Cathedral – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure
Developer: Decemberborn Interactive
Publisher: Decemberborn Interactive
Platforms: PC, Mac, Switch, Linux
Tested on: Switch

Cathedral – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Perfect nostalgia trip, Though but fair, Beautiful visuals
Bad: Frustrating segments
User Score
9.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (3 votes cast)

Lately, there has been an increase in retro-inspired videogames getting released and Cathedral is no exception to that trend. Inspired by the Metroidvania genre, you play as a knight that suddenly winds up in this large cathedral with no recollection of who he is and how he got there. You will explore many vast dungeons, find riches and use unique mechanics to get around tricky puzzles and difficult platforming action. Fans of the old Metroid, Castlevania and Wonder Boy games will have a blast with Cathedral.

Story

The story starts with a knight waking up inside a cathedral, not knowing how he wound up there or remembering anything. Making his way through the cathedral it first seems that he is trapped there. After making it outside, you find a town where you will be able to stock up on upgrades and new items. During your returning trips to the cathedral and its adjacent areas, you will have to collect orbs to ultimately defeat the evil presence that lurks inside.

Story-wise the game progresses slowly, there is a lot to discover and there isn’t that much lore placed inside the game to back that up. You will have more fun exploring the different locations such as the forest and graveyard, while not getting too much information about the background of the places you visit.

Graphics

The design for Cathedral has been influenced by the NES color palette combined with the nostalgic 8- and 16-bit era. With no hardware limitations, this gave the developers free rein of having it their way and the creativity really shows in its visuals. The game has over 600 rooms which were all carefully handcrafted and this quality is found in each minor detail. From the immense range of different enemies, unique bosses and sceneries, to the nice and smooth animations that take the classic game into modern times. At first glance, it will look like you are playing this title on your old Nintendo console, yet it runs and plays with modern-day standards.

Sound

In an attempt to make the game as authentic as possible, the developers used the sound capabilities of the NES to the fullest. The developers ended up creating a soundtrack filled with some of the best chiptune music to date. Each and every song is masterfully crafted and sounds great, which is a good thing as you will be spending many hours in the different locations of the game. Aside from the great soundtrack you also get the full nostalgia immersion thanks to the wonderful sound effects.

Gameplay

Cathedral is an adventure game closely inspired by the Metroidvania genre and taking elements from Wonder Boy in Monster Land. The adventure starts with a knight being trapped inside a large cathedral and having no recollection of how he ended up there. After a quick glance around, you will immediately notice that you aren’t in a friendly place and survival is of the essence. If you have played the aforementioned games, then you will feel right at home with how Cathedral has been constructed. While not holding your hand, the game will give a short tutorial about how certain mechanics work, but you’ll need to remember them quickly as the tips go away rather fast. Typical for these kinds of games is that while they are a bit linear, you will have to find the route for yourself and backtrack to certain locations once you find new items and skills.

During your adventure you will stumble upon various power-ups for your character, making life just a bit easier every time. From armor upgrades to having more arrows or heart containers, these are a well-needed trait if you want to continue on your journey. The game is difficult yet feels fair at all times, having checkpoints placed all over the map to teleport you back when you meet your demise. The only thing you will lose is a percentage of your gold, that you can later spend in the town for upgrades or place in your bank account, so you can save up for more expensive upgrades or can just die without having to worry about your financial status.

With the game having over 600 rooms to explore, this means that you will have a lot going on. Once you make it out of the cathedral and into the town, you will be able to speak to the townsfolk and initiate new quests. These give out small rewards and are a good source of income. There are a bunch of different dungeons to explore and each has unique enemies that can be later found lingering in other locations. Thanks to your trusty sword and shield, you will vanquish your enemies quite easily, but beware, they respawn every time you return to that room.

The controls in Cathedral are pretty simple and thanks to the responsive movement and all your different items, this will give you a real fighting chance in the difficult trials that lie ahead. Two of your best friends will be your solid shield and trustworthy crossbow. Your shield will defend you from projectiles and certain melee attacks and this comes in real handy, especially when fighting bosses. Your crossbow can be used for both attacking enemies but is mostly used for solving puzzles. Other items are also fairly big tropes in the genre, but they have earned their place in the game as well. One thing that is amazing in Cathedral is the mix between platforming, puzzles and combat. The three elements are carefully blended together and provide for a fun and addictive gameplay formula. Some rooms can be frustrating at first, yet with some careful planning, everything feels quite doable.

Conclusion

Cathedral is a masterpiece any way you look at it. Created as an NES game, without the limitations of the platform, makes this masterpiece feels right at home for both retro enthusiasts and those who love the Metroidvania genre. There is a lot of content for the player to explore and the difficulty curve is just right, which makes for a great yet fair challenge. The gameplay is fun and with many tools at your disposal, this means that there is a great balance between platforming, fighting and puzzling action. The soundtrack is simply amazing and the responsive controls will let you enjoy the arcade era once more.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Cathedral – Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
MC_JP


Never give up on a dream. It might be a long nightmare, but one day it will change into a beautiful reality - MC_JP 2014

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