Lost Castle (REVIEW)
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Sometimes a game can go to great lengths to punish the player, the level of difficulty coupled with the sweet rewarding feeling you get when you overcome some of the harder parts. This is something that gives a gamer like me a certain euphoria that can’t be matched. Lost Castle delivers exactly what your inner masochist craves and more. Like Dark Souls meets Maple Story. Cute retro graphics with some incredibly challenging gameplay make for a fun romp that keeps me coming back… no matter how many times I die.
The story is all about castle, overrun by a band of goblins. You are a random adventurer, your job is to explore the castle and kill as many of the things that go bump in the night. Gameplay is a rogue-like with randomly generated dungeons. Getting from point A to point B differs each time. When your character dies, there is no respawn, there is no check point, you lose all your items and start over from the beginning as a different adventurer.
Your weapons are randomized as well, one run you may start off with a spear… the next a magic wand… it’s all about how lucky (or unlucky) you can be. Combat is simple; you have a basic attack, a special attack, and an ability that uses SP (which recharges over time). Staying mobile, attacking, jumping, and generally making sound decisions about how you engage with enemies will either make or break a run.
Upon death, not all is lost. As you take down all manner of Goblinkind, you collect souls and upon your death you can redeem these souls for upgrades to your character. From increased attack and defense to breaking allies out of the very prison you spawn in each time, this grind is what pushes you to go as far as you can. Unfortunately, nothing can carry over… so if you spend as many souls as you are able to, or worse… are short a few even for one upgrade… you are forced to sacrifice all souls and start all over again from scratch.
Gameplay is easy to pick up, the simple combat makes jumping in fairly easy despite how challenging the core gameplay is. Moving around does leave a bit to be desired, I feel like it would have helped to have a dodge ability.
Navigating the castle never feels like too big of an undertaking. While each room is random, there generally are no more than two doors to choose from. While this isn’t a traditional dungeon crawler, you can’t backtrack most rooms and unless a path leads you down to a hidden chest or a shop, there really is no going back.
Items will be plentiful, from HP restoring foodstuffs to weapons and armor to better keep the fight coming. You’ll have to find the perfect balance between using your items frequently or being more conservative. Since your items never carry over between deaths, it always sucks when you make a few bad moves and you end up losing all your stuff.
You can tackle these challenges alone or bring a friend, in my review I never did get the change to find a friend to play with… but hey, if I enjoyed it so much just flying solo… I’m sure adventuring with a friend would be twice as nice. Like the double mint gum of rogue-like games.
While there isn’t much to the story, that’s okay in a game like this. The narrative is what you make it and the ongoing challenge of seeing how far can you go make for truly interesting gameplay. Play by yourself or play with a friend, I’m sure you’ll make a good old time with Lost Castle. Despite wishing for more movement abilities, it’s a small gripe for such a complete package. The one thing that may turn off the more casual player is that this game is pretty damn hard, while that isn’t a bad thing (per se) I do see that fact turning off gamers that may have come for the cute graphics… but didn’t expect the challenge.
+ Endearing visuals
+ VERY Challenging
+ Simple to pick up gameplay
- Needs more movement options