Castle In The Darkness is a fun and challenging shout out to the early days of video games! It's an action exploration platformer with some RPG elements, much like games from the Castlevania or Metroid series. It's super fast-paced, challenging, and full of secrets!
User reviews:
Recent:
Mostly Positive (14 reviews) - 78% of the 14 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (719 reviews) - 81% of the 719 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 5, 2015

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About This Game

One dark and gloomy night, the kingdom of Alexandria is attacked by an evil sorcerer and his army of darkness! Despite their best efforts to protect their king and their princess, the royal guard falls, one-by-one, to the forces of evil. One knight, unconscious but still alive, awakens on the throne room floor to find that the princess is nowhere to be seen! What's more, the entire city had been overrun by monsters! With sword in hand, he embarks on a death-defying mission to find his princess and to restore peace to the kingdom!

  • A game by Matt Kap, the lead artist behind The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
  • A large world heavily inspired by the golden era of video games
  • Level up your knight with wildly different abilities
  • An arsenal of over 100 weapons, armor, items and magic to collect and use!
  • Over 50 bosses to find and slay
  • More than 100 different enemies
  • Fast-paced chiptune soundtrack

Castle In The Darkness is a fun and challenging shout out to the early days of video games! It's an action exploration platformer with some RPG elements, much like games from the Castlevania or Metroid series. It's super fast-paced, challenging, and full of secrets!

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP or later
    • Processor: Pentium 4 or higher
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256 MB or higher
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 120 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Any
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7 or 8
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 1 GB
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Storage: 120 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Any
Customer reviews
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Recent:
Mostly Positive (14 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (719 reviews)
Recently Posted
morbid237 - Idling
22.7 hrs
Posted: August 24
Fantastic game. Highly recommended if you enjoy retro platformers. Some new school gamers might like it too because the controls are simple and it's relatively straight forward.
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Viktor Krakov
14.9 hrs
Posted: August 20
Excellent old-school, hardcore platformer. Had so much fun I ended up going the whole way and 100%ing it and getting the secret achievements as well. If you like games like Super Meatboy or Hyper Light Drifter, I would definitely recommend this.
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KrueGOAR-Nation
12.0 hrs
Posted: August 16
I played through it, I don't think I got 100% because I'm not really a perfectionist and I honestly think that in order to enjoy a game you need to get as high a % without online help.

I beat the game straight through and did a few extra things after to bring up my %.

I never stopped having fun and honestly believed like I was playing a remade NES game which is WHY I bought it.

If you like older games that are difficult, and it does troll the game player which I think is HILARIOUS. Get this game, solid 10 hours of gameplay. Wonderful soundtrack also (goes hand and hand with the NES aspect of it)
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Kcman200
47.5 hrs
Posted: August 5
I've went and 100% this game 3 times since I've owned it, and only three times because every time i attempt to again my PTSD triggers especially hard in the Torture Chambers. I love the game, its one of my favorite games on steam, but oh my god there are some points that make me want to jump on some spikes myself. Thats the making of a great game though, just the right amount of difficulty and incentive!
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Bryanleo
12.4 hrs
Posted: August 1
This was a delightful game! While fairly short (I got 100% in about 11 hours), it was well worth the price. The music is solid, the gameplay is snappy and fun, and the overall feel of the game is very light.

There are points at which minor challenges become frustrating, but I feel that makes success more worthwhile. With plenty of bosses, collectibles, secrets, and goofy gems within, Castle in the Darkness is a hidden jewel within the Steam community.
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Arcanium
18.6 hrs
Posted: July 31
This game has some really strong pros and cons to it.

Firstly the cons:
-Insta-death is everywhere. The levels are quite literally designed to kill someone who doesn't know the layout. This is often done with falling spikes from the ceiling. Spikes are way too common and I wish they weren't insta-kills, but they are.
-Things are fairly well hidden. Going along with the fact that the player doesn't ever have a map given to them, it is very easy to miss many things, including the optional dungeons. And missing these dungeons is a guarenteed way to fall behind the power curve and make an already difficult game even more difficult.
-Until double jump, it's effectively just going right and then going right some more.

