Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - NES Castlevania-style, bonus game from CV dev IGA!

RanceJustice

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 9, 2003
Messages
5,868
Some of you may be aware of the monumental success of Koji Igarashi's Kickstarter to create "Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night". . IGA, as he is known, was the driving force behind Castlevania, especially "Symphony of the Night" on PlayStation which took the series in the new direction and spawned the "Metroidvania" identifier for a free-roaming, power-upgrading, 2D title. Bloodstained:Ritual of the Night was an attempt to make a spiritual successor to the series given Konami allowing it to wither on the vine.. The KS broke through tons of stretch goals and became a crowdfunding success story, with the game and its features expanding in monumental ways.

While we wait on Ritual of the Night to arrive, one of the most interesting stretch goals met was the promise of a "bonus, companion" game, released prior to it and set within the same universe. Well just a few days ago this promise was fulfilled with the release of "Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon"!


While Ritual of the Night is poised to be an expansive "metroidvania" with a detailed artistic style, Curse of the Moon goes another direction, taking inspiration from the past using 8-bit, NES style pixel graphics. This pairs very well with its gameplay which also differs, hearkening back greatly to the earliest Castlevanias (specifically Castlevania III ) with level-based action platforming. All of this meshes quite well with the game being a prequel to "Ritual", in addition.

While many thought that the Kickstarter stretch goal's "mini-game" would be just that, a minor diversion at best, many backers were pleasantly surprised that Curse of the Moon stands alone as an excellent retro platformer! It has much greater length and depth than it originally appears, with 8 full levels with multiple paths through them, hidden collectibles and more! 2 difficulty settings are presented from the beginning which is a nice feature for those who didn't grow up with "Nintendo hard" games. The "Casual mode" option for instance not only grants unlimited lives and greater HP pickups, but also eliminates the "knockback/hit-stun" effect which is a particularly perilous hallmark of games from that era; Veteran mode retains all of these elements and can be tough but does not feel unfair (ie there is no Battletoads-like racing sections or I Wanna Be The Guy level platforming requirements) I admit however, that I played titles like Castlevania III and Ninja Gaiden in my youth so my perspective may be different from someone not familiar with these dynamics, but I do feel the game - in one of its modes - will be enjoyable to most who enjoy retro platformers, not only reserved for those hardest of the hardcore.

No matter which difficulty option you pick, the game offers even more choices through play. Which routes you take through various levels (with the shortest and/or best route to the goodies often helpfully pointed out by a gesturing skeleton; a nice feature) will depend on which characters and abilities you have at the moment. When you acquire certain abilities and/or partner up with various characters, you can switch between them at will which creates a mechanic for managing HP as should any one of them (and they all have different HP levels) drop to zero they die, causing you to go to the nearest restart point in the level and continue on without them; if all characters die you lose an actual "life", respawning with them all active again. Choices play a big part in the story as well, which don't just unlock multiple endings, but there are actually 2.5 unlockable "New Game Plus" style modes that are unlocked by making certain choices. Its worth mentioning that the two "main" new game plus modes offer some new features as well, such as increased difficulty bosses and in at least one case I've found a completely different level/layout! The "0.5" I mentioned is a Boss Rush mode of sorts, which is similarly unlocked if the right conditions are met. So far players have found around 6 endings and at least as I write this the "True End" has not yet been confirmed.

Ultimately, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is an excellent retro action platformer, easily taking on the Castlevania mantle. It also portends great expectations for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night if they treated a "bonus" retro prequel with such care and attention. Those who backed Ritual of the Night will be granted Curse of the Moon for free, but it is available a la carte for only $10 - a price it more than warrants in terms of gameplay value. This also shows excellent judgement on the Bloodstained team's perspective, as they could have jacked up the price attempting to back on its Castlevania heritage, but they showed admirable restraint giving players a solid game that stands on its own for an inexpensive price. It is available first of all on Steam, but it will be coming to GOG and consoles soon. As Ritual of the Night promises Linux and OSX support, many users are wondering if Curse of the Moon will also come to other OSes on PC, but there's no answer as of yet; I personally will be waiting until it arrives on the rest of the announced platforms (ie non-Steam via PC, Switch and other consoles etc)., but remain hopeful.

Anyone else playing Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon and/or have questions? :)
 

Comixbooks

Ignore Me
Joined
Jun 7, 2008
Messages
15,137
I seen it but no interest Ritual of the night looks good but sure is taking enough time to perfect it. Usually with modern recreations they go overboard and its no longer a innocent game.
 

