I have become a huge fan of Bulkypix games for the iPad. All of their games, even the ones which I have not likes as much, are original and creative. The best example of this comes from their latest game, Cardboard Castle. In this game, all you need to do in order to proceed from one level to the next is move your knight across the screen. You don’t even have to move him yourself. Just clear the path and he will automatically proceed forward until he meets the next obstacle. What really sets this game apart is the fact that every element in the game is made from digital cardboard. This means that, like cardboard, everything in the game can be cut with scissors, and a glass of water (which turns cardboard into mush) is the mortal enemy of virtually every element in the game.
Gameplay is pretty simple. Each level starts with your knight on the far left side of the field. You need to guide him to the far right side, by avoiding, moving, or destroying obstacles. This may be as simple as slicing down an enemy knight, building a bridge, or simply moving an animal. Other obstacles become much more complicated (and their use is not always immediately clear). Additionally, on many levels, the sequence can become very important. While you may have figured out that you need to use scissors to kill a knight, do you want to do that before you chop down a tree or after? Sometimes it may not matter, other times it will.
Each level also contains coins which can be used to purchase hints. While this can be helpful as you progress, there were two problems with the hints system. First, you are limited to two preselected hints per level. There is no way to know whether the hint you are about to receive is going to be helpful or not until after you receive it. It would be nice if you could request a hint on any obstacle on the level, in order to ensure that you are not wasting money purchasing hints which you do not need. Second, the hints do not always provide all of the information. For example, they may tell you that you need to do something at night, but do not show you how to turn day into night (pull the sun down into a hole until the moon rises).
One other thing I noticed about the game is that not every interaction moves you closer to your goal. There are plenty of things which can be done in the game, often with hilarious results, which may result in stalling your progress through the level, or even kill you (try dropping things in holes or stabbing cows with the scissors. Even the things which help you progress, however, can also be hilarious, as they include reducing an enemy to cardboard mush by dousing him with water, using a cow to kick an enemy into a pit, and even exploding frogs.
This is a game which would probably really lend itself to user created levels, and I would love to see that feature added in a future update.
Finally, there are a variety of trophies and achievements in the game. I did think it would have been nice if these achievements would have connected with Game Center or Open Feint, but that really did not affect my enjoyment of the game at all.
Cardboard Castle continues BulkyPix’s tradition of original and creative games, this time with hilarious (albeit not necessarily easy) results. The game is available for iPad in the iTunes App Store for $1.99.