The pros:
-Exploring and doing the optional dungeons is really fun. Even though they're completely unneeded to beat the game and get the non-100% ending, they're still really fun to go through.
-The music is fantastic. Probably my favorite track was the Sunken Temple, funnily enough, an optional area.
-Double jump makes the difference. Suddenly the game opens up wide and you can do every optional area after that. Unfortunately double jump comes two areas before the end of the main storyline.

So if I could change anything, I'd open up all of the optional areas earlier in the game. Because I felt like the first half was a slog through, but the second half was a blast. I'd like to play way more of the second half and skip the first half.

The reason why the game suddenly got better is that Castle in the Darkness is a parody of Metroidvania games. These types of games shine when you can take various paths and explore. And for about half of the game, it felt like there was no exploring. So when you could finally do so, that is when the game was really able to show you all of the cool experiences it had to offer.

I was ready to leave Castle in the Darkness a negative review, but the quality play of the second half of the game really left a positive experience with me, so I think I'd recommend this game.
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jokude
7.4 hrs
Posted: July 31
Really hard game.
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Reeze The Vampire
0.3 hrs
Posted: July 30
A game that prides itself on how unfair it can be with awkward controls, glidy movement, lazy mechanics, and unfair enemy design. it took me all of twenty minutes before I was so dissapointed I tried to return it. Now, before you talk about how I just don't like a challenge, I will inform you that I have a platimun in all of the souls games. I love a good challege. However, there is a difference between a challenging/difficult game, and an unfair game. The hitboxes on your character are huge, and those of the enemies hardly exist. I specifically remember one enemy who throws knives very early in the game. If you get hit twice by these knives you die, if you touch him, you're inta-killed, and this is the best part, you can only hit his head. So no body shots count. This guy runs back and forth, throwing knives everywhere, and you're lucky if you can land a hit. I died to this guy about 50 times, assumed the rest of the game would be no better as far as fair gameplay is concerned, and stopped playing.
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MaTz
16.9 hrs
Posted: July 30
I'd enjoyed it very much. A lot of secrets and very challanged.
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prot8to
14.3 hrs
Posted: July 26
I enjoyed the game at first, but I soon realized it was a giant fetch quest in specific order without much thought. The story was lacking and I got sick of backtracking through the same areas two dozen times to get 100% completion. If only I got that 100% achievement but the game has bugs related to that and you have to perform the same thing multiple times to get it.

The game trolls hard too. The death counter ticks up fast when you realize spikes are an instant kill no matter how many hearts you get. It becomes super frustrating since they aren't put in places so much to require skill as they are to troll. You can scroll from one screen to the next and instantly plummet to your death on spikes. So it's mostly memorization.

The boss fights are pretty lacking as well. I see how they did a Mega Man thing with the magic and some being more effective than others but for the most part you're too squishy to make it through most battles without learning the patterns and following them. It's more about the skill of not dieing than a real boss battle.

I enjoyed it to a point but it quickly just became annoying and my beating the game was out of determination and anger not so much enjoyment. What do I get for all that effort and 14 hours of gameplay? Not even the achievement I strived for. I get nothing. The true ending was pretty pathetic when you consider how long it takes to gather all of the items in a game with absolutely no map and barely any clues.
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
12.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 1
This was a delightful game! While fairly short (I got 100% in about 11 hours), it was well worth the price. The music is solid, the gameplay is snappy and fun, and the overall feel of the game is very light.

