What parents need to know
Parents need to know that CastleStorm II is an upcoming strategy game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. This game offers a couple of different styles of genres, which should give it broad appeal -- you have the tower defense element, resource gathering to build up forces and structures, ballista-based destruction, exploration, and army building. To increase your army, players need to complete side quests to earn new commanders. Each commander can be trained and recruit soldiers to the cause of Sir Gavin. As the army grows more powerful, there will be new items that can be used against stronger forces. CastleStorm II does have a simple overarching game plan:explore, destroy all enemies in the way, and build up your fortresses and army while working through the map. The map itself is a top-down colorful affair, with actions happening in a turn-based manner: move, fight, end the turn, and then start over. As for the combat, it's a side-scrolling real-time affair. You can confront enemies with ranged weapons, magic damaging spells, or throw troops at the enemy. Initially, it seems like the troops, because they are so low level, are merely speed bumps in the advancement of the enemy, but they get stronger. There's also an undead threat to the kingdom that drives the storyline and the maps are procedurally drawn, meaning no two campaigns should be alike. And there will even be a PvP (player vs. player) element for those who like that style of gameplay. The visuals are colorful, packs laughs with its storyline dialogue, is easy to navigate, has solid sound elements, and should have a gentle learning curve. CastleStorm II promises to be bigger than its predecessor and takes the 4X (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) gaming genre and spins it around a little before producing a game that should be engaging for long or short gaming sessions.