This is an action-platformer in the style of new Castlevania
There are a few key differences, however. Unlike Castlevania
, this game emphasizes quality over quantity when it comes to item drops and spells. Enemies drop crafting ingredients, not gold or items. Each character has only a handful of armors and weapons, and every one caters to a different playstyle and has multiple upgrade levels.
The gameplay is more akin to a fighting game (especially in boss battles). There is a heavy emphasis on dodging over blocking. Striking enemies at opportune moments is much more important than simply hitting them as much as possible. You do have a revive built into your abilities, but you are still fairly fragile.
This is much easier to play than a fighting game, though. Your skill cancel is a simple press of the down key, and dodging is just pressing left or right after that. Your assist has its own button, and spell casting and super mode have modifier keys. The game offers some tutorials, but muscle memory is the only real stumbling block here.
Boss battles emphasize pattern recognition and reaction time over button mashing, and since your skill cancels have a short cooldown, spamming will get you nowhere. Killing a tricky boss after spending four lives learning their patterns is a very satisfying feeling. Retries are unlimited and place you right in the boss room, but its still crucial to keep your cool and respond to attacks carefully.
There are downsides, of course. Whenever the game chooses to focus on platforming over combat, it becomes significantly less fun. Thankfully most of the timed platforming challenges are optional, though you will be missing out on a few items if you ignore them, as I chose to.
Like any non-linear game, there are times when you will be unsure where to go, or where you accidentally miss important things because the game doesn't tell you enough. This is compounded by some occasionally suspect level design, particularly areas where it's easy to fall down several rooms and be forced to repeat an area, or where enemies can stunlock or toss you easily.
The map and menus are rather bland. While it has some nice sprite work, the graphics options don't really give everything room to shine. It also doesn't scale well, so if (like me) you have a fairly large monitor and play in fullscreen, the upscaling is very noticable.
The story is nothing exciting. Like Castlevania
, it's mostly relegated to text boxes whenever you find a new area or kill a boss. It has a few engaging reveals and some pleasant backstory here and there, but the story is not a reason alone to play this game.
Ultimately, this game doesn't hold your hand, but it has a reasonable difficulty curve and skill floor. It expects you to work a little bit for your victories, but it is neither impossible nor unfair. If you like action platformers and skill-based combat, look no further. Just be sure to use a controller.