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Game Review #113: Cursed Castilla EX (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Frankie W.

Developer: Locomalito

Publisher: Abylight

Category: Arcade, Platformer, Action, Adventure

Release Date: 1.24.2019

Price (at time of review): $14.99

Buy Cursed Castilla EX from the Nintendo eShop here.

Locomalito does a fantastic job bringing old school arcade goodness with a fresh coat of paint and accessibility, and this bad boy is no different. If you have any love for the old days of slamming quarters into a Ghosts ‘n Goblins machine in a neon-lit arcade, or playing the console versions of that series in the comfort of your own home, Cursed Castilla EX is sure to please you, without robbing you of your quarters...or your sanity! Cursed Castilla EX shares a lot with the series to which it is clearly paying tribute, but also manages to forge its own identity by modernizing some of the old mechanics, as well as making it more accessible to play rather than slog through praying you will make progress, and it is well welcomed! Let's delve a little deeper into the killer action-platformer, Cursed Castilla EX!

There’s a Bit of Depth

Story-wise, we are looking at nothing too fanny. However, it is there, and the story features a bit more story than Ghosts ‘n Goblins normally does, which is pretty much starting and ending cutscenes. In Cursed Castilla EX, a young witch has had her tears turned into a key by a demon to open the gateway to Hell. You play as Don Ramiro, famed knight of the land! Appointed by the king to fight back the encroaching demon horde and to figure out how to stop it, you venture out with a few other knights in a quest to save your country.

This game features heavy influences from European folklore, which was an awesome change-up from what I’m used to! I am pretty familiar with Japanese and American Folklore, which gets used a lot in games, so I can often identify influences from those cultures when I see them, but this injection of European lore I had no idea existed led me to love a lot of enemy designs as well as the bosses you fight. It felt fresh and different rather than just retooling bosses and enemies from the series that inspired this game.

Did Somebody Say Ghosts ‘n Goblins?

As Don Ramiro, a welcome addition to your jumps is the ability to change your jump trajectory in the air, which was a defining aspect of the movement in Ghosts ‘n Goblins. You can attack with your weapons which range from swords, daggers that are thrown in a spread, sickles that fly out and come back to you, bolas that are shot in a wave pattern, and more! These allow you to adapt your play-style to the enemy placement in order to safely progress through levels, and to help you do that, you also have an array of sub items you can get such as a shield to take an extra hit, a fairy familiar who drops bombs in front of you in a super useful angle, a key to open a special path, or even boots that grant you a double-jump like you have in Ghosts ‘n Goblins! Figuring out how to progress while still having the items you want is key, as you will go back to your basic weapon—the sword—when you die, losing any sub-items or weapons you have gained.

On an art and music level, Cursed Castilla EX excels! Featuring arcade-styled graphics with 4 different visual filters to apply—depending on how much old school love you are feeling—Cursed Castilla EX dedicates a lot to making this game look like it might have been on an old arcade machine. The soundtrack, too, is absolutely rockin’ and toe-tappin’! Featuring energizing beats and motivating boss tunes, the sound design on this game is absolutely on point! With over 48 enemies, as well as a ton of challenging bosses, the eight levels are sure to give you hours of challenge; and with four different endings, there is lots of replay value here as you perfect your run!

Wrapping Up

Overall, Cursed Castilla EX was a joy to play. As someone who has played and beaten a few entries in the Ghosts ‘n Goblins series, it was nice to enjoy a game very reminiscent of it, but without a lot of the extra-hard aspects to the gameplay that feel a little bit like the game is fighting against you. The continue system keeps you grinding on that level you are having trouble with, without having you dedicate the rest of the game to muscle memory, and that is certainly a welcome and refreshing change. This game is a great choice for anyone to pick up, hardcore or casual, and it's sure to put some well-deserved hair on your chest! I give Cursed Castilla EX an 8/10!

Score: 8/10

Buy Cursed Castilla EX from the Nintendo eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Abylight

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