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58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 12 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 19 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Castle Doctrine is a massively-multiplayer game of burglary and home defense. It's 1991, and things are bad. You're a guy with a house and family. Other players are coming to take what's yours. Build security to stop them. Study their houses, buy tools, and break in to take what's theirs. Everything you do is permanent. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 12
  2. Negative: 3 out of 12
  1. Feb 2, 2014
    85
    A merciless and thoughtfully-designed online strategy game whose clever systems enable a unique and troubling experience.
  2. Jan 29, 2014
    70
    An intriguing diversion from uninspired copycats and clones that often plague the industry. It won’t suit everyone, but I applaud its creativity.
  3. Feb 9, 2014
    70
    The Castle Doctrine is certainly an experience unlike any other, but I also find it hard to recommend since it's so obtuse and seems to want to put new players at a huge disadvantage, increasing the skill gap between the best and the worst. Intense research and work must be put forth to succeed, but there's no real motivation except bigger and better death traps.
  4. Jan 29, 2014
    55
    At times rewarding but ultimately frustrating, The Caste Doctrine is more of a psychological conversation starter than a game. Only if you're a masochist or put in the necessary time to master your defenses will you find real enjoyment in the gameplay.
  5. Feb 5, 2014
    50
    My cranium is red raw from tearing strands of hair from my scalp in frustration and I’m sure plenty of others will be bald within an hour of playing The Castle Doctrine.
  6. Jan 31, 2014
    50
    The Castle Doctrine is a statement game, to be sure, but the statement seems to be that the only way to win is to not play The Castle Doctrine.
  7. Feb 17, 2014
    40
    The flawed, nihilistic, trap-building simulator that resulted isn't worth a look. In the whole of the game, only one metaphor hit home for me. Sometimes when you manage to reach another person's vault, you find it empty, pillaged by a previous robber. There's nothing to take away, and all the time and effort you've put into the endeavor has been wasted.

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Feb 5, 2014
    10
    You're going to die - a lot.

    Nevertheless, this is a devastatingly fantastic game with intelligent gameplay that will engage you for hours
    on end - unless you are a sore loser. TCD does not pretend to be something it is not. It is violent and unforgiving, and I utterly love it for it.

    Don't give up on it if you are robbed blind or get fried, eaten or decide to kill yourself while robbing the other guy. Once the real beauty of TCD hits you, you will probably share my sentiments. Oh... And I love the permadeath part. It is the delicious icing on this cake.
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  2. Feb 16, 2014
    10
    Quite possibly the most twisted game ever made. It has simple graphics, and a simple concept: but don't be fooled by its simplicity. It is not for the feint of heart or the casual puzzle gamer. This game requires a high level of thinking, and is absolutely unforgiving. You will die. Many times. You will die in others' houses, you will die in your own house, and sometimes you will want to break your keyboard. But for the twisted few, who will brave into others' vaults, and set truly rage inducing traps of their own, it is extremely rewarding and unlike any other game you will ever play. Expand
  3. Feb 4, 2014
    10
    I bought this game because of the contest, and boy was I hooked on this game for the past few days. I started out playing this game, trying to figure out what was the best defence. Turns out the best way was to go on the offense and just copy others. After that, it was game time. I robbed the easier targets to build up my empire. This process went on and on, until I forgot to place one block, and killed myself in my house.

    I was devastated. But I kept playing. It never stopped being fun. People who complain about this game being too punishing are probably the same people who play games on easy-mode. It's part of the game. Permadeath is a huge component in this game. Why would you even bring tools to anybody's house if you couldn't die? Why would you be careful in your own house if you were immune? It rewards the aware with an advantage and punishes the sloppy with a disadvantage, just as all games should be. It's way more satisfying to complete a house with such high antes than complete a house with no risk.