There are points at which minor challenges become frustrating, but I feel that makes success more worthwhile. With plenty of bosses, collectibles, secrets, and goofy gems within, Castle in the Darkness is a hidden jewel within the Steam community.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
22.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 24
Fantastic game. Highly recommended if you enjoy retro platformers. Some new school gamers might like it too because the controls are simple and it's relatively straight forward.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
47.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 5
I've went and 100% this game 3 times since I've owned it, and only three times because every time i attempt to again my PTSD triggers especially hard in the Torture Chambers. I love the game, its one of my favorite games on steam, but oh my god there are some points that make me want to jump on some spikes myself. Thats the making of a great game though, just the right amount of difficulty and incentive!
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
14.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 26
I enjoyed the game at first, but I soon realized it was a giant fetch quest in specific order without much thought. The story was lacking and I got sick of backtracking through the same areas two dozen times to get 100% completion. If only I got that 100% achievement but the game has bugs related to that and you have to perform the same thing multiple times to get it.

The game trolls hard too. The death counter ticks up fast when you realize spikes are an instant kill no matter how many hearts you get. It becomes super frustrating since they aren't put in places so much to require skill as they are to troll. You can scroll from one screen to the next and instantly plummet to your death on spikes. So it's mostly memorization.

The boss fights are pretty lacking as well. I see how they did a Mega Man thing with the magic and some being more effective than others but for the most part you're too squishy to make it through most battles without learning the patterns and following them. It's more about the skill of not dieing than a real boss battle.

I enjoyed it to a point but it quickly just became annoying and my beating the game was out of determination and anger not so much enjoyment. What do I get for all that effort and 14 hours of gameplay? Not even the achievement I strived for. I get nothing. The true ending was pretty pathetic when you consider how long it takes to gather all of the items in a game with absolutely no map and barely any clues.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
143 of 159 people (90%) found this review helpful
10 people found this review funny
Recommended
27.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 7, 2015
- OLD THOUGHTS - UPDATED THOUGHTS BELOW -
THOUGHTS: 02.07.2015

I haven't finished the game yet, but at almost 8 hours in, I feel I've played enough to share my thoughts. I'll update this if/when I finish the game to update/finalize my thoughts. Here's what I feel right now.

This game is fantastic. It really captures NES-style fun, platforming and frustration.

- PROS -
- Great art direction; I really like the look of the backgrounds and characters.
- Great understanding of contrasting colors. Oftentimes a cool color will be in the background and a warm in the foreground (or vice versa ). Really makes the game pop (so many games get this wrong. It's great to see it done well here).
- Gameplay is fun and varied. The jump feels great too (not *fantastic*, but very good).
- Wide variety of weapons and items to keep gameplay from becoming bland.
- Really good music. When I entered a certain area - I had to pause for a second and just listen to it. It sounded *very* familiar (I'll leave it at that). Once I got the reference, it made me grin from ear to ear.
- Lots of cute, interesting nods to other games (Mega Man, Castlevania, etc.).
- Interesting, challenging boss battles. I hate boss battles that are *just* long. Here they're challenging and varied - but not too long once you get the pattern down. That's cool.

- CONS -
- It took me a while to get used to the screen transition. In Super Metroid, The Binding of Issac (or a host of other games - Shovel Knight, even) when you enter a new screen, the character pauses and slides across the screen as the new area is introduced. It helps to keep everything clear: here is the character; here is a new area. In 'Castle in the Darkness' the new screen just kinda pops into existence. Then it takes me a half-second to find where the character is. I have to admit that I found it rather jarring for the first few screens. I got used to it...and this may not affect everyone - but just thought I'd mention it here.
- No map system - and the game is HUGE. I may have to break out some graph paper and draw my own...
- (As far as I know) No 'current objective' slide to look at. So, if you put this game down for a week and come back you would be COMPLETELY lost.
- 'One-hit kill' spikes abound.

