Action titles involving the undead, usually a vampire of some sort, are a dime a dozen. Ones that are actually good are rarer though. Castle of Shadows by Playphone Inc, runs the gamut of mediocrity for storys- literally one sentence that mentions something about devils building a castle to rule over mankind after a “war”. That is it. Can’t really fault it for having a crappy story that is quickly forgotten once the game starts but there are attempts at fleshing it out in the game through story scenes. The main character is out to save his love, who was kidnapped and taken to another dimension by the devils.
The number of enemies on screen is sometimes staggering- I mean, there are many many deviants waiting to destroy you on the screen at once. Gold is hard to see sometimes in the heat of battle which can be annoying but is not a deal breaker. Bosses do their best to decimate you as quickly as possible (always a plus for bosses in games- who wants to fight a pushover?).
Similarities will, obviously, be drawn between CoS and the Game Boy Advance versions of Castlevania, this isn’t such a bad thing (though CoS is much more linear than those Castlevania titles). There is a mini map to consult on your way through Castle of Shadows but I have yet to encounter a fork in the road, not even a upper and lower section like that in say, Super Mario Brothers. Just a straight path that raises and drops every few screens.
Taking a cue from fighting games, there is a combo counter (with hit damage percentages) available so that players can use to measure their successfulness with combos. This brings me to the weapons available for destroying the creatures- Cloud, from Final Fantasy 7, would be envious of some of the swords that are available, not to mention the other weapons and magic attacks.
The translation is full of old school, 16-Bit “Engrish“, just check the pic below. This doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the game, in fact, it can, for some, enhance the enjoyment level. This is most apparent in the level upgrade notices that pop up, never really stopping me from being able to understand what is going on, just sometimes hard to read.
Castle of Shadows runs quite well on the S601, even though it is listed as not being compatible by Google Play (leaving fans to find it elsewhere). By default, the jump button is mapped to the right shoulder button (I suggest using Game Keyboard to remap jump to a more comfortable button). Multi scrolling backgrounds are smooth, enemies die in painful ways and the bosses have that “Castlevania” feel without being complete ripoffs.
If you are a gamer that has to get games ONLY from Google Play, check out Avenger, it is listed as compatible with the S601 and is basically CoS under a different name. Castle of Shadows is freeware so bear that in mind if you have an S601 and wish to play it.
Castle of Shadows by Playphone Inc.
Rated: Low Maturity
Available on Google Play