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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC games

50 Castles by Rusty Axe Games, $19.99
Reviewed December 2004 by Marc Morgan

50 Castles is a new puzzle game by Rusty Axe Games that will take you back to the medieval times to build castles, within a set time limit. There have been plenty of puzzle games lately, but there have not been any alike the concept of 50 Castles. This game proves to be an original concept, but does it prove to be a good game?

The idea of the game is simple, fill in the black spaces using the piece shown in the upper-left corner of the screen. For example, a corner piece goes where it looks like there should be a corner piece, and a bridge piece goes where it looks like there should be a bridge, etc. If a piece needs to be rotated to fit, when you click on the black spot, it will either rotate to fit if the piece will fit if rotated, or it will not do anything if it is the wrong location for the type of piece. There are bonuses, too, when you use the same type of tile four times in a row quickly (combo) and when you fill spaces with coins on them. Your current combo status is located under the picture of the piece that you need to put down. Also, there are chickens that give you bonus points if they are in your castle when you finish building it. Along with the chickens, there are marauders and snakes that come in later levels to wreak havoc by killing your chickens, but they can be stopped by tapping on them to fire the cannon. The one main thing that makes this game so difficult is the time limit. Without the time limit, the game would be no challenge, but since it does have one, there is a great challenge that may keep you playing the same level over a few times to figure it out in time, and that is what makes 50 Castles so fun. On top of all this, there are three difficulty modes, each with its own 50 castles (levels) hence the name 50 Castles, although there are technically 150 castles to solve. Also, you can save your progress to come back to your game later.

As with many other puzzle games, 50 Castles is mainly controlled with the stylus. To place a piece on the board, you simply tap on the black spot where it fits. Also, to shot your cannon at enemies, you simply tap on them. During gameplay, if you need to quit or pause, you can press any hardware button to the left of the D-Pad on your device. The stylus is also used to navigate the menus.

50 Castles has a cartoon look to it, and it makes the game look like it could be easy, but you soon realize that it can be difficult. The cartoon look also provides a happy atmosphere for the player. There are many colors in the game, and the cartoon look is complimented by bright, vibrant colors and good shading to make it look even better. Also, you can change the skins of the game from the options menu. There are six skins to choose from. During gameplay, all the pieces are displayed nicely, and all the enemies and chickens are easy to see. There are animations when the cannons are fired, you finish the level with chickens in your castle, etc. and these make the game all the more fun.

50 Castles is accompanies by upbeat pop music. The upbeat music adds even more happiness to the atmosphere provided by the graphics! During gameplay, there is also a separate track of music. On top of there being music, there are sound effects when you get a piece with a coin on it, when you fire the cannon, etc. There are even three different voices that make comments on how you're doing during the game. The three voices are: Cheerleader, Scotsman, and Surfer. There are also options to turn the volume down or off for the sound effects, the music, and the voices, if need be.

50 Castles is a great game to play any time, whether you can only play for a few minutes, or if you have hours to play. It combines a great concept, nice looking cartoon graphics, music and sound effects, and a happy atmosphere into a very addicting game. I recommend this game for gamers of all ages, as it is a non-violent game, but it is still entertaining for adult audiences.

Playing Tips and Hints

Try to get rid of enemies as fast as possible.
Watch the time limit, as it is the main cause for losing.




screen shot


Pocket PC



Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics The cartoon graphics add a happy feel to the game, and the colors are vibrant and easy to see.
Sound The sound effects and music compliment the game perfectly, and the music is upbeat to compliment the graphics.
Fun Meter 50 Castles is a really good game to play anytime because it is a great challenge, and it's an original concept.
Addictivity 50 Castles is an easy game to get into after you figure it out, and it's almost impossible to put down!

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