GAME NAME: Castle In The Darkness
DEVELOPER(S): Matt Kap
RELEASE DATE(S): February 5th, 2015
I remember playing Castlevania: Simon’s Quest on the Nintendo Entertainment System(NES) way back in the day and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of exploring everything and talking to people in the towns. Castle In The Darkness has a very similar feel as to the way Simon’s Quest felt on the NES and I was very happy to see that once I started. The story starts with the Kingdom of Alexandria being attacked by an evil sorcerer and overrun by his army of darkness. All the royal guards are killed while trying to protect the king and princess of Alexandria, but are all killed while trying. There was only one knight that was unconscious and not killed who woke up noticing the princess was gone and so our journey begins.
When you take control you will be moving through cities and dungeons just like in Simon’s Quest. You can talk to the villagers to see what hints they might have and go in doors to explore inside areas as well. It is set up like most “Metroidvania” style games and has you backtracking at times to use newly acquired items to reach other areas or treasures. The bosses you will encounter are decently fun to fight, but some are pretty easy to pick off. There are a lot of spikes that can cause insta-death if not careful depending on your health. They are hard to notice before they shoot up from the ground while still trying to attack other enemies. The checkpoint system could’ve been a bit better placed throughout the game, but it doesn’t ruin the experience. Managing your inventory and equipping armor is very easy to do with a menu system being so close to many Final Fantasy titles. I enjoyed gathering new equipment to make my character overpowered so I could breeze through enemies in each area.
The controls for Castle In The Darkness are quite simplistic with only moving and having two keys or buttons assigned for jump and attack. If you want to use a controller to play this title then make sure you go into control options to map it accordingly so you don’t start the game and have to exit. All in all this game controls very tightly and has no hiccups with trying to execute your jumping and attacks.
It has an old school retro style to it visually and sits well with other indie titles. The sound effects are decently done and fit the bill the game is trying to portray. The music however is overdone in my opinion, but was amazing when I first started. Once you take control the music is double bass hardcore midi tunes and doesn’t change much so you are stuck listening to the same theme for most of your experience.
Matt Kap is the developer of this game and did a decent job in executing an old school retro “Metroidvania” style game. Some may ask if this is the “Shovel Knight” of 2015, but I say it could use a little spicing up to reach that goal. There is no online portion to this game and that isn’t a bother since this is mainly a story based title. I did have some issues trying to exit the game at times and this could be fixed with an update to make it more user friendly, especially when using a controller you can’t use any buttons aside from what controls your character. Castle In The Darkness is a fun title and definitely can keep your attention and prove challenging to most. I would recommend this game to anyone who likes Simon’s Quest or even any “Metroidvania” style game since this brings it back home like most others.