Corrupted [Review]

These princesses only wish they were in another castle.


Corrupted, the inaugural release from OnlyLuck Interactive, is a surprisingly excellent first effort from a studio with no prior game development experience whatsoever. Throughout the course of this top-down action title, players will hack ‘n slash their way through wave after wave of enemies while building up combo and special attack meters. Corrupted has a lot in common with Castle Crashers, and that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned. Similarities aside, this indie release is able to build its own identity by setting up an adventure that strikes out in the opposite direction than you’ll be expecting.

Corrupted opens with a quaint wedding scene that seemingly has you, the quintessential knight in shining armor, marrying a princess. Appearances can be deceiving however. All hell breaks loose when a demon-like creature materializes and twists a group of stalwart knights into evil soldiers. Players take control of one of these baddies and the slaughter begins. That’s right, you play as the bad guy here as you travel the land mowing down packs of angry villagers and knights in service of the crown.

Your master, the aptly named Hooded Fiend, is on a good old fashioned quest for world domination. In order to bring his plans to fruition though, he must feed on princess souls so that he can grow in power. Aside from plowing through scores of enemies standing between you and the next princess, you’ll want to be sure to scour each stage for as much gold as you can get your hands on. Gold can be cashed in between levels for vital upgrades that are a necessity for getting through the tougher stages.

The upgrades are purchased from an amusing character called Smitty the Skull. This disembodied skull introduces himself by shouting “I love gold!” at your tainted knight and allows you to increase your blocking, hit points, attack power and other abilities when you hand over enough of the shiny stuff. It isn’t clear whether or not the rest of Smitty’s body was lost in an unfortunate smelting accident, but you will find yourself replaying levels in search of more coin with which to pay off this greedy nut job.


This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, since the levels are still a lot of fun during repeat visits. Once you jump into the action, you’ll fight off the hordes of good guys by pointing the right analogue stick in their direction to either melee attack or launch arrows from a distance. This control method has been utilized by countless other XBLA titles and it holds up well here. Your character moves fluidly and feels right as you slash wildly with his twin blades. The same can’t be said for ranged attacks however.

Although archery is more useful once it has been significantly leveled, it usually feels like a waste. When an angry mob is quickly converging on your location, shooting arrows at them fails to be effective. Thinning out the crowds with your swords is always easier and more entertaining; it’s a good idea to keep that in mind when spending gold on upgrades. Players will eventually end up with just about every upgrade available, but it’s best to focus your efforts on pumping up your melee attacks before plunking down coins on archery improvements.

Since there aren’t any check points or extra lives in Corrupted, dying forces you to start a level over from scratch. This makes for a solid challenge, but can be a real nuisance because all of the gold you have collected on a particular level is forfeited if you die. Aggravating though it may be, it also adds to the overall tension of combat and will ensure you keep a close eye on your health bar at all times. This is especially true on the higher difficulty settings.

The game also features a co-op mode for up to four players via Live or split-screen. Some new strategies are introduced when playing cooperatively, such as group healing and the sharing of fire/ice powers. It also provides the game’s best incentive to make use of the bow and arrow. One or two players can hang back a bit and let the projectiles fly while their comrade(s) can get up close and personal. Unfortunately, the game seems to be under the permanent impression that you are playing in co-op (regardless of whether or not you actually are). It feels awkward when you are referred to in a plural manner while playing single player, but this is a minor quibble in the overall scheme of things.

Aside from grammar mistakes and an annoyingly repetitive soundtrack, Corrupted is a fantastic entry to the indie game library of Xbox Live. If you loved Castle Crashers (which just about every sane gamer did) then you’d do well to give OnlyLuck’s take on the genre a try. The small development team has delivered a humorous and engaging action title in Corrupted, and I’m excited to see what they turn their sights to next.

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Nick Santangelo
Nick Santangelo
Nick Santangelo

MASH Veteran

Nick has been a gamer since the 8-bit days and a member of the MTB editorial team since January of 2011. He is not to be interrupted while questing his way through an RPG or desperately clinging to hope against all reason that his Philly sports teams will win any given game he may be watching. Seriously folks, reading this acknowledges that you relieve MTB of any and all legal liability for his actions.

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