Review – Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon

The wait for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is almost over. We’re all aware the game is set to be released sometime this year, and we couldn’t be happier. Thanks to the immense amount of money Kickstarter backers have provided to the company, Koji Igarashi’s team has also decided to release a little appetizer before the main course, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon. If Ritual of the Night is supposed to be a new Symphony of the Night, Curse of the Moon is a new NES Castlevania, and it’s easily as good as those games.


Purple vampire hunter versus turtle demon hybrid.

As previously mentioned, Curse of the Moon is supposed to look, sound, play and feel like a reimagining of the Castlevania games for the NES. Levels are linear, enemies are abundant, candles and torches provide you with ammo for you secondary weapon, bosses are challenging… well, you know the drill. It’s not exactly new, but it does it well. The actual innovation this time around relies on the multiple characters you can use at any time.

You start off as some sort of hybrid between a samurai and a Belmont, but you’ll quickly unlock new characters with every boss you defeat. Your next character is what I can only describe as Sonia Belmont from Castlevania Legends, followed by an alchemist, and so on. Each character has specific special weapons and moves, as well as a separate health bar each, therefore you can swap between them at any given time in order to save your health for a difficult battle or segment. Despite the fact you basically get a new entire health bar at the beginning of each new level, it doesn’t mean the game gets easier as a result. In fact, Curse of the Moon is never easy, just like its sources of inspiration. Even its “casual” mode is harder than most normal difficulties out there. I wouldn’t want it any other way.


Welcome back, diagonal whips.

Visually speaking, the game looks great. It pretty much looks and feels like a slightly faster version of Castlevania for the NES, with the addition of more parallax scrolling (we’re in 2018 afterall). It also sounds just like a game from that era, with some really good monaural tunes. The game also features good controls, even though it’s meant to play like a game from the NES era. Unlike the games featured in the Mega Man Legacy Collection, Curse of the Moon is a brand new 2018 title with revamped physics and better input response times. Some elements from slightly more recent titles, such as the diagonal whip attack from Super Castlevania IV for the SNES, are also present.

It doesn’t mean the controls are perfect: if there’s one thing that hasn’t been fixed, it’s the fact the jumping mechanics are still slightly wonky. There are times in which you’ll jump without moving forward, even though you were walking right at the same time, for instance.


Choo Choo!

A fantastic little appetizer to keep us busy until the release of the main course, Curse of the Moon is maybe even better than its dated sources of inspiration. It’s a short but very replayable game, a challenging but fair experience that actually allows you to learn with your mistakes, and one of the best retro platformers in recent memory.

Even if Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night turns out to become a disappointment (which I doubt), I’m glad that at the very least, I’ll have Curse of the Moon to satiate my Castlevania needs whenever I want to.

Graphics: 8.0

Excellent 8-bit visuals. Looks just like an NES game with some proper improvements such as no flickering and extensive usage of parallax scrolling.

Gameplay: 7.5

Plays just like Castlevania on the NES, with some much-needed additions such as multiple characters and revamped physics. Jumping mechanics are still awkward.

Sound: 8.5

A great overall soundtrack comprised of some instantly memorable tunes.

Fun Factor: 8.0

Just as fun as the original Castlevania games. It might be short but it’s extremely replayable.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Reviewed on Switch.
Also available on: PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, PC, 3DS