My Game of the Month for August 2016 is one that is incredibly similar to a certain Konami franchise. It’s a 2D action game brought to us by Nitrolic Games, featuring a protagonist going to a castle to defeat a dark lord. Sounds very familiar, huh?
Citadale, or to give it its full title, Citadale: Gate of Souls follows Sonja Dorleac as she infiltrates a dark fortress and fights through hordes of the undead.
Of course, you can probably guess that this game feels very much like Castlevania. The manner in which Sonja attacks with her Shadow Blade, the sub weapons, the enemy types – all very familiar stuff for Castlevania fans.
This game takes the more classic approach towards progression – stages are linear, with several obstacles and enemies to overcome before culminating in a boss battle. Fairly simple stuff there, but it doesn’t need to be complicated.
There are torches scattered throughout the levels, which you can naturally smash to find Soul Gems, coins, meat and subweapons. Of course, meat restores health, and coins must serve some purpose, but I haven’t found out just what that it is yet.
Now, Soul Gems a magical girl’s- no wait, not those types of Soul Gems. Rather, Soul Gems basically function as Citadale‘s version of Castlevania‘s hearts – ammo for subweapons.
There are a couple of familiar subweapons available – Holy Water, and a Throwing Axe. Both these items work the same way they do in Castlevania – Holy Water burns in front of you for moment, whilst the Throwing Axe is thrown through the air in an upwards arc.
You can also find a Throwing Star, which you throw in a straight line and can hit multiple enemies – it doesn’t stop until it goes off the screen. Finally, something that’s not really a weapon: a Potion. As long as you have enough Soul Gems, you can drink the Potion to restore a bit of health.
Don’t get too attached to any subweapon you pick up though – from what I’ve seen, you lose any subweapons when you start a new level.
Citadale does have a map – if you hit the -/Select button, you can bring it up. Continuing to press it cycles through having the map appear on the TV screen, the GamePad or not at all.
I don’t think there’s branching paths to worry about, so the map does seem a bit superfluous. At least Nitrolic Games did something with the GamePad, I suppose…?
Though saying that, enemies are active across the whole map rather than the screen you’re on. If you don’t look at the map, you may end up walking directly into an enemy on the next screen that you probably couldn’t have predicted, like I have done on at least one occasion.
Whilst we’re on the subject of flaws, I’ve also discovered at least one point where you can die simply by jumping too high. It’s easy enough to avoid doing that once you know where it is, but it’s very easy to get caught out first time around.
Some screen transitions can only be done whilst jumping, but there’s nothing to indicate that if you aren’t looking at the map. This has led to me dying a couple of times where I thought there was a screen transition, but there was nothing but a falling platform that has sent me plummeting to my doom…
When it comes down to it, though, a few of the flaws you can overcome simply by learning the game as you play it – sure, you may get caught out a couple of times at first, but once you know where everything is it isn’t too hard to avoid.
The first couple of stages ease you into the game, but things start picking up after that point. It’s definitely not as challenging as the original NES Castlevania, simply because you don’t get sent flying backwards when an enemy hits you.
Citadale is a fairly short game, reflected in the fact that it costs less than a fiver from the eShop – in fact, it will set you back £4.09 exactly.
Though it does have its flaws, Citadale is still an enjoyable title. Definitely worth looking into if you’re a fan of ‘Classicvania’, though I will also say Super Castlevania IV is available on the Wii U Virtual Console…
There are worse investments on the Wii U eShop, and this is probably the closest we’ll be getting to a new Castlevania game until Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
Not the greatest game in the world, but one that’s fairly decent – that pretty much sums up my feelings on Citadale.