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Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (Switch eShop) Review

by Zachary Miller - May 30, 2018, 9:48 am PDT
Total comments: 12

8

An excellent Castlevania clone with some smart updates.

While we all wait for Igarashi’s much-anticipated Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, he and Inti Creates collaborated on an NES-style appetizer for fans to digest while they wait for the main course. Curse of the Moon is essentially a modern take on the NES Castlevania games (which is a smart choice, since Ritual of the Night will be a Symphony-style Castlevania game). If you liked the old level-based Castlevania games, this will be a welcome treat. If you didn’t, well, this might not be your cup of tea.

The game plays almost exactly like Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, as you quickly recruit a party of four characters that can be switched between at any time. Your starting character, Zangetsu, is a swordsman with high HP and a short attack range. Miriam, who will be the protagonist of Ritual of the Night, wields a familiar-looking whip for a long-range attack but can also jump higher than everyone else and can slide. Alfred, a magician, has extremely low HP and can’t really engage in melee combat to any helpful degree, but at least two of his spells are extremely helpful. Finally, Gebel is this game’s Alucard stand-in. He has a short-range attack but he can transform into a bat to get into areas other characters can’t.

Every level features multiple paths to the same boss fight. Certain paths hide permanent stat boosts to HP, magic points, attack, or defense. Each of your characters can die, either by running out of HP or falling into a bottomless pit. Should they meet an unfortunate end, they will be unavailable for the rest of that level, which can limit your ability to explore or even, in some cases, continue at all. Thankfully, if you find yourself unable to move forward, you can activate the “Curse of the Moon” from the pause screen. This allows you to go back to any previously completed level and essentially restart. This becomes handier the farther you get into the game.

Curse of the Moon isn’t especially long or difficult if we’re going by NES Castlevania standards. You can make things harder on yourself by turning on “Veteran Style” when you start. Doing so gives you a limited number of lives and provides that old Castlevania knockback you know and love. If you’d rather stay sane, you can go with “Casual Style,” which gives you infinite lives and no knockback. When you beat the game, you get Bravely Default’d back to the start with one critical difference.

There’s not a lot to criticize about the game. I kind of wish that backtracking to levels you’ve previously cleared gave some indication of what item you’d found and where it was so that you can knowingly try a different path. In general, I like the look of the game but some of the boss designs and their attack patterns exhibit Inti Creates’ worst tendencies. The final boss in particular looks absolutely ridiculous and would make way more sense in a Gunvolt or Mega Man Zero game. I wish Alfred was more useful than he is; you basically keep him around for two of his spells. Finally, Miriam is very overpowered—you can get through essentially any combat situation with her long-range whip and overhead sword throw subweapon. Zangetsu need not apply, and Gebel becomes useful only for his bat ability.

All that said, Curse of the Moon is a very enjoyable old-school Castlevania homage that’s well worth the price of admission—as long as you have nostalgia for those games. Those of you who have no patience for the first three Castlevania games in particular may want to give Curse a wide berth, but I daresay there are systems in place here that may tickle your fancy.

Summary

Pros
  • Casual Style
  • Great Castlevania gameplay
  • Not especially long, so multiple playthroughs are encouraged
Cons
  • Alfred generally
  • No indication of what paths you've already taken
  • Some of the bosses are more Gunvolt than Castlevania

Talkback

KejomoMay 30, 2018

Just an FYI, most console Kickstarter backers are still waiting for codes to download this game. They did give us temporary steam codes (whatever that means). I just refuse to play games on a PC. I don't feel like Inti Creates and FanGamer have gotten enough bad press over this horribly managed fulfillment of backer rewards.

Me126546May 30, 2018

Quote from: Kejomo

Just an FYI, most console Kickstarter backers are still waiting for codes to download this game. They did give us temporary steam codes (whatever that means). I just refuse to play games on a PC. I don't feel like Inti Creates and FanGamer have gotten enough bad press over this horribly managed fulfillment of backer rewards.

While it is a shame that we backers haven't gotten the codes, the temporary Steam codes weren't necessary of them to do and alleviates some of the shame in all this. It's not like they anticipated this happening, and apparently getting a Switch code is harder than just getting a Steam code. The best thing they could've done for this for you, then, would be delay the whole game entirely until they got the codes, which, would be pretty lame. What I'm saying is, I don't think it's as horrid as you seem to think to warrant a bunch of bad press.

KejomoMay 31, 2018

I don’t know how anyone can defend the way this was handled. If you can’t deliver the product to the people that supported you 3 years ago, you delay the game. I waited that long I can wait 2 more weeks. This is not how you treat people that invested in your game. They’ve had a long time to plan how they were going to launch this game and it seems to me like it was rushed out the door to make a buck. I don’t know what it takes to generate codes for the switch and I really don’t care. That was their job and they botched it.

So many Kickstarters have been troubled/botched that most have tempered their expectations on creators meeting their self-imposed obligations.


I also imagine there'd be more anger about the console code issues if they DIDN'T provide the temporary Steam code.  If you don't know, it's exactly what it sounds like - a Steam code that unlocks a game for a temporary period of time.  I had one when I backed Mutant Football League and they released early alpha/beta builds of the game for backers to play. 

AdrockMay 31, 2018

Quote from: Kejomo

I don’t know how anyone can defend the way this was handled. If you can’t deliver the product to the people that supported you 3 years ago, you delay the game. I waited that long I can wait 2 more weeks. This is not how you treat people that invested in your game. They’ve had a long time to plan how they were going to launch this game and it seems to me like it was rushed out the door to make a buck. I don’t know what it takes to generate codes for the switch and I really don’t care. That was their job and they botched it.

