Bloodstained: Curse of The Moon Nintendo Switch Review
Developer: INTI CREATES CO., LTD.
Publisher: INTI CREATES CO., LTD.
Release Date: May 24th 2018
Price as of Article: $9.99 USD, £8.99 GBP
Game code provided by INTI CREATES CO., LTD. for review
Bloodstained: Curse of The Moon has an interesting history, back in 2015 Koji Igarashi one of the Konami leads on many of the Castlevania games over the years successfully funded Bloodstained: Ritual of The Night as a spiritual successor to the later Castlevania games. In parallel a smaller project was proposed as one of the stretch goals – a homage to the 8-bit Castlevania games of the NES era and specifically Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, thus was Bloodstained: Curse of The Moon born.
In the game you are set to face hordes of demons over the course of one bloody night, you play as Zangetsu a demon-slayer that is a direct clone of Castlevania’s Trevor C. Belmont, along the journey you have 3 other companions to face in this 8-bit retro metroidvania game that flies very close to its source inspiration.
If you have played historic Castlevania III – Dracula’s Curse or in fact any of the series then you will know what to expect.
There is a large open world setting which you progress through, unlike that series there is less back tracking with the game being slightly more on rails. You progress from one section to another facing a big boss at the climax of each region.
The controls are accurate thankfully and moving around whilst slaying enemies is satisfying both with the D pad or with a Joystick. As well as your basic attack you have a special move that uses mana, your character has a number of different skills that can be picked up through the game.
Where Bloodstained: Curse of The Moon diverges is in its multi character system, you end up with four characters each with a particular skillset. Mirriam for example can jump higher than anyone else whilst Alfred is weak but possesses strong magic skills.
Combining these characters skills and strengths is the key to completing the game, if you stick with one character they will inevitably die and once they are dead they are not available until you reach the next level or a game over which can be a particular pain if you lose a couple of key characters early in a level.
These skills are awesome giving you a sense of power and are essential to killing the games big bosses. These bosses don’t offer quite the challenge I expected though they are cool in design.
The campaign is short at only 90 odd minutes but it will take you closer to 5 hours to complete as you inevitably get stuck and some may choose to replay at its harder difficulty setting. There are multiple endings in order to encourage this.
Castlevania III has one of the most recognisable soundtracks and the whole series is renowned for its audio so it was important to get the soundtrack right for its homage.
It is likely for this reason that Michiru Yamane an ex Konami composer credited with working on several Castlevania titles produced the tracks for this game. The bit style tunes fit both the retro style of the game and its specific areas and bosses perfectly.
The sound effects do not disappoint either from the ping of collecting a life to the crack of a whip – the audio has been lovingly crafted.
As a retro inspired game Bloodstained: Curse of The Moon sticks true to the era with a limited colour palette and small, pixel art sprites with detailed backgrounds. It is a common misconception that pixel art equals lesser artwork when in fact the smaller the canvas the smarter that artists had to be in order to create the perception of more detail which led to extremely talented artists back in the early 90’s working on games.
That said this was done due to very real restrictions which no longer exist, the result is some people appreciating and loving the painstaking work taken to detail every pixel whilst others see it as unnecessary lack of detail.
On that scale the artwork here is good, the enemy models look good but everything sticks very closely to Castlevania without any deviation or huge variety. The backgrounds and bosses in particular are pleasing on the eye and is a testament to the love the developer has for the genre as well as knowledge and skill. The little details work as well from flickering lanterns to exploding enemies. The monochrome characters look best on the move and performance wise it is not a surprise that there are no issues.
At $9.99 in the US and £8.99 in the UK the game is the same price as on other platforms with the added bonus of being playable on the move. Bloodstained: Curse of The Moon offers up a short campaign but includes various difficulties providing some replayability for those in need of a nostalgia hit.
Doesn’t add anything new