Armenius

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 28, 2014
Messages
22,560
Been patiently waiting for Ritual, but I picked this up since it was only $10 and I love Igavanias. I've gotten re-addicted to Dark Souls with the Remaster released, though, so I haven't gotten around to playing it yet as they both came out the same day. 60 hours over the past 4 days in Dark Souls so far, or 15 hours a day :eek:.
 

Comixbooks

Ignore Me
Joined
Jun 7, 2008
Messages
15,137
Been patiently waiting for Ritual, but I picked this up since it was only $10 and I love Igavanias. I've gotten re-addicted to Dark Souls with the Remaster released, though, so I haven't gotten around to playing it yet as they both came out the same day. 60 hours over the past 4 days in Dark Souls so far, or 15 hours a day :eek:.
Once I finish a game I'm done with it I save my eyes for the next eye blasting treasure.
 

J3RK

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 25, 2004
Messages
9,492
This game is great! A little short. I think it took me a around 2-3 hours to get to the last level (ran out of time, so didn't finish that one yet). Definitely worth it though. I love the variety the different characters offer. Can't wait for the "real" game. Will definitely be picking that up as well. I'd recommend this to anyone into Castlevania at all.
 

RanceJustice

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 9, 2003
Messages
5,868
This game is great! A little short. I think it took me a around 2-3 hours to get to the last level (ran out of time, so didn't finish that one yet). Definitely worth it though. I love the variety the different characters offer. Can't wait for the "real" game. Will definitely be picking that up as well. I'd recommend this to anyone into Castlevania at all.
Glad you're enjoying it! Though there's a lot more to go, if this is your first time through! ;)

Assuming you're on the last level of normal mode after recruiting 3 of your allies, you're set to unlock one of the "new game plus" modes. There are also other mode unlocks and within various modes "sub" endings so to speak (that don't unlock a new mode, but offer a different ending etc) Enjoy!
 
  • Like
Reactions: J3RK
like this

J3RK

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 25, 2004
Messages
9,492
Glad you're enjoying it! Though there's a lot more to go, if this is your first time through! ;)

Assuming you're on the last level of normal mode after recruiting 3 of your allies, you're set to unlock one of the "new game plus" modes. There are also other mode unlocks and within various modes "sub" endings so to speak (that don't unlock a new mode, but offer a different ending etc) Enjoy!
Nice!

Yeah, I noticed there are a lot of basic alternate paths as well, kind of like Chi no Rondo for the PC Engine. They aren't quite as extensive (so far) but it's cool that they're there. I'm glad to hear that there is more to do. I actually enjoyed the levels enough that I'd replay them in an NG+ sort of way. Also, I'm not 100% sure I'm actually at the very last level, I just made it to the top floor of the Castle, so there could even be more to this play-through as well for all I know. (you never know when the map might pull a "Dr. Wiley" on you. :D )
 

Domingo

Fully [H]
Joined
Jul 30, 2004
Messages
18,001
Not sure I'm into the intentionally retro graphics. I don't need a game to look like the "good 'ol days" as long as it plays well. This is literally a step backward from all of the other games.
 

Comixbooks

Ignore Me
Joined
Jun 7, 2008
Messages
15,137
Yeah the stuff done back in the 80s 90s had real intent behind it. LIke good girl artist Adam Hughes said drawing something for a good reason is the best thing you can do to make it believable.
 

J3RK

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 25, 2004
Messages
9,492
Not sure I'm into the intentionally retro graphics. I don't need a game to look like the "good 'ol days" as long as it plays well. This is literally a step backward from all of the other games.
It's stylistic. Pixel art is its own art form. You don't have to like it, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Plus, aside from an overall retro-aesthetic, these newer games (including the last one in this series) do a lot to modernize. More layers of scrolling. Bosses so big they could have never been done on original hardware. More animation frames. It goes on.

It's especially cool in the game The Messenger. They start with an 8-bit looking NES style with A03 style music, and when you get part way into the game, it switches to a 16-bit era look as well as the music changing to YM2612 FM style music.

There are a ton of REALLY good games with this style of art.

IMO it should be appreciated for what it is, the style it is, and not just looked at as "retro". It's not easy to make great pixel art. In fact, I'd say it's harder than drawing with modern graphic tools like airbrushes etc. I have a great deal of respect for good pixel artists.
 

Armenius

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 28, 2014
Messages
22,560
Release date trailer. The sequel is set to release next Friday, July 10.

 
Top