Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2
Developer: Inti Creates
Publisher: Inti Creates
Genre: Platform, Adventure, Metroidvania
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: 7+
Release Date: 10/07/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
I’m a big fan of platform-adventure games such as Metroid and Castlevania. Their simple yet challenging gameplay has always been a lure to me ever since I first discovered Super Metroid and Super Castlevania IV way back in the 90s on the SNES.
The Bloodstained series is considered to be the spiritual successor to Castlevania with both series being developed by Koji Igarashi. Igarashi conceived the idea of Bloodstained after his departure from Konami in 2018 and was prompted by many requests by fans for him to produce another “Metroidvania” style game.
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 is the third game released in the Bloodstained series so how does it compare to its already well received brethren?
That’s No Moon!
Curse of the Moon 2’s narrative takes place just after the events shown in the first game. We take on the role of Zangetsu, a demon hunting swordsman who is seeking revenge on those who’ve placed a curse upon him. During his quest we can meet fellow explorers who we can team up with to stop the demonic invasion. One such potential team mate is Dominique – the spear welding Exorcist from Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. The others being Robert who is your typical ranger classed character and Hitachi, the Mech piloting Corgi.
The events are told via short animated vignettes that take place in-between levels and some light character interaction and that’s that. What really drives Curse of the Moon 2 is its feeling of nostalgia and its bizarre and often unnecessary spikes in difficulty.
Gameplay is pretty straight forward and fans of any classic Castlevania game will feel right at home. That’s the beauty behind Bloodstained – it takes most (if not all) of its inspiration from Castlevania III, which in itself is a very highly praised title. As I mentioned earlier, Curse of the Moon 2 has a varied cast of characters that all bring their unique gameplay to Zangetsu’s adventure. For example Robert is equipped with a sniper rife which allows him to attack from range, as well as the ability to wall jump and crawl through tight spaces. Meanwhile Dominique is able to use her spear to attack vertically as well as being able to jump higher. It’s through clever use of all the characters that will see you progress from each level to the next.
Whilst your first run through of Curse of the Moon 2 shouldn’t take you anymore than 3-4 hours, it has a massive replayability factor. Each time you complete the game you will unlock a new chapter that mixes things up a bit. One chapter had me traversing through the stages in a different order and then fighting a remix of the original boss characters, whilst the next chapter reduced my team of playable characters. This time around we also have the option to play the game in 2 player couch-co-op. It’s a brilliant addition and is one that many Castlevania fans requested way back. Whilst it’s clear that the levels have been designed for single player, it’s always fun adventuring and tackling the bosses with a friend.
Graphically, Curse of the Moon 2 is superb to look at. Its crisp, sharp 8-bit graphics really look amazing on the Nintendo Switch and it looks amazing when played in both Handheld and Docked modes. The sound design is very reminiscent of the older NES titles and I found myself humming along to them at various points.
Easy Like A Sunday Morning
Accessibility-wise Curse of the Moon 2 is pretty good. From the start we have two distinct modes to choose from: Casual & Veteran, with each offering a different yet unique style. Selecting the Casual option gives us unlimited lives and removes the damage knock-back effect and a much reduced enemy damage output. Overall playing of casual caters for those of us who want an easier time. Meanwhile choosing Veteran gives you an experience close to the older generation of NES and SNES games. This mode sees us with a limited pool of lives as well as moderate enemy damage and fewer checkpoints. Also quite interestingly, Veteran mode also includes a scoring system which requires you to kill the enemies rather than avoid them to increase your score.
The score board is a great way of adding rivalry and challenges to friends, however with no online function possible high scores can’t be shared between consoles. Both modes are equally as good as each other and the inclusion of a casual mode does a great job in modernising the genre. The only issue I had with playing on both Casual and Veteran is that both suffer from a sharp increase in difficulty spikes. While this is not necessarily game breaking it did lead to a few frustrating moments.
In conclusion, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 is a pretty mediocre sequel. This may sound harsh as it does offer a few newer elements over Curse of the Moon, but it is pretty much the same game. Whilst Curse of the Moon gave a fresh feel when compared to Ritual of the Night, Curse of the Moon 2 uses the same tried and tested formula. However, it does a brilliant job of catering that nostalgia feeling and fans of the Bloodstained series will feel really at home in Curse of the Moon 2’s familiar embrace.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 for Nintendo Switch at the following link: Nintendo eShop