Previously on The Gaming Ground, Sharn wrote a review on “Cursed Castilla Ex” for the PS4, and recently, Locomalito gave us “Cursed Castilla Ex” for the Nintendo 3DS. Well, I thought that I was up for the challenge. However, like Sharn before me, I could not beat “Cursed Castilla Ex” even though I made it far into the game (well into Chapter VII). So, yeah, I think it’s safe to say that this game is pretty darn hard.
“Cursed Castilla Ex” pays homage to “Ghost ‘n Goblins” (and a bit of “Castlevania”). You see, you play as a rather similar character to Sir Arthur. However, this time his name is Don Ramiro. Nevertheless, just like in the case with you “Ghost ‘n Goblins”. You have to run, dodge, and fire weapons. Only this time, the game takes place in the land of Tolomera del Rey, taking inspiration from Spanish lore.
As mentioned before the game is hard: three-hit points, three lives (unless you get Crowns for 1UPs), and you lose your weapon and secondary item on death. That’s just the half of it though, beacuse if you die with a secondary item (like a key or an objected needed for a feat) and move to the next screen you can’t go back. It’s gone. Fortunately, there are unlimited continues for the normal game mode with chapter checkpoints, though after using four credits the game foreshadows what would happen if you continue (which I have well exceeded).
As for the presentation, “Cursed Castilla Ex” looks, sounds, and feels like a spiritual arcade successor to “Ghost ‘n Goblins”. The pixel graphics are detailed with each stage with dark enough atmosphere to indicate there are demons to slay. Don Ramiro sports the looks of a European knight in chain mail armor and appears similar to Arthur (as Sharn mentioned in his PS4 review).
As for enemies, the monsters are based on Medieval depictions, which you can view in the Codex after completing a chapter with them. Furthermore, the top screen has three different settings, including two that have cabinet side panels. It looks weird in wide-screen, though, as if it needs to be played in a 4:3 aspect ratio like a Neo Geo game. The music and sound effects definitely have an arcade vibe to them, and some tracks sound as though they have a bit of a Spanish tune to them.
Controls are simple: Use the D-Pad or Circle Pad to move and aim in four directions (down can only be performed by being airborne) accompanied with a jump and fire button (with swap settings). The only problem with the controls is that Don Ramiro feels a bit stiff to move, though this is understandable since he’s a knight donned in armor and shield (though it takes another shield to deflect an attack). Maneuverability wouldn’t be so bad if platforming wasn’t concerned, but since “Curse Castilla Ex” has a bit of “Castlevania” in it we have platforming to traverse.
Anyways, I’m sure everyone gets it: “Cursed Castilla Ex” is a hard game. So it’s a title that needs a lot of patience, practice, and just the right skill and strategy to beat. So what does this port for the Nintendo 3DS offer that the PS4 or others don’t? That’s where the new, exclusive feature comes in: Coin-op mode. So, what is the Coin-op mode then? Well, it’s a mode that lets you play around with your 3DS as an arcade machine. With the top screen as the cabinet monitor, the touch screen acts as the rest of the machine.
In the matter of fact, you can use the coins on the top panel to activate Arcade Mode and set how many continues you want to play. There’s also a service panel that houses the motherboard with dip switches that functions as the game’s options and a reset button to go back to the save slot menu. And to add to the authentic functionality of this virtual cabinet you can use the stick and buttons on the panel to play “Cursed Castilla Ex” (for masochists). They went out with this Coin-op mode, which is ridiculously awesome.
So all in all, “Cursed Castilla Ex” is a great arcade action platformer that’s worthy of your time and money (you will be aware of the “time” part if you pick up this title). Keep this in mind though, “Cursed Castilla Ex” is a rather hard game. So don’t expect it to be a “walk in the park” kind of gameplay experience, because if you do, then you’re going to be disappointed with no doubt.
+ Nostalgic arcade presentation
+ You can turn your Nintendo 3DS in a mini virtual “Cursed Castilla Ex” arcade machine with Coin-op mode
+ The design and gameplay has been unspired by “Ghost ‘n Goblins”
– The game becomes VERY DIFFICULT to beat as you progress
– Stiff controls with Don Ramiro can have some problems with platforming
Replay value: 3.5/5
“Cursed Castilla Ex” for the Nintendo 3DS is a fun throwback to the arcade game, but it will hand your ass to you. Don’t be discouraged, though. Despite being a difficult game that requires you to heighten your skills it’ll beckon you to keep playing. Plus with a $12 price on the Nintendo eShop it’s the cheapest arcade machine you can buy, long as you can operate the controls on the touch screen.
Title: Cursed Castilla Ex
Developer: Locomalito/Abylight Stuios
Format: Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Arcade Action
Resolution: 800 x 240/320 x 240
Release date: 2017-07-13
Difficulty: Normal to HARD
Spent time: 9+ hours
Average grade internationally: 90.00% Gamerankings.com
PEGI/ESRB age rating: PEGI7+/Everyone
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
More by David Lucas:
Save 3$ with our Play-Asia coupon code "thegg"