Castle Crashers: Best Character

The world of video games is vast and confusing. Most fall into two categories: too old for my kid, too young for my kid. Castle Crashers is the goldilocks of video games. It’s (usually) just right.

First let’s get one thing straight: Castle Crashers is violent. It’s cartoon, hero-quest violent, but violent nonetheless. If that’s a problem for you or your spouse or your kids then you might as well stop reading now. Click on a link in an ad so I can make 12 cents from your visit if you like, but now is the time to leave.

Okay, is he gone? Good. Violent. Yes. Very violent? Well, you can turn off most of the blood and the characters are if not cute at least very cartoony. There’ a lot of humor in the game, and in the end you’re on a hero quest.

The story: You are a knight in the employ of a king. Three princesses have been abducted by an evil wizard and his henchmen and you must rescue them. To rescue them you will have to battle through wave after wave of goblins, ninjas, and assorted other baddies.

Castle CrashersYou can play either alone or with up to three friends. You cannot do any damage to your friends except in certain designated scenes so it is an excellent cooperative game. We started letting our boys play when they were around six years old. Before becoming a dad I would have thought that was too young, but neither has turned homicidal or tried to act out the game in the school yard so on the whole I think it was a good choice.

So, the best character. The game starts with four basic characters. You can unlock others by rescuing the princesses and others you can buy as add-ons, but the four basic knights are among the best.

Castle Crashers KnightsThe best of these characters are the red knight and the blue knight. If you’re going to play with your son and you want him to do well, make sure he picks one of those. Once you gain a few levels you are going to want to keep playing the same knight as he becomes more powerful and unlocks new powers at higher levels, so choose well from the start.

Best Character – Red Knight: This guy rocks. He has a lightning attack that locks enemies in their tracks meaning they can’t get away and hit you while they take damage. Because the lightning extends a certain distance from your hands, any enemy who touches it is locked in position and takes damage over and over again until the spell runs out. This means you can damage multiple enemies at once. Add to this the fact that the game awards experience points based on the number of times you hit enemies rather than on the amount of damage you do, and you’ll see that whoever plays the red knight will generally level up fastest. This is good balance for an adult playing with a younger boy, since your age advantage should be balanced by his character advantage and you should level up at about the same rate without you having to run around avoiding combat to let him catch up.

Second Best Character – Blue Knight: This guy has lots of freezing spells that also lock enemies in place. Handy for players who have trouble fighting more than one enemy at a time but not as powerful a character as the red knight.

Runner Up – Green Knight: My oldest son likes this guy best. He does acid attacks that continue to do damage over time. That means that for every time he hits an enemy he does damage 3-5 times as the acid does ongoing damage. Good for leveling up quicker but because he can’t slow down opponents or lock them in place this character is a little harder to play without getting yourself killed.

The best characters of the remaining knights in Castle Crashers, in my opinion, are the fencer and the industrialist. The industrialist is unlocked by finishing the game (rescuing the princesses) with the blue knight (another good reason to pick him first), and finishing the game in turn with the industrialist unlocks the fencer. These two are pretty much the same guy. Their big attack is a barrage of circular saws (okay, so a little violent) that come up out of the ground and repeatedly cut the enemies in front of you. Each saw does very little damage but there are lots of them, and since experience (and so leveling) is based on the number of hits, you can level these guys up very, very fast. The fencer and the industrialist are by far and away the best characters for fighting the big bosses, who have a habit of standing very still in front of you, no matter what you do. This is a good strategy against most knights, but against the fencer and the industrialist it’s suicide.

Finally, just a note to say that Castle Crashers, like all video games, is about having fun. There’s no prize for winning. No one will come to your house and shake your hand. A lot of the characters are just fun, even if they are underpowered. The pink knight, for instance, always has a smile on his face, and his big attack is a bouncing rainbow. Any enemy caught in the rainbow pauses briefly, flashes a peace sign with both hands, then carries on. The bear knight has a bow that shoots green fish instead of arrows.

DISCLAIMER: What is okay for kids in video games is hard to judge. I am certainly not interested in telling other parents what games appropriate for which kids at which ages. I know my kids and I talk to them about games and violence and so does my wife, and based on that we have chosen to let them grow up at a particular rate. Do the same with your kids and you’ll be fine. Take my guidelines and caveat emptor buddy.