There are some gamers out there who have tasked themselves with cataloguing all games of a certain type. They may do it by genre, or by platform or even decade. One subsection that is vast, but I’ve never seen anyone attempt, is Castlevania clones. There are so many of these, far more than any other genre. The developers of these games often cite the original series as their inspiration for becoming a developer, and it’s definitely easy to see why. Castlevania is a fantastic game throughout. Challenging, great visuals and brilliant level design. Some are definitely decent games, and some are pretty dreadful affairs, but each try to add something new to the genre. The developer’s own little spark that makes the game what it is.
Simon Belmont would be proud
Sometimes, there are features in a game that go completely unnoticed by most people. I definitely miss a significant amount of cool bits and bobs in various games, but one thing I did notice in Citadale was how it was architected. Completely accidentally, I realised that the whole game was actually running from my internet browser. This is incredibly impressive, as it means the game can be run from almost any device, as long as it had an internet browser installed. What’s doubly impressive, is that the game will run on a Mac just as easily as a Windows machine, with only the one set of code. This means that the game is exactly the same on all devices, which means no crap porting across operating systems.
The best part of the actual game, beyond the technical specifics, is the graphical output. It’s got some wonderful pixel artwork that really showcases the best of what is possible with the medium. Every background is crammed with intrigue and detail, every enemy looks terrifying and deadly. It’s a very popular art style at the moment, and when you see it as beautiful as in Citadale, then you can see why developers are choosing it for their games. With the new screens offering more pixels per inch, artists can really go wild with what they put on the screen for players and it really looks phenomenal in this game.
Not the greatest clone
As it goes, Citadale isn’t going to set the world alight. If someone was cataloguing all of the Castlevania clones that have ever been made, this probably would be in the top 40%. It all works for the most part, although due to it running in-browser, sticky keys kept irritating me by popping up every time I was attacking. Other than that, the game doesn’t really live up too well to being Castlevania-esque. Does it have well designed bosses? Graphically, yes, but they aren’t challenging. Each boss has a single pattern that it follows rigidly. Once you’ve figured it out, you can probably make it through the whole fight without any real trouble.
The Final Word
For £7, I think the game is a bit too expensive. It doesn’t really add anything new to the genre – most of it is incredibly similar to the original, right down to the swing of your main weapon. If you want a less challenging, short version of a lite-Castlevania clone, then you’ll probably be happy with it, but I’d certainly expect more for my money than what was provided. The developer has taken on a lot of constructive criticism and has improved the game between me playing it and this review, so hopefully he will continue improving the title.