-NOTES-
It has to be mentioned (as I'm sure you've read in other reviews) - this game is *hard*. I think I have over 300 deaths already. It's cool, though - having a blast doing it. What's important to note is that this game uses a design philosophy that some players may not like - what I call "playing from save point to save point". It reminded me of a saying I hadn't thought of in years - "It's not real until you save." Beat a boss? Go back and save. Got a new item? Go back and save. Unlocked a secret room that's really cool and you want to explore it? For the love of all that is good GO BACK AND SAVE YOUR GAME. This is not a game where you run carelessly past save points as you vanquish foes with ease. This is a game where you jump for joy at save points, thank them for existing, give them a huge hug and kiss and then step cautiously into the next room. I grew up on games like this, so I understand this design philosophy - but I can see how others could see this as annoying or grindy.

Also, as I get further into the game, the amount of 'one-hit kills' (i.e. spikes) seems to be increasing exponentially. I hope the endgame is not just jumping through like thirty rooms filled with spikes - and if you slip up and touch ONE of them - you gotta go all the way back to the beginning. I mean, Super Meat Boy has one-hit kills as well - but that game has a super-fast reload time and no level is more than one screen long. That level of difficulty in this metroidvania structure would NOT work well. I hope that doesn't happen. >_<

- OVERALL -
So far, I'm really enjoying the game. Great NES-style action and great music. If you love platformers and you're ready for a challenge, I say pick it up (it's less than $5!). If you want something light to beat in a weekend, though...this may not be for you. I, however, am thoroughly enjoying it and look forward to seeing what other craziness the game has to offer (and I've seen some crazy rooms in it already). I hope I'm able to finish it. *fingers crossed*

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

- UPDATE -
THOUGHTS: 02.08.2015

I just beat the game with 90% completion (this took a little over 18 hours) and wanted to share my final thoughts.

'Castle in the Darkness' is wonderful. It truly is an engaging, challenging gem of a game. It surprised me how new enemies kept showing up right up until the end of the game. I was like, "This game is STILL introducing new enemies?!" Love it.

All of my thoughts above still apply and I was impressed that right through to the end, it's was an incredible experience. Also, Matt Kap (the developer) is still fixing things and making the game the best that it can be. Much respect for that!

So, in the end, 'Castle in the Darkness' is VERY much recommended.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to explore a bit more and see if I can get 100% completion. Cheers! :)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

- UPDATE -
THOUGHTS: 02.17.2015

Now I've beaten the game at 100% completion! Hurray! *does a little happy dance*

http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561197994686280/screenshots/?appid=262960
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51 of 52 people (98%) found this review helpful
Recommended
17.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 26
'They were all defeated by the monsters. All… but one!'
Intro of Castle in the Darkness
__________________________________________

Introduction

'Castle in the Darkness' is a revival of oldschool action-adventure platformers full of tough bosses and hellish platformer sequences. It takes many ideas from the classics of the different genres (e.g. from the Metroid Games, Castlevania III, Ghosts 'n Goblins, Mega Man…) mixes in some interesting new elements and spices the whole dish up with some RPG elements, tons of secrets and a lot of Easter Eggs. The result is a quite tough cookie of a retro-metroidvania that is probably not the healthiest choice - neither for your controller/keyboard nor for your nerves (sometimes it will make you swear so much that even a pub full of sailors would be impressed).
__________________________________________

Gameplay

As the only survivor of the Royal Guard it is your duty to save the Kingdom of Alexandria from attacking monsters (and of course you need to save the princess as well). So you start running and jumping through the levels, armed with a sword, an armor and some magic while looking for treasures and secrets to make your journey easier. Which is quite necessary as the game’s difficulty curve jumps up quite fast and soon you have to face scary platforming sequences and unfriendly creatures. However as spikes kill you instantly (and the architect of the kingdom decided to put them nearly EVERYWHERE) they will probably be your toughest enemies and the stuff your nightmares are made of.

