Catapult Madness by Louissi is both an arcade launch game and the tale of a kingdom under siege by a seemingly unending army of trolls. With supplies dwindling, the only hope is to seek help from a neighbouring kingdom, and since the field is too thick with enemies to send a messenger through, the king comes up with a solution. Namely, to commission a massive catapult capable of hurling his helpless commoners through the air, and hopefully (eventually) to reach help. Who would volunteer for something like this, you ask? Turns out people will agree to a lot if you tell them they'll otherwise be fed to the royal cattle. Click to set your power, then again to set your angle, and a final time to fire. Flung peasants will soar through the air and can hit a variety of things that will either help or hinder their flight, from enemy bombs to birds to sleeping trolls. Between flights, you can purchase upgrades to your equipment, and even buy the help of a wizard to help enchant your human missiles to fly farther. And far is pretty important here since you'll have to fly 50,000 feet to win.
The problem is that the game offers very few upgrades with few tiers to boot, so before long, you're just playing to meet that 50,000 feet requirement. This actually tends to be a pitfall of the launch genre as a whole; so few of them feature enough incentive to keep playing, or to keep the game from feeling as though you're simply grinding towards a goal. For Catapult Madness, more varied upgrades with visibly different impacts would have gone a long way towards expanding the replayability, as well as perhaps adding greater variation to the landscape the farther you go. Seen one troll waiting to skewer your innards, seen 'em all, amirite?
But what exists is still very well done. The cartoonish artwork by Julie is clean and bright, and the whole thing has a very slick professional look that adds to the whole silly premise. Despite not bringing much innovation to the table, Catapult Madness is a fun and well made little coffee break of a game that will bring a grin to your face and may prove strangely addictive. It's also proof of that age old adage that it's not the size of your catapult that matters, it's ... wait, who am I kidding? It's totally the size that counts.