Citadale – Not Another Castlevania

I faced a moral dilemma when buying this game on my Wii U. It’s a Castlevania clone that directly re-uses assets from Circle of the Moon and the NES games, with the most simple graphics possible. Alright, sounds cheap and dirty, but those games are a lot of fun. Even if this game is a bit of fun, it’ll be a good night. If I didn’t buy it I’d be thinking about it all night, so here we are. Making dreams reality.

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As soon as I started playing I was flooded with regret. The game looks worse than a NES game, with gigantic pixels and rough edges threatening to break the screen. This is not the Gate of Souls I read about. Much like my expectations, as soon as you start moving the game completely falls apart. The framerate must be around 15 FPS, it feels absolutely awful. I have not played a game that runs this poorly in a long time. Enemies flash in and out of existence, and the framerate dips even FURTHER when there’s action on screen. The sound is the worst part, not even reaching the same amount of channels as the NES. It sounds more like a DOS game outputting beeps on an old computer’s internal speaker. I don’t know how you could possibly make sound this bad with how many easy programs we have today. It directly rips sound effects from Castlevania 1 and Simon’s Quest, and somehow makes them sound worse, like they are captured via some obscure second-hand method. Now I understand why there is no video for this game on the eShop page.

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Now we’re really having fun, partying into a single digit framerate. That bone coming for my head will probably hit me in a few seconds, if it doesn’t disappear. There are just soooo many problems here. You can get hit by enemies when the game is paused. You can become invisible after taking damage by being caught in the “flashing” animation, which is only fixed by killing yourself. The game will miss inputs on certain frames. Enemies can also hit you before they spawn, as if there are “empty” frames to their animations that have hitboxes. Every time you die and the game restarts from the last checkpoint, it zooms in on a whole bunch of random pixels with a weird glitch that feels like the game is crashing. I can’t tell if that was intentional or not, but I never got used to it.

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Indeed. To take advice directly from the game, I’m taking a stand against this shit.

I’m going to call out Liam Doolan from Nintendo-Life here, for being a liar and a shill. This game only has one review on the internet, and it’s his 6 out of 10. He spends half the review reciting the game’s shitty story from the 20 second intro, calls the graphics immersive, then says there are “no problems” with the game and that it is “worth consideration”.

The simple pixel graphics are still immersive and draw the player into the universe.

citadaleimmersionIncredible. Literally any game ever made fits this criteria. The problems he does bring up with level design and enemy clutter also happen in the first 3 screens of the game, within the first minute. I don’t think he actually played through the game despite getting a free copy.

Review copy provided by Nitrolic Games

Yup. He also praises the fact that it has GamePad controls and a map, yet it crashes half the time you access it. Seriously, press the minus button a few times and it’ll crash. It’s one of the most exciting mechanics in the game, how far can you get? Another thing that fascinates me about that review is that every screenshot is taken at a rare moment when nothing is flickering. It is incredibly difficult to pause this game for a screenshot with how inconsistent the graphics are. Enjoy this rare beauty.

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This is a boss fight. The dude looks pretty menacing, but he bounces around the screen in a predictable pattern you might recognise from a Windows screen saver. He’ll occasionally throw a skeleton down that will lag the entire screen. You can just leave it there because the game can’t handle two skeletons at once in this battle, or you can just kill it because it’s so easy. After you beat it, the screen will flash black for no reason, load for a bit, then come back to this exact screen to start the next level. Other boss fights include a basic enemy from Circle of the Moon with more health, a vine that you have to slowly stab for a minute, and surprise, Dracula.

I got so bored with this game I ran off the edge of a cliff to see what would happen. Maybe a secret exit to a different game?

citadumbNope. Oh. This is what both screens look like now, except I’m still alive because I can hear my weapon sound effect when I press it. I run left and jump wildly, hoping to die. No luck. I do the same going in the right direction, still nothing. My only option now is to quit and play through the shitty game again. Nope, I’m done.

This review is harsh, but these were my honest thoughts while playing it. I was mildly amused by some of the combat but it’s a bad game. A good review of this piece of shit does not help anybody. It misleads gamers, and inflates the developer leading to even more personal criticism like this very review. Despite stealing assets and ideas, the dev has good intentions by asking for people to post bugs on the Miiverse. It’s just a lost cause unfortunately, and I don’t understand the point of this game other than “make money from Castlevania”.  The only reason I bought this was lack of information. Citadale: Gate of Souls is a crap game with crap coverage in a dire market, and it sums up everything wrong with gaming right now. Great job everybody.

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3 thoughts on “Citadale – Not Another Castlevania”

  1. I’ve never even seen this game before. And I thought Chasing Dead was bad.

    It really does shock me how easy it is for indie devs to get away with ripping off classic titles like Castlevania. I personally see it everywhere, even in really popular indie games.

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    1. After playing a lot of Castlevania I did recognise some boss fights from Shovel Knight. Not so much in the art design, but battle mechanics and the structure of the fights. I still think Shovel Knight is amazing however, especially with all the campaigns having their own original movement.

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  2. The title screen from the get-go should’ve been a massive warning sign at this game’s quality. At a glance it screams “rip-off”, but looking more closely at it, it looks incredible off by how the logo is made. Like somebody learned how to MS Paint sprites.

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