Often it‘s a wise decision to backtrack and look for different ways and areas aside from the main path that you may have missed before. (Luckily there are some Warp points which allow teleportation between several major stages.)
The amount of secrets and optional stuff is huge and if you look closely you can find lots of breakable walls, hidden entrances, fake spikes, optional areas and bosses and items to e.g. increase your health. Many of them are quite well hidden but aside from (more or less obvious) breakable blocks there are several hints to less obvious areas, secrets and abilities – keeping your eyes out in the levels is definitly recommended.

Befitting the oldschool-charm of 'Castle in the Darkness‘ the game comes with good oldschool 8-bit graphics and an (amazing!) 8-bit soundtrack that may bring out some nostalgic feels (- well, at least if you are not mad at some particular spikes and areas in the game).
__________________________________________

Contra...?

If you plan on finding all the secrets and getting all hidden items and stuff you will need some extra hours after finishing the game and it will bring you straight to some nightmaris jumping sections and plattforming areas where you have to start over and over and over and over… again. (At least it rewards you with a secret ending and a NG+ with additional stuff for completing the game 100%).

Always keep in mind: After dying a lot of times the amount of happiness when you finally suceed is way much sweeter:
'Great I finally got the last page from the Book of the Dead so now I can go back to the safe poin-…

"Here lies…
Died 0000560 times.“

(…oh crap, I forgot about ceiling falling spikes.)
You and this little counter on the death screen will become pretty good friends because you will meet each other very often.
There’s an achievement for dying 500 times. If you want to finish the game at 100% you probably won’t even need suiciding to accumulate this amount of deaths. In the end it said I died 560 times – mostly to spikes I guess.

Yes it can be very frustrating and even if you're used to challenging titles and tough sequences, you will probably end in hating the game or at least some areas as much as you like other parts. Ragequitting the game after dying for the 18th time on an area, isn't that uncommon. One or two additional save points in tough sections would really have been a blessing and could have ended in letting more of my nerves survive the journey.
__________________________________________

Conclusion

If you expect a difficult little retro-platforming action-adventure with some RPG elements 'Castle in the Darkness‘ will entertain you a lot, providing enough content for at least ~6 hours (for the 'regular bad‘ ending) while balancing between motivation and frustration. I rate it 8 out of 10 points and can say that it’s a great little game for the common ~5 bucks in a sale. However, if you're used to difficult games and you have no problems repeating same areas a lot, the game will be funnier for you compared with those who normally tend to choose 'Easy Mode'

This endorsement approved by The Reviewers' Union, providing better standards for reviews and reviewers.
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82 of 119 people (69%) found this review helpful
14 people found this review funny
Recommended
7.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 5, 2015
I was born in 1985 and, because of that, I had the chance to play most of the great games that came out during the "Golden Age". Castle in the Darkess just gives me that well-known feel we old farts love so much — I would totally see myself playing this game for hours back in 1991 on my SEGA Master System II. Savegames didn't even exist back then. Good thing this game has them, because you're going to die quite a lot.

Art style is gorgeous (no ♥♥♥♥, Matt Kap = Isaac Rebirth visuals); the music is on-point (gotta love dem chiptunes mang), and the game offers good mechanics even by just making use of two buttons. The old times are back!

Oh, it's also discounted by 17% 'til February 12th. That's less than 5€. Go buy it.
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79 of 115 people (69%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 5, 2015
I think Castle in the Darkness (herein referred to as just "Castle") is proof of a few things:

-You shouldn't judge a book by its cover (or a game by its trailer in this case)
-There are certain gaming staples that needed to die long ago
-You get what you pay for
-A "Neutral" option for reviews would be really nice

I'll get this one out of the way first. Yes, Castle IS fun. But it's the kind of fun that needs to come with a few asterisks (more on that later). The game has a very simple charm to it that transcends words. Movement and attacking are quick and fluid. Enemies are nicely varied, if a little arbitrary at times, and fighting them is engaging enough. Bosses are equally varied (and there's quite a few of them!), virtually no boss (from what I've played so far) is remotely like any other, and it's fun trying to figure out their patterns and how to take them down, though I would argue that perhaps they aren't spaced out very well. Sometimes it seems like you're fighting a boss every 5 rooms, other times you're wondering if the area has a boss at all.

