Any castle game you play will have castle development and defense at its core but the mechanics can straddle a wide variety of genres. While tower defense is perhaps the most popular genre, castle games also feature in the strategy genre, city-building subgenre, RPGs, and even card games.
But regardless of the exact in-game dynamics, what the best castle games have in common is that they put you, the player, in control of your destiny. So, your goal could be, above all else, to oversee the health of your kingdom, and of your castle in the process. In another scenario, your priorities might be to protect your castle and build your army.
With so much on offer, castle games can be a confusing category. Let’s take a closer look at what it’s all about.
Naturally enough, castle games feature plenty of - you guessed it - castles. By and large, these castles will be historically accurate, but that doesn’t mean they have to be digital replicas of real castles.
Instead, a castle game can be accurate in the sense that it features lifelike characters and scenarios. For example, you might assume the role of a king or queen who is tasked with ruling over a city filled with bakers, blacksmiths, jesters, and soldiers. The inspiration for such characters might not be specific historical figures. But they’re still authentic because they correspond to the type of people that were found in medieval societies.
That said, the kingdoms you build in castle games don’t always have to perfectly reflect reality. Historical beliefs in magic, for example, allow developers to inject fantasy elements - like dragons or wizards - into castle games. A similar phenomenon can be seen in the medieval games genre.
There’s also nothing that says you can’t build castles in any time period or location. While medieval castles are the most popular, there are plenty of castle games out there where you can construct cartoon kingdoms or civilizations in another world.
The castle games genre was mainly inspired by famous empires and legends. Although it has since diversified to include fantasy elements, the initial sources of inspiration were stories such as those of King Arthur, Robin Hood, the War of the Roses, and other historical battles. There are also elements of the Roman Empire, the Vikings, and the Saxons within many castle games. This creates a blend of historical richness and bloody battles that make for an exciting gaming genre.
No two castle games are exactly the same, but there are common elements within the genre. When you play some castle games, look out for these features:
There will almost always be an element of progression within castle games. This usually manifests itself in a need to construct ever bigger castles and kingdoms. But it can also be expressed through the acquisition of new skills, the building of better teams to fight enemies, or through obtaining more land. Most castle games will make sure they include one or more of these types of progression in their gameplay.
Many castle games incorporate a narrative to keep players engaged, with story at times providing a reason for players to take certain in-game actions. Other castle games, however, do not take the explicit story route, but instead rely on lore to draw players into the world of the game.
There will always be a need to think tactically when you’re playing castle games online. Very rarely will you just be able to rule over your castle and not consider your surroundings. Indeed, the nature of these games is often combative, in the sense that you’ll be within striking distance of a rival kingdom. Therefore, you need to plan the layout of your kingdom. You need to recruit the right people to defend it. You need to train your characters and do whatever is required to imbue them with useful skills.
Castle games come in all different shapes and sizes. Here are just a few of the different types of castle games you can play today:
Tower defense games are part of the strategy genre and require you to defend certain sections of the environment you’re in. To do that, you usually need to put together an army and construct various buildings. Castle tower defense games in particular - as their name would suggest - involve building castles and supporting structures. Typically, Castle tower defense games will involve enemies trying to enter your castle via a set route, while you place structures and weapons along their path to slow them down.
The premise of RPG games, in general, is to get you to assume the role of a character within a fictional setting. Alongside that setting will be a narrative that you must guide your character through. In the specific case of RPG castle games, the setting is usually a castle or a kingdom, while the story tends to focus on an aspect of medieval life such as defending your kingdom from invaders, conquering new lands, or engaging in activities such as jousting.
Real-time strategy (RTS) castle games typically invite you to build up a castle and army, and then defend yourself against other players, or go on the attack. These games often involve lots of strategic decision-making about how to allocate scarce resources. Do you build another tower or train more army units? Such questions are a standard feature of real-time strategy castle titles.
The castle game genre is packed with excitement. Regardless of whether you’re a critical thinker that likes the planning or you enjoy RPGs with multi-layered storylines, this genre has something to offer. So, if you want to take control of your own kingdom, check out the best castle games online right here.