ArtPlay and 505 Games‘ side-scrolling action-platformer-RPG Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a return to true 16-bit arcade form.
The game might not have Castlevania in its title, but this Metroidvania mix is still a spiritual successor developed by Koji Igarashi, the original creator of the series. The story doesn’t revolve around Simon Belmont for obvious copyright reasons, but involves orphan Miriam who is cursed by an alchemist, turning her body slowly into a crystal. In order to save herself (and also humanity), she has to enter a castle that was summoned by her old friend Gebel whose body and mind have already become crystalized. Lots of demon slaying ensues.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night doesn’t only present itself as a pretty pixel art title that harks back to Symphony of the Night, but it offers the same kind of fluid combat with the iconic whip, handguns and magical weapons that can all be upgraded and leveled up. Three playable characters and NPCs that feature full voice acting and many story cut-scenes show that it’s not simply a hack-and-slash title. Offering 2.5D graphics, it also looks quite stunning in motion with some lovely background and character sprite art.
The game is out now on various platforms, including PC, PS4, Xbox One, as well as the Nintendo Switch. This isn’t the end, but just the beginning, though: 13 free DLCs via future content updates have been announced, including a Speed Run Mode, Boss Rush Mode and the Pure Miriam outfit already available at launch. So this should be a game that keeps on giving to the fans who have been waiting to play another true Metroidvania title for a very long time.
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