You start with basic equipment (short sword, basic armor) and gain more as you explore the world. These include various weaponry (of course), better armor, various magic (used by holding Attack to charge), relics which offer passive benefits (break certain blocks, keep traction on ice, etc), and Life increases (dropped by bosses). Some equipment you must buy from various NPC's, requiring you to keep on top of collecting all the coins that enemies drop.

It is cool to explore the world and gain an arsenal of equipment, but I can't help but feel that it's also a bit superfluous at the same time. The game seems to be designed so that enemies' strength is pretty much always on par with your own, so why even put in all the stat and weapon upgrades if they never add to your power relative to the enemies'? There are a few exceptions; entering Ruth's Hall at the first possible moment is essentially suicide, but then, why even bother letting me enter at all until I'm further along in the game?

The story is relatively vague, or perhaps a better word would be loose. What's there isn't bad. But at the same time, it's not really what you're there for. Playing Castle for the story is somewhat akin to playing Mario Bros. or Dota 2 for the story.

Now for what I didn't like. While the action is fun, the platforming is not. It's flat out frustrating. Well, the platforming itself isn't strictly bad, it's platforming around all the stuff that instantly kills you that's maddening. There's something about the way the Protagonist jumps that just feels off. It's so close to perfect that it's maddening, but it's not quite there. As I hinted above, the developer seems to have an insatiable crush on spikes that instantly kill you, and traps that instantly kill you. I'm going to reckon the vast majority of any players deaths will be to some form of instant-kill environmental hazard. Actually, there were times I forgot I had a life meter at all. In one room, there's a rugged series of steps with a single spike on one of them, and the spike blends into the background really well. In fact, the first time I passed through that room, being somewhat focused on the enemies, I missed it by chance, and had no idea it was even there. The second time through that room, it killed me (I hadn't even seen it until it did so), and I seriously considered uninstalling the game and never playing it again.

But the absolute worst thing about this game are the blocks that break when you step on them. You can (and in most cases MUST) hold Jump to gain extra height as you jump on these blocks to reach whatever destination you're striving for, generally this is "ground that doesn't have instant-kill spikes coming out of it". Which is fine and all. Except for one tiny detail: these blocks look the exact same as every other block. If a block serves a different function from a standard block, it should look different. I'm no game designer, but that seems like a basic. What we have here results in a very I Wanna Be The Guy-esque trial-and-error experience. And it's not like IWBTG, where it's so absurd it's actually funny, it's straight-up frustrating, unfair, and terribly designed. The game is withholding information from you.

The final thing about Castle that bugs the hell out of me is its sense of humor. Before I go any further on that, I have to kinda explain what I mean. See, there's a difference between making a subtle, clever nod or shout-out to something, and just pointing at something, saying it exists, and that by merely confirming its existence branding yourself as a comedic genius. And what Castle seems to love to point at is none other than Zelda 2 (and to a lesser extent Zelda in general, and a few other games), but it's not pointing at it, it's just quoting it verbatim, and at the same time portraying Link as (just to avoid having to ask everyone to pardon my French) a sadistic jerk, and even then it was a one-time joke that added nothing to the game. There comes a point where I'd rather a developer just not make any nods to other video games at all, and Castle has crossed that point and then some.