    If you like high risk, high reward type of games, this is it.
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  4. Jun 5, 2014
    9
    Simply an amazing game. Yes, that's what it is. It's not a masterpiece, it's not a visual feast, it doesn't even have sounds. Yet it makes you happy, it makes you angry, it makes you rage quit and later somehow come back for more. It's an amazing experiment on human nature. Expand
  5. Feb 3, 2014
    7
    This game is so intense! I had bad impressions at first, but when I had people dying in my house those impressions changed. It's horrible when you get a lot of cash since that just makes you a bigger target which is fine, but I would first like to upgrade my house from all the people that died while I was away, like setup a guarding point not just go afk in your house when you go to sleep, because you'll be having people with a lot of tools now entering your house that you made with that 2,000 dollars you started out with, now with 5,000$ left over from the bodies (failed attempts by other players), their tools will cost more then that house and sometimes even your vault amount which is dumb of the player or maybe he/she just doesn't like you and wants you dead.

    When you rob somebody make sure to be on your lucky day because you'll need it since sometimes not even tools will shorten your odds unless maybe if you bring like 50 or so each which is a lot of money. I'll mostly be robbing the poor since I can't risk my life against people that know more about traps then I do.

    The wiki for this game doesn't make much sense on what things do (well for me), I just prefer videos most of the time. The price does seem crazy since this is a 22mb game, but it's addicting once you really get into it.

    Sucks when you die and having to start over and also not being able to copy the design of your last house making you build something new from scratch which is fine, but if your last life was something that took you days or weeks working on yeah, you may go berserk so you'll want to be able to control that frustration over this game because if you can't you may actually suicide so be careful.

    Overall I rate the game a 7 since there are still a few or many problems that need to get looked over so I hope for future updates for a better experience and for other players as well. I recommend players who have time to play, patience to learn, and luck to win to try out The Castle Doctrine!
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  6. Jan 30, 2014
    6
    Quite possibly the most unforgiving game I've ever experienced, The Castle Doctrine engages you in a high stakes game of multi-player breaking and entering. Design a house full of traps to protect your vault and family, then choose another player's house to rob. The slightest mistake (during a break in, or even during testing your own traps) results in a permanent death, necessitating a complete restart from scratch. During those brief moments when you succeed - at robbing another player's house, or successfully trapping someone in your own - The Castle Doctrine can be very rewarding, but those moments are so tragically few and far between, most players will give up before experiencing anything remotely close to entertainment. This aggravation is compounded by a clunky interface, no tutorial or tool tips, and depressingly minimal production values (low-res pixel art, no sound effects, and only a few ambient noises serving as "music"). The Castle Doctrine can only be recommended to the most patient (and masochistic) gamers looking for something radically different. Expand
  7. Feb 2, 2014
    5
    I was really looking forward to playing this game after reading up on the unique mechanics. Robbing from other people while trying to protect your own house from thieves who in return will do the exact same? Awesome! Unfortunately this game is the most unforgiving experience you will ever have. I played ca. 20 hours of this game and while it was very promising at first you quickly realize that this game beats new players into the ground so hard that it's simply unfun to play or start playing. You will do the same thing over and over again because there is no way to make money in the game other than #1 having access to spare money for tools or #2 refreshing the browserlist to farm noobs. Unfortunately when you start out you can only make reliable money the second way. After 4 days I managed to finally build a respectable house only to find it completely ripped apart by 20 different thieves the next day. There is nothing in the game to protect you while you are gone and even though I did manage to kill or scare off 99% of the robbers the 1% is enough to entirely ruin your progress and make you start over from scratch. Speaking of starting from scratch, you will do this indefinitely. 1 wrong move and you are dead, and so is that house and trapsystem you have been working on for countless hours. Just lame: even testing your own house will permanently kill you. Also the game is too buggy to support permadeath. You run into your opponents house and only see a child in the corridor. You simply ignore it and move on, but wait - you died. RIP house, RIP hours of work. What happened? Well, there was a invisible pitpull INSIDE of the childs body, yep objects share tiles sometimes and are not made visible.
    Overall the game was extremely promising but the harsh way new players get beaten away and the dev seems to ignore any suggestion to change this. What this will mean in the long run is that the huge majority of players will leave the game frustrated, while only a minority of early players with elite, - unbeatable to anyone but also elites - houses will remain. This is unhealthy for playersize and thus removes variety of houses to rob from. What a shame.
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See all 10 User Reviews