Cursed Castilla Review: Phantoms and Platforming

Cursed Castilla is the enhanced version of the game Maldita Castilla EX and another modern take on old school platformers. Similar to Shovel Knight, the developers wanted to make a game just like classic 8-bit titles. Instead of going for an elevated take, we have essentially the spiritual sequel to one of the most infamously difficult games around.

Cursed Castilla

A Knightly Quest:

Cursed Castilla looks and feels like a sequel to the game Ghosts and Goblins: One of the hardest classic platformers around. When a great evil has taken over the land, its up to you to brave through eight levels to save the day.

From the screenshots, this really does look like a classic arcade game from the late 80’s/early 90’s. A special shout out goes to the soundtrack that emulates that setting perfectly. Each stage will have you fight through all manner of monsters with several bosses along the way.

Just like Ghosts and Goblins, Cursed Castilla features locked jumping: You’re mostly not able to control your momentum once in the air. If you’ve played classic platformers, then you have a good idea of what to expect.

Cursed Castilla

The game hits all the marks of a retro arcade title

Even though Cursed Castilla emulates the classics, it does feature some modern touches to tone down the frustration.

Extra Life:

Ghosts and Goblins was a very difficult game to the point of maddening frustration, and the developers of Castilla certainly took notes on what to avoid.

The first change is having three points of health instead of two. That may not seem huge, but that one point goes a long way sometimes. In G&G, your basic attack wasn’t that useful and games lived or died by getting the dagger.

Here, the enemies only take a few hits from any weapon; making sure that you’re never really in a bad position by losing a life. I should also mention that enemies will not respawn if you return to a screen.

Cursed Castilla

Pattern-based fights are the norm

With the previously mentioned locked jumping, Castilla lets you slightly control your movement in the air. While it may not seem important, this allows you to possibly save yourself if you over jump a gap.

Whenever I talk about modern takes on classic design, it’s always difficult to discuss problems.

A Classic Take:

Cursed Castilla’s issues are the very same ones that we see in classic games. The partially locked jumping does make certain sections harder. If you want to see the real ending, you’ll need to find five hidden items through the first seven levels.

Even with the fixed movement, the game handles well and nothing seemed over the top difficult. All the enemies and situations are pattern-based, and it’s up to you to perform to get through them.

This is one of those games that you are either going to enjoy for the old-school challenge or become frustrated by the difficulty. I’m really curious to see the response from modern gamers who didn’t grow up playing classic games, but enjoyed takes like Shovel Knight.

If you’re looking for a modern-old school experience, Cursed Castilla is yet another great example of a modern retro game.

To see the game in action, you can watch my entire playthrough from start to finish:

Have a suggestion for a game that I should look at? Let me know in the comments. Be sure to check out the patreon campaign to help add more content for everyone to enjoy.