Maldita Castilla EX – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Arcade, Platformer
Developer: Locomalito
Publisher: Locomalito
Platform: Xbox One, PC
Tested on: Xbox One

Maldita Castilla EX – Review

Site Score
8.6
Good: Style, Blast from the past, Borrowed yet original
Bad: Controls hamper from time to time
User Score
9.3
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.3/10 (4 votes cast)

We do not hide the fact that we love retro games, or new games that have a whiff of retro-inspired influences added to them. Maldita Castilla EX suddenly appeared on our horizon and with the current Greenlight campaign running on Steam, we felt it was a great chance to try out the already released Xbox One version. Even though we weren’t sure if this game would end up a Ghosts ‘n Goblins clone, we were pleasantly surprised and felt like we were back playing with our trusty Super Nintendo.

Maldita Castilla EX Logo

Story

We head back in time to a setting that is reminiscent to our Middle Ages, which wasn’t the cheeriest period in time. This time around, there is no place for proper crusades, as the world has suddenly become infested by monsters, simply by the tears of one woman called Moura. You, Don Ramiro, have received the sacred mission to rid the world of evil by removing Moura’s head and bring back the light. As you leave with your brothers in arms, you know this will become an arduous task.

For a ‘simplistic’ 2D arcade action-platformer the story is actually quite amusing, especially seeing you get extra story content throughout your playthrough. Simple, yet rather satisfying the further you progress. Even though you might be disappointed with the ending if you haven’t found all the secret requirements, the second, better ending, will be that much more satisfying.

Maldita Castilla EX _Screenshot 1

Graphics

Maldita Castilla EX clearly doesn’t hide the fact that it got its inspiration from one of CAPCOM’s most beloved (yet frustrating) series ever, namely Ghosts ‘n Goblins (or Super Ghouls and Ghosts for those who joined into the hellish battlefield when they were a bit older). The graphic prowess is consistent with the 16bit era, which retro enthusiasts will surely love, as the developers made sure there’s enough variety in terms of backdrops, enemies and attacks. While in many ways the game feels a bit ‘borrowed’, it’s also oddly unique and fun to look at. The charming graphics complement the eerie setting surprisingly well, and give the game a fresh appearance. It’s quite fun that the developers added a function so you can edit the border of the screen, as well as certain small changes in the crispness of the graphics.

Sound

The music also feels like it’s a blast from the past, albeit a pleasant one to have running in the background. Nonetheless, the music will fade pretty rapidly, as you’ll have to properly focus on the game, making it perhaps a bit bland if you were expecting a theatrical performance. That being said, it’s clear that CAPCOM also influenced this portion of the game, albeit in a rather mild fashion.

There is no voice acting present in the game, but you’ll be treated to spiffy retro(ish) SFX to give your massacre of demons a ‘voice’. The effects do sound a bit generic, but rather qualitative nonetheless.

Maldita Castilla EX _Screenshot 2

Gameplay

Madita Castilla EX is a classic arcade action-platformer with fairly straightforward mechanics that will be easy to learn but extremely hard to master. You’ll be roaming around a seemingly medieval world to rid it of the monsters that have appeared out of the blue. Even though this title is mostly linear, the different routes in certain stages, and eventually the different endings to the story will offer you a bit more than you might have bargained for.

During your playthrough(s) you’ll come across many chests, of which’s contents either help you increase your score, grant you certain special abilities like a shield, a fairy that helps you deal damage and so on, and last but not least you’ll also find weapons in chests. The item that gives you a new weapon will, before you pick it up, constantly switch between the different options, allowing you to choose which one suits your playstyle best, or which will help you overcome the challenge at hand.

Difficulty-wise things are certainly on par with Ghosts ‘n Goblins, a game that was known for its brutal difficulty settings, which is something that will immediately sound like music to your ears or something rather appalling. While the bosses prove to be hard, and some platforming sections frustrating, the game does give you a proper incentive to keep pressing forward, as unlike Ghosts ‘n Goblins, this title has ‘checkpoints’. These checkpoints allow you to load the game at a later time, or when you die but keep playing, you will be rewarded even more, as you’ll only have to redo a small section of the chapter you’re in, to give you a better fighting chance.

Maldita Castilla EX _Screenshot 3

Even though all is good in the land of Maldita Castilla EX, outside of the monsters, the controls do not always respond as one would like. Overall things are rather responsive, but in situations where you’ll quickly have to turn around or shoot a target above, there tends to be a delay on your commands or even simply it not triggering as smooth as it would do with a regular attack.

While it is common for many games to have some special features or simply a compendium of things that have occurred during the game, the one in Maldita Castilla EX is actually worth commending. The gallery adds a lot of information about the beasts and monsters you’ll come across, as well as the music and some other common items you’ll see on your way.

Conclusion

Maldita Castilla EX is a great homage to one of CAPCOM’s neglected lovechilds and it does no real effort into hiding its origin of inspiration. Nonetheless, the developers took something old and revamped it into their own thing in the process, and perhaps in some ways even improved the mechanics of the original source material.

Maldita Castilla EX _Screenshot 4

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Rating: 9.3/10 (4 votes cast)
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Maldita Castilla EX - Review, 9.3 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

2 Comments

  1. 3rd-strike.com | Cursed Castilla EX (3DS) – Review
    August 22, 2017, 12:03 am

    […] old games. Although it seems some of the issues that were found on the during the writing of our Xbox One review still remain. As the controls might seem a bit unresponsive at times. However, the game is still a […]

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  2. […] popular and highly praised 2D action-platformer Cursed Castilla is coming to the PlayStation Vita in November 2017. Cursed Castilla takes a lot of inspiration from […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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