attributes, or provide another special ability such as increased treasure earned from defeated foes.
Each version of the game features two minigames. In Arena, the first minigame, player characters attempt to survive through several waves of enemies, or fight each other. This minigame is available on all versions. The Xbox 360, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows versions feature a minigame called "All You Can Quaff," a button-mashing contest to attempt to eat as much food as possible. The PlayStation 3 version, however, features a Volleyball minigame for up to four players and four AI characters.
Castle Crashers is set in a fictional medieval universe. It begins with four knights attending a party in a king's castle. During the party, a dark wizard arrives, stealing a mystical gem and capturing four princesses. The king sends the knights to retrieve the gem, rescue his daughters, and bring the wizard to justice. The knights encounter several enemies along the way, including other knights, multiple encounters with a cyclops, thieves, a giant "catfish", factory workers, monstrous oceans with ninja pirates, and alien invaders. As the knights progress they succeed in rescuing the princesses, and ultimately the journey culminates in a final showdown with the wizard. The knights emerge victorious from the confrontation, having defeated the dark wizard, rescuing all of the king's daughters, and recovering the mystical gem. The knights then ride the reclaimed gem through several empty battlefields on their trip back to the castle. At the castle the king brings one of his daughters for one of the knights to kiss, her face veiled throughout the entire game. As with previous levels, the players fight to the death to claim a kiss from the princess. However, when the winner tries to do so this time, the princess is revealed to be a clown that blankets the screen.
Castle Crashers was first revealed on July 14, 2005 at the San Diego Comic-Con International under the working title Ye Olde Side-Scroller; however, the game did not receive its title until 2006 Comic-Con, when it was announced for Xbox Live Arcade. Though the original Comic-Con 2005 demo was shown running on a Nintendo GameCube, no mention has been made of a release on a Nintendo-based platform. It was released for the Xbox 360 on August 27, 2008. On July 23, 2009 The Behemoth announced that Castle Crashers would be coming to the PlayStation Network. The game was released on the PlayStation 3 in North America on August 31, 2010, and in Europe on November 3, 2010. A Microsoft Windows version exclusive to Steam was announced on August 16, 2012.
The game's art style was developed by The Behemoth's Lead Artist Dan Paladin. As the team created new locales and characters, placeholder art was used as a template for look, size and scale of the final art. Paladin drew multiple partial renditions of a game asset, then selected one for finalization. Although Paladin was the primary source for much of the art, programmer Tom Fulp assisted with the game's art, creating some of the minion creatures for boss characters. Paladin cited River City Ransom as his primary inspiration for the game's art style, noting the character's expressions when damaged as a particular point of influence. Fulp added that several beat 'em ups from the 1980s and 90s influenced the game, such as Guardian Heroes, Final Fight and Double Dragon. Much of the music for the game was created by Newgrounds users, with The Behemoth contracting over twenty individuals for their tracks. Paladin himself scored two of the tracks in the game. The soundtrack was made available for free on September 1, 2008 via the Newgrounds website.
The Xbox 360 version of the game features four downloadable content packs. On January 14, 2009, the King Pack downloadable content was released and added two characters, another animal orb and three weapons. On August 26, 2009 a second downloadable content pack known as the Necromantic Pack was released and further added two characters, one animal orb and two weapons, as well as a picture pack for Xbox Live profiles. Both packs are included as part of the full game on the PlayStation 3 version of Castle Crashers. Additionally, the title character from The Behemoth's previous title, Alien Hominid, is available to play on the Xbox 360 for those who have purchased Alien Hominid HD. As The B