Last year I talked about Bloodstained Curse of the Moon. As mentioned that came about through a stretch goal of this game’s kickstarter. In the time since this game was announced some things had happened with kickstarter games. Some like Mighty Number 9 had come out and ended up being a massive disappointment while others like Shenmue 3 had got bought out by the Epic Store to be made exclusives to the outrage and condemnation of the very people that funded the game (made worse that Shenmue’s developers refused to offer people refunds despite their pitch stating it wasn’t to have been an exclusive and making false claims during the pitch is considered a breach of the terms of service). So many people gritted their teeth hoping Bloodstained would not fall like these past examples and instead be held up with Shovel Knight as a triumph of a crowd funded project. I am happy to say it’s the latter.
Sorry about the serious opening normally I tend to be more lighthearted but as you can see there were incidents with other crowd funded games in the last year or two. I also admit a little bias on the concern since I was one of the people that crowd funded this game. Anyway, rather appropriate I talked about Castlevania not that long ago as this game is a spiritual successor, in fact many people funded the game because they wanted a new Castlevania game while Konami refused to have one made claiming people didn’t want it (5 million dollars of crowd funding money disagrees).
While the 8 bit spinoff game Curse of the Moon played more like the original Castlevania games with its level based progression Ritual of the Night plays in the now legendary Metroidvania style. This means that you have a large map which you explore through the game, gaining new powers or abilities lets you explore parts of areas you had previously been to but were inaccessible as well as find numerous hidden power ups (for another example of Metroidvania look to my review of Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion, shouldn’t be a surprise given the name of the genera is called METROIDvania)
The plot is given to you at the start with a Star Wars like recap. At the dawn of the industrial revolution alchemists worried about loss of influence performed a rite by which young children infused with crystals were used as a catalyst to summon demons which worked so well it unleashed them on the world. Miriam one of the orphans who wasn’t scarified since she fell into a deep sleep has awoken to find her friend Gebel has unleashed more demons and now pledges to stop him.
Miriam can be equipped with multiple different weapons depending on what you want to use to kill things with the first weapons being short swords and boots (in case you want to be a Kung Fu fighting demon killing girl) But you can later get a lot more, like great swords maces and whips (in case you felt it wasn’t Castlevania enough). As you kill enemies there is a chance a crystal shard may erupt from them giving Miriam a new power. These fit into several categories such as aimed, passive and familiar.
After an opening experience on a boat you will soon reach a town and later a castle. The town is just for shops and quests while the castle is where the exploring happens and while some may complain it’s too much like Castlevania, just remember this game got made because Konami refused to make a new Castlevania.
The game is available on all platforms though I was playing on the Switch which according to other people is apparently the weakest version but the developers have said they are working fully to make sure it is brought up to the grade of the other version. I however didn’t see as much of the problems as others and still very much enjoyed the game. In fact I went to the full length with this game. When I reached the end I stopped progressing and instead decided to fully upgrade my gear, which also meant beating all the optional bosses including the super boss (who totally isn’t Dracula). This also meant that I discovered that one of the shops in the town was meant to be used to slowly upgrade my gear by turning my gear into better gear with specific enemy dropped materials, which I hadn’t noticed as I was just using the best gear I found from killing enemies.
Anyway I highly recommend this game, if you didn’t kickstart it go and hunt down a copy. It doesn’t matter which platform you play it on really, yes maybe the Switch version has some hiccups right now but those are being worked on and I never felt they were a game breaker. Oh and DLC is coming out with more characters. So those of you needing your Castlevania itch scratched or wanting to try out the more Gothic version of Metroidvania for the first time come on board our ship to the evil castle, oh and remember to get the Lily shard to turn Miriam into a bunny girl, it’s actually really powerful and I mowed down many bosses with it.