Developer: Epic Llama/Buka Development
Publisher: Buka Entertainment
Genre: Point & Click, Puzzle, Adventure
Platform: Xbox One
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 13/08/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Darkestville Castle is a creepy point and click adventure from Epic Llama/Buka Development. It takes you on a journey full of puzzles, mythical creatures and unusual conversations – all from the perspective of a demon. Here is what I made of it all.
A Demon in a Human’s World
You begin your Darkestville Castle adventure by meeting the main character, Cid. He is a demon who inhabits (wait for it…) the castle in Darkestville, a fictional backwater town whose inhabitants he delights in bedevilling. As the story unfolds, you must solve increasingly bizarre puzzles split up between shorter ‘interlude’ and longer ‘chapter’ levels. Gameplay is divided between speaking to characters/investigating areas and using/crafting items you find to progress.
The experience begins with a choice between playing in ‘normal’ or ‘cat mode’. The key difference here is that in the former, you will hear/read dialogue from characters and descriptions of items; in the latter, you will hear and read multiple cat meows. As a cat-lover, I found this quite cute but it was impossible to fathom what to do on my first run-through. So, with my tail between my legs, I switched to ‘normal mode’. Once I had completed Darkestville Castle, I did pop back for another look at ‘cat mode’. If you want to test your memory on the solutions to the puzzles in the game, this is the place to do it – with added cat ambiance.
Demon Mode: On
One of my favourite things about Darkestville Castle is the vibrant cartoon-style art. I found it very pleasing on the eye and I enjoyed the range of colours used, particularly the oranges and reds in the final chapter. The entire game has a little hint of The Nightmare Before Christmas about it, an impression which is only magnified by the soundtrack. The music is everything you would expect from a creepy, demon-infested jaunt and it complements the visuals well.
A Devilish Tongue
Darkestville Castle is a game littered with humour. For the most part I enjoyed Cid’s quips and the encounters with the more bizarre characters. Occasionally I felt that a joke or point was being laboured too much. However (although they could be a little jarring at the time) I don’t feel that these over-played jokes had a drastic impact on my overall enjoyment of the game. They certainly didn’t detract from some beautifully random conversations with some equally quirky characters. I think that the only thing that might put gamers off here is the length of some of the dialogues.
What’s That?… There Are Instructions?
I jumped straight into playing Darkestville Castle without so much as a glance at the control scheme. Everything seemed quite straightforward at first. It was about half-way through my play-through when I decided that the controls simply couldn’t be as tedious as they had become. It turns out that they weren’t. They’re actually perfectly fit for purpose, a really nice adaptation of controls for a point and click on a control pad. There was no need for me to hook up a mouse to my console. None at all. Which I did not do. Obviously… Moral of the story? RT*M people.
Points, You Say?
There are some achievements which you pick up through the natural course of the game, but there are quite a few that you have to do a bit of extra work to earn. Whilst there are no other collectibles available in Darkesville Castle, it does offer gamers the challenge of replaying the game in cat mode. Those parital to completing games on the hardest difficulty setting might find their need sated by this trial.
If Unconventional Is Your Style…
Perhaps you’ve got an insatiable need to point, click, collect and craft; or maybe you hanker after Halloween all year round and you like your humour just a little to one side of the beaten track. If this sounds like you, Darkestville Castle might just be worthy of your next pick.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can buy Darkestville Castle for the Xbox One from the Microsoft Store.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.