I think one of the games that got most recently Greenlit on Steam is Castle in the Darkness, another indie title that tries to evoke old school gaming. This is one of the ones that at least offers a demo though so you can get a first-hand look at the game.
Yes it’s a game that trades on 8-bit graphics, sound, and gameplay, but I’ll say that Castle nails the feel better than most. Where most games will just have pixilated graphics, Castle seems to actually try to stay within the constraints of NES (or at least Game Boy Color) colors, sound channels, and the amount of text on screen. It even allows the option for you to play with simulated CRT scanlines. The only thing that betrays it as a modern game is its smooth framerate.
Another thing I should point out is that, according to the website, the demo for Castle is actually unique content that isn’t in the full game. It’s essentially a free prologue. I really appreciate it when a developer puts this much work into a demo, knowing full-well the effect it could have on sales, effectively being the game’s most decisive piece of marketing. Too many developers just shy away from demos altogether.
Castle’s description claims inspiration from the early Castlevania games and that’s pretty much what it feels like — an extremely challenging sidescrolling action adventure mainly about platforming and sword swinging. After dying several times I still haven’t beaten the boss of this demo. It’s one of those things where you have to master all the patterns and it genuinely asks for good twitch reflexes. The Castle demo reaches something resembling the NES Mega Man mentality in practice. In terms of overall production you could compare it to Mega Man 9 and 10.
Oh, and the demo also comes with its own unique PDF instruction manaual that’s formatted like a real old school manual. You’ll find it in the game files next to the exe. You get the storyline, hand-drawn artwork for all the items and enemies, the works. To top it off it’s all formatted in the orientation of a Game Boy manual, as if they made it for real and then scanned it. Again, all that work put into a demo gives me high hopes for the full game.
There are actually a few other upcoming indie games on Steam (almost all greenlit I think) that seem to share both Castle’s genre and devotion to 8-bit accuracy. The most well-known is Shovel Knight. The other two are the games from JoyMasher: Oniken and Odallus: The Dark Call which I’ve posted about here before. I’m not sure whether it’s good or bad that an indie game as tightly-built as Castle has so much legit competition supposedly coming out around the same time.
- So if Nintendo can make a sequel to A Link to the Past, they can make a sequel to Super Metroid too right?
- So Senran Kagura is out in North America… and no one is giving it the criticism Dragon’s Crown got.