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Written by  :  sinisterhippo (40)
Written on  :  Jun 30, 2019
Platform  :  Nintendo DS
Rating  :  4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars
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anime boy with white hair steals souls and kills nude demon women

The Good

This was my first metroidvania Castlevania game, and I feel like it was a good start.

The gameplay felt very good. There is a variety of weapons to choose and upgrade. You can also collect souls from every monster that give you special abilities, but are also used to upgrade your items into some awesome looking weapons that can tear through enemies that gave you trouble previously.

The visuals are amazing. The main character's sprites are nicely animated, the backgrounds are really well detailed, and the many enemies are distinct from each other. The bosses are my personal favorite when it comes to the great spritework of the game-- a lot of them are so disgusting and horrific. There's a boss who's face peals back when it screams, there's one that is just a head with a few arms, etc. it's hard to believe what they got away with in a T-rated game.

(Endgame unlockable spoiler warning) When you beat the game, you unlock Julius Mode, where you play as one of the Belmonts. This means you get to play through the game with only a whip and some classic Castlevania throwables, which are unobtainable in the actual game (you can also switch to another character but she has no whip so she's not as cool). Since you already beat the game, this mode will go a bit faster, but there are no potions or consumables to use (it's played like a traditional Castlevania game, but with a metroidvania styled map), which adds to the challenge.

The Bad

Being a metroidvania with a large map, it's pretty easy to get lost and/or not even know where to go. The map only highlights doors to other screens, savepoints, fast travel locations, discovered areas, and undiscovered areas (if you bought a map), so you have to remember or maybe write down some areas of importance that you want to go to later on.

There are some shortcuts, but not enough. Some areas are really tedious and annoying to get to, even with fast travels. There are a couple places that tease you by letting you see the top of a screen, but you can't jump through the ceiling to get to it, instead you have to take your time to do 50 million laps around the map in order to just reach that spot.

Trying to get 100% is a pain. You have to complete the map, which doesn't sound bad at first, but it really is. There are these Crash Bandicoot 2-esque secret rooms that you would NEVER find without a guide, prior knowledge, or just plain luck. To 100% complete the game, you also have to collect the soul of every monster. To collect souls, you just kill a monster and you have a chance to get their soul (some have a lower drop rate than others). Not only is this hard to have to do, but it also gives the game a nudge in difficulty. In order to defeat the final boss (who's pretty tough), I had to grind for specific souls to upgrade my weapons. Some were easy, but some were terribly hard. I needed a Final Guard soul at one point, so I had to take up to 10 seconds to kill one, leave the screen, and do it again until I got it's soul. This went on for a while.

In Julius mode, there is no actual pause screen, it just freezes the game and says "Pause" in the corner. All of the options in the normal mode are not there, not even button configuration. I changed the controls of the normal mode to my liking, but I couldn't in Julius Mode. The controls were really awkward to me, especially since I played 10+ hours of normal mode with different controls.

The Bottom Line

If you like metroidvania games, give this a shot. If you haven't tried one, this is a good start. This game worth a playthrough. I wouldn't recommend trying to complete it 100%, and you might need a guide for one or two parts, but it's still a really good game.