Maldita Castilla might not be the most memorable title you’ll hear this year,
You control a fearless knight, venturing forth (well, left to right and if your lucky bottom to top) there’s not much of a story, but you’re quest is to run, throw arrows, axes and all manner of weapons at an ever increasing horde of creatures, ghouls, ghosts n goblins… Wait, did I mention Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins…
While there’s no underpants on show when you get struck by an enemy, there’s so much more about Maldita Castilla that feels familiar, down to the grainy art style, the intentional ‘scruffy’ looking visuals and the 4:3 screen ratio.
The homage to one of the most well know retro games continues through the knight in armour main character, bats, zombies and ghouls randomly appearing around you and the variety of weapons you can fire ranging from direct knife projectiles down to the more varied arc trajectory of the axe.
Locations are equally similar ranging from derelict villages and graveyards to dungeon like surroundings, the level construction is also as you’d expect with various platforms which will often provide an alternate path from A to B and require some precise jumps to reach a chest situated further down the path.
Maldita Castilla constantly tips it’s hat to the 30 year old classic, and while Ghosts n goblins has had it’s fair share of likenesses over the years, it’s fair to say that no many have recreated the experience quite like Maldita Castilla does.
While visually everything feels like a giant nod of the hat to GnG, the most impressive aspect of all has to be the gameplay, continuing the classic retro style of trial and error, you’ll be retreading your footsteps with equal amounts of frustration and reward, Castilla isn’t incredibly tough, but there’s plenty of occasions where you will need to retry a section and it’s that old fashioned trial and error that will get you past, far more than first time luck.
Maldita Castilla sadly won’t appeal to everyone, and that’s not through how good the game is, but more down to how it’s presented.
Carrying the old fashioned visuals, and even down to the 4:3 ratio, it’s all presented as an old game, a game that might have looked and felt good 30 years ago, but now it just feels a little lazy, with the skills on offer in the video games industry, I’m sure they could have come up with some hi definition visuals, not to replace the retro style, but maybe as an alternate choice, or even better a in game portal that then throws you forward 30 years (you heard it hear first, and why on earth this hasn’t been done a thousand times already I’ll never know.
With plenty of reference to some of Capcom’s fantastic early platform work, Maldita Castilla keeps on giving to the retro fanatics, there’s more than enough to scratch that nostalgic itch, but sadly just not enough new to really make the game appealing to anyone outside of their 30’s.