GAMING POINT OF LOU – BLOODSTAINED CURSE OF THE MOON
When co director of 1997’s “Symphony of the Night” and its GBA sequels Koji Igarashi took to Kickstarter to fund his latest project “Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night”, legions of fans eagerly jumped on board. Blowing it’s initial funding goal of $500,000 out of the water, the campaign ended with over $5.5 million dollars being raised unlocking every stretch goal that was offered.
This Brings us to “Bloodstained: Curse Of The Moon”. Developed by Inti Creates, it was fully unlocked for all consoles and handheld systems at the $4.75 million level. It is an homage to the 8 bit Castlevania games and is a prequel to the upcoming “Ritual Of The Night”. In it, you take control of Zangetsu as he embarks on his single minded quest to wipe all demons from the face of the earth. Along the way you meet up with the Shardbinders Miriam (herself the lead protagonist of the upcoming RoTN), Gebel, and the Alchemist Alfred. Each character brings their own play style and abilities. Players can also freely switch between them at any time, which allows for a surprising amount of strategy and customization as no one character is perfect in all situations.
The game is not all that long It can be tackled in a couple hours if you just blast through the shortest path, which is always conveniently marked by some very happy looking skeletons. The bulk of the replayability comes from exploring all the branching paths that the levels have to offer, and experimenting with different team strategies and combinations. Bosses provide some interesting mechanics, none of them save for the final boss was all that difficult to get a handle on, but it does harken back to the bosses of yesteryear where patience and observation were the one true path to victory. The game also has two difficulty levels, casual and veteran. There are no differences in the story elements between the two, but casual offers the player unlimited lives and will not knock back the character when they take damage, which believe me can make a big difference at certain points.
Controls are exactly as you would expect from a love note to the 80’s Castlevania games. Missing jumps is commonplace and can lead to some frustrating moments, especailly during the later stages of the game where you need to manage a little more precision. I love the chiptune soundtrack and the simple but effective sound effects. Graphics are exactly as you would expect for an “8 bit” game. It’s retro in all the right ways, and the environments are surprisingly detailed. It’s Castlevania.
All in all I had a fun time with “Curse Of The Moon”. Its $9.99 price point is fair for what you get. Coming from someone who played the OG Castlevania games when they were “new” I enjoyed the care Inti Creates took to replicate that same experience, and it serves as a fun little appetizer to the main course that will be “Ritual Of The Night”. I’ve never done a “grading system” before, so this will be a first, and CoTM rates a solid B+
Until Next Time Everyone,
Be Good To Your Fellow Nerds!!!