Also available on 3DS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Windows
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is a Castlevania game in all but the name, and DAMN, does it capture the awesomeness of old school Castlevania well. A lot of the talent behind the early Castlevania games is present here, so it's not surprise that it emulates the feel of those early 8-bit games so well. I got a download code for this from one of my Racketboy friends, so super kudos to him. I figured the game would be fun, but I didn't expect it to be THIS fun.
If you've played any of the NES Castlevania games, then you know how the basic mechanics here work. You go through side scrolling levels with some platforming bits and both ascending and descending stairs to get to an endboss. You've got a special weapon that has limited uses, and you can swap that out for new special weapons that you find in the field. Just like old Castlevania, right? The first major difference is that you have multiple characters between whom you can switch on the fly during gameplay, and each character handles a little different. One is better at platforming, one has a better distance attack, one can fly, one has better magic, etc.
The other big difference between Bloodstained and Castlevania is that this is a much more accessible game. You can play "Veteran" with limited lives and knockback, but there's also a casual mode that gives you infinite lives and doesn't knock your character back when you take damage. Being a punk ass bitch who sucks at video games, I naturally played on casual. I do plan to go back through on veteran now that I have an idea of how each character played and truly "complete" the game, but even the forgiving casual mode is a ton of fun.
Normally I'm pretty critical of pixel art style games these days. It just feels like such a cheap done-to-death way of making games. I never once found myself irritated with it here, though. This game is so GOOD that it never bothered me. Not only does the amazingly fun gameplay keep my mind off of the fact that its pixel art, but it actually works here in a way that most games can't claim; it's an intentional call back to the Castlevania games of the late 80s that this mimics. In addition to that, the art is extremely well done. It looks absolutely beautiful, and the character sprites are fantastic. The music, too, is every bit as amazing as the visuals and will put any retro gamer in nostalgic bliss.
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is an absolutely fantastic resurrection of the 8-bit era Castlevania style and a definitely must-play for fans of the three NES Castlevanias. At only $10, it's not a bad price at all given how high the quality of the game is. One of the big goals is obviously to get people interested in the main Bloodstained game, Ritual of the Night, and in that endeavor, it has DEFINITELY worked on me; that game rocketed up my list of upcoming releases to keep an eye on. With its difficulty setting, it's got the approachability that less skilled players like me (that's the nice of way saying "people who suck at games") like to see as well as the challenge that genre veterans will crave. The only real complaint I have with the game is that it's a bit short in my opinion, and some of the bosses are pretty easy to cheese your way through. Otherwise, though, this is one of the best eShop games I've played yet on Switch.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.