At the end of the day, yes, Castle is fun, but this is coming from someone who had the patience to finish Demon's Souls. My recommendation must come with the caveat that if you're not okay with dying a ton, or just dying unfairly in general, then you probably won't like this game. My recommendation must also come with the caveat that I have not beaten it yet. Perhaps I'll have a more definite stance on the game once I do, but even though there's a simple charm in Castle that keeps pulling me in, there's also the game's unrefined platforming pushing me away.
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155 of 249 people (62%) found this review helpful
14 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
14.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 13, 2015
I wonder how long it will be when we will be able to have another pixel-perfect, tough-as-nails platformer that isn't just a homage-fest. This game isn't it. I want to let it be known that before I wrote this review, I did in fact 100% everything in the game as far as percentage and achievements go. So this isn't a case of a salty review. I wish to inform people what this game IS and what this game ISN'T:

What this game IS:

-More of the same. It has more in similarity with I wanna be the Guy then a game like Meat Boy for example. Right down to all the other video game references and ideas it shamelessly borrows from. Even down to the trial and error methods of tackling levels.


What this game ISN'T:

-It is NOT a metroid vania. Not even loosely. Just because a game has powerups and backtracking does not make it a metroid-vania. It doesn't even have a MAP.

Most of the game, and I do mean the vast majority is backtracking. If you take nothing else from this review, understand my hatred of backtracking is absolutely immense. To add insult to injury, in a game where maneuvarability is paramount, your double jump ability is kept from you until around the first third of the game has passed. You will encounter a ton of areas that will require that double jump to uncover the secrets. That is probably the most laziest way to hinder progression. It shows not a lot of thought or care was put into actually creating a world worth exploring but instead wanted to pad the game as much as possible with backtracking. To make matters worse, the warp zones are put in the absolute worst positions, you will become lost for a good majority of the game, and al lthis does is add time to the clock but nothing is getting done. That is inexcusable for a game that came out in 2015.


and I know what you are going to say, "but Starman! Super Metroid is one of the best games ever with a similar grab the powerups to open new areas game, it had a lot of backtracking too!" Ok first off, Super Metroid was THE game that "metroid-vania" was based off and for good reason. You wanna know why it holds up to this day? It created interesting powerups. It created interesting beam combinations. It created an environment you wanted to explore. It had so many powerups and collectibles for it's time that it offered a much more fulfilling sense of accomplishment. It also didn't rely on cheap trial and error segments to pad the game for length.

"But, But castlevania! Symphony of the night! It was the -vania part of metroid! it did similar things!" Not even comparable. Castlevania: SOTN was more like Metroid, but built upon the idea with a huge array of secrets, weapons, spells, and other things. Also, NG+ allowed you to play as other characters and the like.


To even COMPARE this game to a metroid-vania is an absolute lie. Don't even. First third of game is playing crippled, the last 2/3's is backtracking and getting lost, and dying at segments where there are 4-5 screens before your next save point.

So, why did I play this game to completion? I clearly HATED the game right? No. I didn't hate the game. The fact is, the game's core gameplay has proven itself to be rewarding, as most of these platformers tend to do. My issue is that the game took the lazy, cheap way out of dealing with things. It has no identity for itself. It's just some frankenstein monster of other game's great ideas hindered by lazy development and shoddy "HAY GAIZ, REMEMBER THIS FROM [this game]?"

I want new, unique titles. You can have your trial and error pixel perfect jumps. But stop trying to be every other game.

and if you really want to create a metroid-vania, CREATE, a genuine metroid-vania experience. Not this.


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48 of 68 people (71%) found this review helpful
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Recommended
17.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 25, 2015
Developer: Matt Kapp
Publisher: Nicalis
Release Date: 5 February, 2015


Let me start of by saying that Matt Kapp, the Lead Artist behind The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth developed this beauty and Nicalis, Cave Story+, published it. A match made in heaven.

Boy this game got me hooked. So hooked that I like to call it Castle In Le Dankness. Don’t judge me. Anyway the game’s as advertized:
It’s super fast-paced, challenging, and full of secrets!
And that’s true folks. There’s just so much to explore and to find.
Tons of references are just waiting for you behind fake spikes, walls and breakable walls of course. A huge bonus if you’ve played like Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid or Castlevania since this game really has a ton of references for those games.
Also I do recommend to check out the options menu before you’re starting to die … I mean play this game for hours.

