The King of Redvonia loves smashing things. "So what," you're probably thinking. "Who doesn't?" Well, my friend, the King of Redvonia has several advantages over you in the smashing department, such as an oppressed peasant class whose very life blood is being squeezed to provide the taxes for newer and greater projectile innovation. Not satisfied with the kingdom he conquered in the previous game, at this point the king has become a smash-aholic, invading another kingdom just because he's heard they've got great castles, and recruiting the best castle smashing talent that the stolen riches of his people can provide. A situation that can only end when one man stands up for the downtrodden, for the weak, for the defenseless... for FREEDOM.
The controls are as straightforward as the previous games. Click once to start the trebuchet, and click again to release its deadly cargo. Timing is everything. Release too early, and your missile might sail over the castle altogether; too late, and it will thud harmlessly into the ground at your feet. Once you get off a good shot, though, your payload will smash into the castle, causing it to topple to the ground while the hapless medieval folk inside burst like a bright red blob, leaving behind a tiny tombstone. Aww.
Analysis: There are many kinds of sequels. There are glorified expansion packs and palette swaps. On the opposite extreme, there are the sequels you wouldn't even know were related except for the name. Crush the Castle 2 knows not to change the core mechanics that made the first game a success, but they've improved the art and added some great new features.
The difference that hits you first is that this game actually is trying to do a plot and characters. A somewhat absurd plot and characters, but hey, you're causing tiny jesters to hand jive on fire, so that's actually just what you'd want. As you progress through the different areas, you'll meet different characters who will give you more kinds of ammunition, from the trustworthy old log to parachute bombs to a jar of electric eels. The over all feel of the game has gotten more puzzly. Rare is the level where you just wail on the thing trying to get a lucky shot. Instead, it's critical to figure out just what to use and where to hit for maximum effect, and a little thought is all that's needed to figure it out.
The game also includes a level editor where you can play with all the new building materials in the game. You can even set the time of day and weather, and your control over the terrain is much more precise than in the first game's level editor. In addition to several presets, you can randomize the ground or make it the exact curve that you want. The builder also includes a great feature, "settle", where you can test the castle and save it once it settles into a more sturdy position. If you need some ideas for your castle, you can check out the "People's Empire". The game's only been out a few days and there's already over 26,000 castles to take a whack at, which promises that there'll always be new challenges to scratch your smashing itch.
There is one drawback: you must register with Armor Games in order to save, and if you're allergic to registrations, this might be bad. However, the site-specific save does have the plus that you can load your game from any computer just by logging in. It's a small hassle, but you'll have to put up with it, until the day when you set up your trebuchet outside Armor Games HQ. Then they'll see. They'll ALL see.