Hold Your Ground
What has royalty ever done that was so bad? Sure, there's been a few taxed-in-the-ground peasants and the trifling matter of some wars of conquest causing untold death and misery, but what's a little abuse of power between friends? Certainly it's nothing that deserves having one's castle knocked in on one's head, a la Crush the Castle. Hold Your Ground rectifies this situation by putting you in charge of building a defensive structure to guard the royal person. God save the adorable little bearded king!
Before each level, you receive important information about the incoming assault, such as the direction of the wind and how many guards you must save to pass. Then, you use the mouse to click on various shapes of blocks to construct a castle around the little floating figures, rotating the blocks with [Z] and [X]. Once you click "start", the figures will drop down to the hopefully steady ground you've placed beneath them, and various objects shall rain down from the heavens.
Analysis: Hold Your Ground is clearly a response to and influenced by Crush the Castle and its player pack sequel. Hold Your Ground makes effective use of sound and visual effects, and it's similarly no slouch in the physics department. However, Hold Your Ground does not appear to have learned lessons from the best games of its subgenre, which is the stacking puzzle.
The most critical feature standing between an amusing stacking puzzle and an exercise in mouse-hurling frustration is a good undo. Undo should truly mean undo, a return to what what on the screen before your cat jiggled your elbow and you released that mouse button a second too soon. Although Hold Your Ground does have a "bomb" icon which can destroy a piece on the field and return it to your inventory, if your mistake bumped another piece from its position, it can easily have already totally ruined the structural integrity of your castle, and there's no way to fix it. That leaves the only option as hitting reset. Making such a mistake just as you were putting in the thirtieth and last painstaking piece can cause rage quit in otherwise healthy adults. (Talk to your children about rage quit... before someone else does.)
To a certain extent, this is only so frustrating because of the appeal of the level designs, unique reversal of the destruction genre, and engaging art. I'm left whispering at the smoking remains of my mouse, "It didn't have to be this way, tiny beard king!" If you think you have the mouse fu not to make mistakes, or the patience to click reset when you do, you'll find a lot to enjoy in Hold Your Ground.