That being said let’s get into it!

Story
One dark and gloomy night, the kingdom of Alexandria is attacked by an evil sorcerer and his army of darkness! Despite their best efforts to protect the king and their princess, the royal guard falls one-by-one, to the forces of evil. One knight, unconscious but still alive, awakens on the throne room floor to find that the princess is nowhere to be seen! What're more, the entire city has been overrun by monsters! With sword in hand, he embarks on a death-defying mission to find his princess and restore peace to the kingdom!
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=484015863
Now that’s the story. One thing to note is that you’re not your everyday hero. You’re not the chosen one nor the Warrior of Light fighting the Darkness.
You’re just a mere Knight doing your duty: Rescuing your Princess.

Gameplay
Welcome back to the, how I like to call it, golden age of gaming. This game is heavily inspired by games like Castlevania and you’ll notice that in the way the game works. But not only Castlevania pretty much of every game it has references off.
One thing I have to tell you right now is: You will die. Not just once. Not twice. Be prepared to die a lot. I’ve finished the game with 305 Deaths. Is that a bad thing? Not it isn’t. To be quite honest with you I had a blast dying countless of times mainly because of my own stupidity. Well I say my own stupidity but that’s not quite true. The thing is the game has so many ways to make you visit the Game Over Screen numerous times. Be it a switch that activates some spikes beneath you, which will instantly kill you by the way or this weird and accurate jump you’ve to do just to get some stuff. Some levels have ice on the ground so you’ll slide slowly but surely into your death and others have strong winds which will send you straight to your Death.
Not to mention some enemies have specific weakpoints and attacking those is the only way to actually hurt and defeat them.
The game does feature upgrades in form of Weapons such as different Swords, Boomerangs or an Axe. Also different types of Armors which will help you on your quest to rescue your Princess.
Not to mention magic. You can either throw a Hadouken err I mean a Fireball or summon the winds to slash your enemies into pieces.
Also there’s another reference including a simple sword and a nature armor. Just to give a small hint.
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=484949936
If you’re fighting a Boss then timing is your best friend as well as choosing the right weapon and magic.

Another thing to point out is that the game’s all about platforming. Precise jumping and timing will be required to get through the game.
Secrets. Did I tell you that there are literally dozens of it in the game?

Visual
Fine and beautiful Pixel Art. I already pointed out to actually check out the options menu before you’re playing for one simple reason: Scanlines. In my opinion adding Scanlines to the game makes look just so much better but then again it could just be me.
The difference level just look awesome. The whole game just has a gorgeous Art Style.
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=485556842
Audio
Here comes the real beauty. There’s an optional Area called Sunken Temple and this is the OST:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu3q98JzuYo
I found myself running through the entire Area three times after I cleared it just because of this track.
The gorgeous art style and the beautifully crafted Sound for each Area just fit.
Take Torture Chamber for example. Once you reach it you’ll truly understand what I mean.
There are more of course but I don’t want to spoil you all the fun.
Might just be me but if the OST would be available to buy it’d be an Insta Buy for me.

What else is there to say?
Castle In Le Dankness The Darkness is a game filled with Nostalgia.
I tried to not go into that but I can’t help it. It’s not only because of all those References but just the overall game. The look, feel, gameplay … Just everything reminds you of the Golden Age of gaming. Be it the enemies, the Bosses or just some items. Nearly everything reminds you of games like Castlevania or The Legend of Zelda and many more. I can’t go and list all of the games since it’s just way too much.
Dying was fun. I grinned so often when I found myself dying because I missed a jump or activated a trap to kill myself … numerous times.
I seriously had a blast dying and I couldn’t stop playing it.
I actually go as far as to say that Castle In The Darkness is the Shovel Knight of 2k15.
We need more games like this and I truly hope we will see some more in the future.
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