Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon – Review

Inti-Creates brings us Bloodstained, a sort of prequel/spin-off to Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Meant as a promise in their kickstarter campaign, finally made into fruition. And you can tell that they meant to bring us a solid game as well. From its solid core gameplay, which is action-adventure combined with a smooth retro aesthetic. You play as Zangetsu, a powerful demon hunter, driven by revenge. No, this is not Ichigo’s sword (Bleach reference). During your travels through the demon filled lands you will encounter many a foe, but some friends as well, with whom you will continue your quest. Did inti-creates truly deliver in what seems to be a resurrection of retro styled games, or was this a promise better left dead? Let’s find out in our review of Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon! Turn off the lights, chalk up your hands and prepare, because this won’t be an easy ride.

What is Good?

  • Perfect Retro: Inti-Creates, tell me, where is your time travel machine? Because if this would’ve been released in the time where Castlevania reigned supreme this would’ve been an amazing contender. There is absolutely no reason to believe that this would be a modern game, and this is GOOD guys! They nailed the animations, the soundtrack, and the aesthetics. If only it had a story to go along with it. I bow down to them because this truly brought joy to my old soul. There’s been countless adaptations and failed attempts at delivering us the same sort of dread and anxiety that games like Ghouls and Goblins gave us. But this one just NAILS it! If you enjoyed these games, then this one is no brainer, you have to experience this one!
  • Boss Battles: By far, the game rocks its boss battles. And don’t think they’re easy at your first go. Each boss has its own mechanic. And they’re not just bosses. They’ve got the spirit. They’re not just mindless sprites, oh no. These dudes fill up the map and are attacking with whatever they got around them. That’s what makes it so interesting and fun. As one champion might be perfect to easily beat that boss, but if that one’s already dead? Then tough cookies!! These bosses are not forgiving in the slightest. You make a mistake, and they’ll roll over you (sometimes literally) without mercy. So keep that health bar up and stay cautious, because there’s no telling at what they’ll do next! You’ll lose a few lives before you get the mechanics down, that’s a given!
  • Action packed: Don’t think that your journey towards the boss will be an easy route though. The enemies will be coming for you no matter where you travel. You’ll rarely get the chance to recover as the respawn time for the enemies is very short. And I didn’t that at all actually. As these were the source for extra special ammo. But you’ll have to fight hard for them, as like with the bosses, these are relentless and will keep on spawning until you go through a door, only to be greeted by another wave of enemies. Not only that, there is enough diversity in what you’ll encounter. So no level will feel the same. Thank god, because a change in scenery but not what you’d encounter would just show lazy design, but Inti-Creates had none of this!
  • Soundtrack: As you might know by now, I hold a good soundtrack in high regards, as this is one of the makings or breaking factor (in my opinion) in a game. Worry not, because Bloodstained has one that accompanies it’s gameplay perfectly. Each level has its own atmosphere, and the music behind it is just on point! Another big applause for the composers!
  • Multi-skilled: In total, your team will have 4 different champions, each with their own set of skills and special abilities. One stands out by the way she jumps, the other might turn into a bat, allowing you to reach different areas. Areas that wouldn’t be reachable by another champion. But keep your health bar up though, if a champion dies in a level, he remains dead until you either beat that level, or everyone dies and you lose a life. There is no resurrection spell, so keep your company alive!
  • Free choices: You are free to go where you please. This means that for instance you know there’s a power-up on the 2nd level, but you needed a different champion to get to it, but you didn’t get him yet at that point. Well, if you want, you can backtrack to that level again to get your power up! Now that’s something that you completionists out there will love and adore!

Mixed Feelings

  • Length: There seems to be a trend in each one of the maps, a quick point A to point B route, or a detour that artificially lengthens the run, but only by a little. You’ll be pretty much steaming through them. The detours often lead you to power ups, like for instance more special ammo for your abilities, or an extra life, so they’re worth doing for not only the power ups, but as well as some extra run time. Otherwise you’ll be at the end really soon.
  • Story: Sadly enough there is almost no story here. You get a bit of backstory at the start of the game, and the moments you meet up with your new friends, but that’s about it. There is near to no interaction with your friends, and the bosses don’t give you much to go by with as well.. There’s no indication as to why you are going after them, other than your searing hate for demons. They don’t even give you the names of the bosses or why you are hunting them. I just hope that the next one will have a bit more story then this dried up well. Wouldn’t of minded a bit more reason to the rhyme here…

What is Bad?

  • Controls: There was only one part of the game that annoyed me more than anything, and that were its controls. Although it gives you to the option to use the controller stick, please don’t. It makes the movement a pain to control in, for instance, moving up or down the stairs. How many times I had to fiddle that stick to get my guy to walk up those god damned stairs, I do not know. But I could eat every brick that it was made from, in frustration. Also, the game’s jump mechanics are something that you’ll have to learn to live with. As if you jump and then move to the left or right, you’ll just go straight in the air, you’ll have to be moving left or right, and then jump, to go that direction. Making it hard to land a precise jump. Especially on the moving platforms.

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon – 82/100

If you have ever played a game like Castlevania, and loved them? Then be sure to give this one a try! Not only does it ooze that good old Castlevania atmosphere, it also does its damn well best to deliver an authentic retro feeling. With its quick action and visual style, it simply pulls you into its grip and won’t let you go, or at least, not without a struggle. For those who love the classics, this is surely going to be a timeless classic as well. And not only that, for those who are new to this genre? The game offers you a classic mode as well. This removes the knockback we all have come to love and hate way back then, and supplies you with infinite lives. So, people? Yes, this is a true gem to play! Makes me look forward into playing Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.

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