While Koji Igarashi and his team absolutely botched the release of the side-game (they really should have collected the necessary codes from Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo before announcing a date), I’m not really bothered by it. This is easy to defend due to the nature of crowdfunding as lolmonade alluded to. IGA’s team has largely handled the campaign well by releasing regular updates and alerting backers of any issues.

Curse of the Moon was one of the last stretch goals for Ritual of the Night which itself had an estimated delivery of March 2017. Not sure anyone believe that date was happening, but it’s relevant to bring up here. A two to three week delay of a stretch goal for consoles may not be ideal. It’s also not moving the needle too much for people who have been following the project.

I can’t get behind a lot of what you’re saying.

1. You say you can wait two weeks, but you’re complaining about waiting two weeks because you refuse to play the temporary Steam code they didn’t have to give anyone. I use a Mac; I can’t even use the Steam code so I gave it to my brother.

2. I feel like IGA has treated backers pretty well. Updates are consistent, fan feedback has been acknowledged and used to adjust the game accordingly etc.

3. I don’t understand how Curse of the Moon was rushed specifically “to make a buck.” The only thing that got delayed are the free download codes to backers.

KejomoMay 31, 2018

Quote from: Adrock

Quote from: Kejomo

I don’t know how anyone can defend the way this was handled. If you can’t deliver the product to the people that supported you 3 years ago, you delay the game. I waited that long I can wait 2 more weeks. This is not how you treat people that invested in your game. They’ve had a long time to plan how they were going to launch this game and it seems to me like it was rushed out the door to make a buck. I don’t know what it takes to generate codes for the switch and I really don’t care. That was their job and they botched it.

While Koji Igarashi and his team absolutely botched the release of the side-game (they really should have collected the necessary codes from Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo before announcing a date), I’m not really bothered by it. This is easy to defend due to the nature of crowdfunding as lolmonade alluded to. IGA’s team has largely handled the campaign well by releasing regular updates and alerting backers of any issues.

Curse of the Moon was one of the last stretch goals for Ritual of the Night which itself had an estimated delivery of March 2017. Not sure anyone believe that date was happening, but it’s relevant to bring up here. A two to three week delay of a stretch goal for consoles may not be ideal. It’s also not moving the needle too much for people who have been following the project.

I can’t get behind a lot of what you’re saying.

1. You say you can wait two weeks, but you’re complaining about waiting two weeks because you refuse to play the temporary Steam code they didn’t have to give anyone. I use a Mac; I can’t even use the Steam code so I gave it to my brother.

2. I feel like IGA has treated backers pretty well. Updates are consistent, fan feedback has been acknowledged and used to adjust the game accordingly etc.

3. I don’t understand how Curse of the Moon was rushed specifically “to make a buck.” The only thing that got delayed are the free download codes to backers.

1.  If backers have to wait, everyone should wait
2. I am not blaming the creator. I am blaming Fangamer and Inti Creates.
3.  They were more concerned with selling the game to non backers then taking care of the people that already paid.

I don’t understand the people that come to the defense of companies that treat their investors like this and we are just supposed to deal with it without saying anything. Why are you so willing to put me down for voicing a legitimate complaint about something just because you don’t feel the same. I’m happy your happy.

AdrockMay 31, 2018

1. No offense, but that’s kind of elitist. It also doesn’t change the fact that you previously stated, “They did give us temporary steam codes (whatever that means). I just refuse to play games on a PC,” suggesting that you have the means to play the game right now and just aren’t out of choice. That’s certainly your prerogative. You, like me, are still getting Curse of the Moon for free on the platform of our choice.

2. This is still Igarashi’s Kickstarter. Regardless, it doesn’t matter who you’re blaming. You’re thumping the victim card for like a two week delay. Not saying you can’t, just that I can’t get behind it as someone in the same boat as you.

3. Those aren’t the same thing. Not being able to get codes from the console manufacturers in a timelier manner has nothing to do with selling the game to non-backers. Igarashi and co messed up, but that ultimately changes nothing. All backers will still get their free gift.

Not agreeing with you is also not the same as putting you down. I thought I was being pretty respectful. You wondered how people can defend the way this was handled, and I answered.

KejomoMay 31, 2018

If you back a Kickstarter,  the only expectation anyone should have is that if something is produced, backers should have it when it is available to the general public. I’m sorry if that sounds elitist but that’s the way it is. I do not have access to Steam and have no desire to do so. I may be wrong here since I know nothing about steam, but I don’t think there is a way to transfer a save file from steam to switch. Why would I want to put 5-10 hours into a game only to have my save file wiped out on June 8 and have to start over?

broodwarsMay 31, 2018

I picked up the Vita version of this game while I wait for my PS4 backer copy. Eh...it's OK, I guess. I find the last level fairly B.S. in design (with the environmental effect that chases you for a one-hit kill).

I just don't understand why it seems Japanese Kickstarted projects specifically always have problems getting backer codes on time. This happened to me with Mighty No. 9, too. They know ahead of time when they're releasing, how many backers they have, and what platforms they chose. This shouldn't continually be a problem.

I just hope that they get this nonsense sorted out ahead of time with the real game's release in 2019.

AdrockJune 01, 2018

I got my Switch backer code. Apparently, IGA’s team is sending them to Fangamer to distribute as soon as they get them from console manufacturers so check your Backer Survey. They’re being sent out by region. I’m in the northeast United States so your mileage may vary.

pokepal148Spencer Johnson, Contributing WriterJune 01, 2018

But that's a whole two days late. Talk about not caring about their backers. :smug:

broodwarsJune 03, 2018

As of this writing, I haven't received my code.

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Game Profile

Genre Action
Developer Inti Creates
Players1

Worldwide Releases

na: Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon
Release May 24, 2018
PublisherInti Creates
RatingEveryone 10+
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