The Count Lucanor – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure, Horror, Puzzle
Developer: Baroque Decay
Publisher: Baroque Decay
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

The Count Lucanor – Review

Site Score
Good: Story, Graphics, Puzzles, Atmosphere, Concept
Bad: Sometimes a bit sluggish control, Weird endgame puzzle
User Score
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)

When a game describes itself as a mix of The Legend of Zelda and Silent Hill, it immediately makes us frown in disbelief, as both titles respectively shaped the adventure and the horror genres. This must mean that either the creators are very sure of their game or that they simply wanted to boost their sales number. That last argument was immediately wiped off the table, especially seeing we were sucked in after mere moments. The Count Lucanor brought us back to the good old days and it showed us that retro-inspired mechanics and visuals can still surprise us in a world where graphics often overpower the gameplay portion.

The Count Lucanor


Meet Hans, he’s just a poor boy, from a poor family, well a family of two that is, as his father ‘left for war’ when Hans was only a little boy. While Hans has a loving and caring mother, they have no money for things outside of the basic necessities such as food and a roof above their heads. When Hans turns ten years old he goes home eagerly awaiting his birthday present but he finds there is no fun toy or even a birthday cake that’s awaiting him. In a fit of rage he tells his mother he is sick and tired being dirt-poor and thus as a fully grown man he decides to embark on his own journey finding wealth somewhere else (well if Ash could do it while catching Pokémon, money should be manageable as well). His mother, caring as she is, knows she can’t stop Hans, who’s being a total douche, and gives him her last supplies of food and a few other items that might help him on his way.

Hans, who has been travelling around in the vicinity comes across several odd, but friendly characters and while everything seems to be heading his way, things take a spooky turn when the goat herder he talked to is suddenly decapitated and the goats surrounding him have turned into monstrous beings craving for blood. In his escape, Hans stumbles upon an old castle where he is greeted by a mysterious blue goblin that offers him wealth and riches beyond his wildest dreams, IF, he is able to guess the goblin’s name. Of course, Hans is allowed to snoop through the castle first to find clues as to how the mysterious blue critter is named, but sadly the castle is filled with monsters who’d rather see Hans dead.

The Count Lucanor 1

The Story in The Count Lucanor is brought in a very amusing and intriguing way by the usage of cutscenes and a decent amount of dialogue windows, with a certain humoristic touch here and there, to make the dark castle somewhat more bearable. The developers made sure you’d be sucked in from the start of the game and are eager to see one of the five endings this title has to offer.


It’s no secret that a lot of indie developers resort to the usage of pixilated graphics for their project and The Count Lucanor is no exception to that rule. While this also often results in rather shoddy graphics with the argument of it being retro, it’s quite amazing to see what Baroque Decay did with the ‘limited’ possibilities of the retro-inspired style of their game. For starters, the cutscenes are not shy of amazing and truly look like a pixilated anime series and it’s actually sad there aren’t more present in the game. The detail level is topnotch and everything feels a lot more fluent than other pixel developed cinematics.

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The game itself trims down on the overall detail level when it comes to the characters as they have more crude features, but the environments can easily be placed in a retro Zelda game, if it weren’t for the sometimes grim horror-like touches that are omnipresent throughout the entire game. The mood is set properly with the usage of dark and light and the great color palette that accompanies you during your stay in the castle.


Just like the graphical side of The Count Lucanor, the music is a bit more retro-ish, with a grim undertone that can chill you to the bone in specific scenarios. The ambient noises add up to the overall spooky atmosphere of the castle, but the tunes become more upbeat whenever the situation calls for it, or when light shines through the darkness. Overall the soundtrack is rather noteworthy and some tunes might even stay stuck in your head well after your playing session is over.


The Count Lucanor is a top down 2D adventure game with horror elements. Most of the time you’ll be exploring your environments to learn the secrets of the castle, all while avoiding combat and solving puzzles if you wish to progress. Perception and sneaky behavior will be your best assets and they might even save your life.

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From the beginning on this game forces you to explore your environments, in order to find new directions or simply to find items lying around. These items will more than once come in handy later on, as they will in turn unlock new areas, serve as leverage for you to persuade other characters or simply help you solve the puzzle(s) at hand. You’ll have the equip the item you wish to use, if you actually want to use it, making sure you think about equipping it, rather than hoping the game will do everything for you. While the initial version of the game had very sluggish mechanics to switch between equipped items, making it very bothersome, as the hotkeys simply were irresponsive, it’s fun to see that the developers are still working on improving their game as this bug has already been fixed.

Moving around the castle is both simple, as the entire structure isn’t really that big, but also stressful (in a good way), as the caretakers, who are unfortunately a bunch of monsters that resemble the grim reaper himself, are constantly roaming around. Even though the caretakers are aware of you searching for clues, they simply like to kill young little boys and so you’ll have to be sure to run away as fast as possible or hide under tables and behind curtains if the situation so desires it. To pour even more gasoline on the (symbolic) fire, there is no real lighting in the castle, except for the safezone in the small courtyard that finds itself in the middle of the structure. This means you’ll constantly roam around with a candle in your hand and if you want to see further ahead or have a proper view of the halls surrounding the safe zone, you’ll have to place candles down on the floor.

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The overall difficulty level is on the easy side, as most puzzles prove to be straightforward, if you pay attention to all the signs and the tips that are scattered around the structure. That being said, some puzzles feel like a sudden increase in difficulty and a part of the endgame is simply a case of trial and error, which dampens the otherwise structured gameplay so far.


The Count Lucanor is truly a gem that combines old school adventure game mechanics with a proper horror foundation. Not only are the puzzles very amusing to try and solve, the tension of having to sneak through the corridors undetected adds a lot of suspense to the equation. Nonetheless, what truly makes this game absolutely wonderful is the story and how it unfolds the further you progress. While we originally frowned upon the remark of it being like The Legend of Zelda and Silent Hill, the developers can proudly state they easily offer the same quality.

The Count Lucanor

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
The Count Lucanor - Review, 9.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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