There are two terms of games that have become popular this decade — souls-likes and modern retro. The idea of making a game that looks and feels like a classic game, while still having modernized elements, has given birth to a new subset of indie devs. This year alone, I’ve spoken to multiple developers using the past to give them inspiration for original takes today. For my #9 game, we have a developer who created an adventure platformer for a game that never happened.
The Eternal Castle
The Eternal Castle, or its full name The Eternal Castle Remastered, is a remastered version of a game that never came out. Taking major ques from titles like Out of this World, the game looks and plays like the old school adventure platformers.
Your mission is to explore the post-apocalyptic world in search of an AI. Each area of the game is designed around a specific theme and set of obstacles.
From the outset, the game is a pixel-art lover’s dream come true, with some of the most stylized pixels I’ve seen. Right away, the graphics are a litmus test for your enjoyment of The Eternal Castle — either you love this look, or you’re going to hate it.
Since the game came out, the developers have released updates and lore dumps for the Eternal Castle. As a bit of free DLC, an additional campaign was added that plays almost like if Dark Souls was an adventure platformer. The player is tasked to complete objectives, while opening shortcuts and upgrades in a fixed world.
There are only a few reasons why the game doesn’t rank higher for me. I found the focus on combat to get in the way of the platforming. The 2D space greatly limits the combat depth, but the game frequently has the player fighting with guns or melee.
Lengthwise, this is the shortest game on the top 10 this year, but I could keep playing episodes of content if the developers continued to release them.
Of the modern retro games released this year, and there were many great ones, The Eternal Castle Remastered stands out to me thanks to its great aesthetics and challenge.
Moving on to #8, we have the latest success from one of my favorite indie devs.
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