Mixed or average reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 12
  2. Negative: 3 out of 12
  1. Feb 2, 2014
    A merciless and thoughtfully-designed online strategy game whose clever systems enable a unique and troubling experience.
  2. Feb 9, 2014
    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.
  3. Jan 29, 2014
    An intriguing diversion from uninspired copycats and clones that often plague the industry. It won’t suit everyone, but I applaud its creativity.
  4. Feb 20, 2014
    The Castle Doctrine falls in its own peculiar category. It can be astonishingly punishing and difficult to get a grip at, but if competition and mental challenge are your cup of tea, you will be able to reap great rewards from it.
  5. Feb 6, 2014
    A curious game about exploiting systems and psychology. The discussions surrounding it deal in politics and morality, because it’s a game about Rohrer’s response to a controversial real-world issue. Yet The Castle Doctrine’s notoriety ends up feeling like another fakeout – a disconnected conceptual commit gate at the entrance of an often-frustrating sandbox puzzler.
  6. Jan 29, 2014
    The Castle Doctrine has innovation oozing out of every pore. By combining well-developed puzzle design with massively multiplayer strategy, the game is simply unlike anything else on the market right now.
  7. Jan 29, 2014
    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.
  8. Feb 5, 2014
    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.
  9. Jan 31, 2014
    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.
  10. Feb 4, 2014
    The Castle Doctrine is a brutal, minimalist depiction of urban paranoia that brings out the worst in its players, and I struggled to find value in it.
  11. Apr 2, 2014
    It's a game that asks too much of the player and offers too little in return.
  12. Feb 17, 2014
    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.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Feb 1, 2014
    Extremely well tested (for playability) and thought out. Very satisfying when you experience success, devastating when you fail. VeryExtremely well tested (for playability) and thought out. Very satisfying when you experience success, devastating when you fail. Very unforgiving so its not for the weak or faint of heart or those who cant bounce back from failure.

    Bear in mind that it is very hard to protect this kind of game from the player who (being the extremely intelligent little game breakers/exploiters we can be) can end up ruining the game. This game prevents that but at the cost of requiring careful, intelligent and methodical performance by its players. If you aren't smart or at least persistent then I'd advise against you playing "The Castle Doctrine".

    If you aren't prepared to rise to the challenge or don't get satisfaction from doing so, then this game is definitely not for you.

    For everyone else, its very entertaining and VERY rewarding!

    My best advice? Play the game without mercy, don't hold back for fear you might end up breaking it or discovering a fun killing exploit. Learn from your mistakes, don't begrudge them.

    Have a lot of respect for the developer, we need more like him.
    Full Review »
  2. Feb 4, 2014
    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 toI 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.
    Full Review »
  3. Feb 2, 2014
    I was really looking forward to playing this game after reading up on the unique mechanics. Robbing from other people while trying to protectI 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.
    Full Review »