The Newgrounds booth at Comic-Con had a playable version of Castle Crashers and I hopped right on it with three other people. Right away I was reminded of classic arcade games like the Simpsons where you run to the right hand side of the screen beating everything up in your path. Each of the knights is equipped with a sword and imbued with a different elemental power. The blue knight is the master of ice, red uses lightning, yellow is for fire and green throws poison. You can use your elemental power by holding down the right trigger to throw a freezing blast of ice or perform a screen high elemental jump. In most of the demo level you have to work together with the three other players to run to the ogre-like boss at the end of the stage. The boss attacks by attempting to knock the knights over the head with his towering spiked shield. When it gets weak it spews a path of fire. You can damage the boss by using the elemental jump and an air slash combo. Or if you’re the defensive type you can use your bow and stand a safe(r) distance away from getting smacked with the shield.
Once you win the boss fight a giant treasure chest falls from the sky and explodes with money bags. At this point Castle Crashers changes from cooperation to competition. The first goal is to snag as much treasure as possible to increase your score. When the treasure is all snatched up the four knights have to fight each other to win a kiss from the Princess. You can attack each other with the same attacks: sword swipes, fire balls* (must be the orange knight) and a lightning lift if you are the red knight. Whoever manages to survive the free for all earns the kiss and a huge boost to their score.
I loved the competitive twist in Castle Crashers. You have to work together at the beginning, but there is only one winner at the end. It’s a great formula for multiplayer success.