Sunday, August 13

Nindie Preview: Lost Castle

In many ways on the surface Lost Castle looks like a relatively simple game, and when playing through it on a given run, it can feel like one too. The classic beat-em-up elements are all there for the most part: Your basic and strong attacks, a special attack on cooldown, and hordes of normal enemies to beat through followed by tougher bosses at the end of each level. What Lost Castle most critically adds to this formula, among other things, is choice and progression over time through the addition of roguelike elements.

Every time you begin a run in Lost Castle you have merely the weapon you've been assigned by the RNG gods. Sometimes it will be a weapon you favor, sometimes it will just be junk. Where you go from there, and what you do with it, will be subject to your skills, your luck, and what you've invested your hard-earned souls on between runs to enhance your situation. Whether you're giving yourself a boost in your overall picture, giving yourself more initial choices of weapons you'll have to start the game, or looking to minimize the negative effects of the bad potions you'll likely pick up there are a number of things you can influence.

A big part of what feels so good in the game and makes it work well is the variety of weapons available and the play styles these enable. Ranged weapons can be effective but take more time, up-close weapons are effective but can make you vulnerable when you miss, and hybrid weapons will sometimes show up that will allow you to shift between these two modes which can be very nice. While they may all look somewhat alike you'll want to pick up every weapon you encounter and check what its strong and special attacks are in particular before passing on them. As you get deeper into the game it is the special attacks that will often determine what you choose to keep as some of them can do substantial damage or be effective at keeping you alive.

The other aspect of the game that can keep things interesting are the items, potions, and passives you'll be able to pick up from chests or killing bosses. There are simple items like food, a wide variety of objects that can enhance you in a variety of ways, and then a number of concoctions you'll be able to drink... but most of the time you won't know what they'll do until you drink them. They could give you healing, poison you, give you temporary powers, or enhance one of your stats for the rest of the game. The problem is, not knowing which it will be, complicates when best to give them a try. You could easily kill yourself deciding to drink one in the heat of battle, and having it cut your health down before you even take a hit. If you're over-cautious and decide to use one out of battle you may find it would have powered you up significantly and that you've wasted it. This element of chance can make for some difficult and risky decisions as you make your way through the 5 worlds but adds to the fun!

The big highlight of the game is certainly its very colorful, and often difficult, bosses. With each receiving their own intro of sorts the bosses have a real sense of personality to them and that makes having to kill them, or at least trying to, all the more fun. It is usually in these battles where you need to have made good choices or gotten lucky with your weapons and their special attacks as those often make all the difference in whether you're successful in these sometimes drawn out fights. In any case Lost Castle is full of both old-school arcade charm and modern challenge so it will be a great addition to the Switch line-up.

This preview is based off of the PC version of the title but should be representative of both the overall look, feel, and gameplay that will be transitioned onto the Switch. There is currently not a known release date for this title.