Rejoice, Creatures of the Night
It may have missed many a gamer’s radar, but the Kickstarter project helmed by Koji Igarashi, the caretaker of the MetroidVania entries of the Castlevania series, has released the stretch goal bonus game promised to backers. And it’s a dead ringer for Castlevania 3. The new game, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, is developed by Inti Creates, the independent developer renowned for excellent retro games such as Blaster Master Zero and Striker Gunvolt.
It follows a sword-wielding protagonist out to slay every demon in his path along with three other characters; a Shard-fused young woman with a whip, a magical alchemist, and an Alucard-like man who is also fused with shards. The player can switch between characters on-the-fly in order to gain access to their unique special abilities like range attacks, magical shields and slide moves.
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is a short game, with only about 5 levels that can be completed in an hour or two. It is not nearly as brutal as the classic Castlevania NES games of the past but, astoundingly, the game improves on these Pantheon-class games in almost every way while remaining deeply rooted in their legacy. Amazing secondary weapons, an enhanced 8-bit aesthetic, massive boss battles, and branching paths add to the replayability and enjoyment.
If you are a Kickstarter backer of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night of a certain tier, you may already have a game code coming your way for this instant classic. For everyone else, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon can be purchased on almost any platform (Nintendo Switch, 3DS, PS4, XBO [Delayed until June], Steam) for about $10 and in my opinion, is more than worth the price of admission if you enjoy old-school action/adventure games.