Epic flame is a small independent studio located in Córdoba, Argentina. If it is already difficult for this type of equipment to launch video games in Europe, in Latin American countries, which are mostly in a severe economic crisis, it is even more so. Therefore, you have to give it all the credit it deserves that, despite the difficulties, have been able to develop a title of such quality as Darkestville Castle. Game that some will know and that they may even have been able to complete, since it was launched on Steam in September 2017. However, today we have to talk about the console version, which reaches the market thanks to the distributor Buka entertainment. Although, we have only tested the version of the hybrid from Nintendo, we already anticipate that, although it also comes out for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, The Switch version is the one that will best allow us to enjoy this graphic adventure.
A somewhat … hooligan protagonist
This time we are not playing a hero or an avid adventurer, but a Cid, a demon whose only goal in life is to terrorize the people of Darkestville. After a series of events, which take place in the game’s introduction, Domingo, the pet and roommate of our protagonist disappears, so our main objective is to bring him back home. Although, finally, our steps end up leading us to something much greater.
An interesting story, that hooks from beginning to end. Told in some cinematics, but, above all, in Cid’s experiences and conversations with other characters. All of them very characterized and with a lot of charisma. A set of narrative and characters, which has its icing on the scenes we visit, as gloomy as they are colorful, which give a lot of personality to the town of Darkestville. In addition, there is no shortage of dialogues, jokes and comments full of humor and references, which are usually common in the genre.
Let’s go back for a while to the 90’s
After almost fifty games analyzed behind my back, Darkestville castle It is the first graphic adventure and, I must admit that writing this text has been as complicated for me as some of its puzzles. Difficulties due to the genre itself, since, writing about a title of the style, with a simple gameplay and whose strengths are history and puzzles, of which talking more than necessary can affect the player’s experience, turns the analysis into a challenge more.
Playably its a classic point and click; we control a cursor with which we interact in different ways with the elements that we find on the stage. We have three forms of interaction, a physical option, either take, play or Push; another option allows us look, which is usually more useful for the player than for the character, since Cid gives information, relevant or not, of what we are observing; or talk, with which we start a conversation in which a text box with several dialogue options appears. We can also make use of the objects that we have in our inventory, directly with the stage or using each other to create new items.
Simple mechanics, but they do their job perfectly; give the player the necessary tools to solve the puzzles that are proposed and, as we have said, these, together with the story, are the most important point in the genre. Like the classics of the genre, the vast majority of these have a logical and deductible solution, while others are more convoluted and, on occasion, absurd. Taking as inspiration the graphic adventures of the 90s, our work in Darkestville castle It is based on going through the different scenarios looking for the elements that help us to solve the puzzles that allow us to advance in the story.
For its part, the game gives us “extra” tools that make our work easier. With a button, we can see all the objects on the stage with which we can carry out an action or the places to move to. In addition, the conversations we have with the other inhabitants of Darkestville hide some other clues, which are very useful in order to solve the puzzles. For its part, the game has another difficulty mode, the feline mode; in which the difficulty is notably increased. All texts are replaced by cat meows, so this increase in difficulty, more than this, seeks to give a touch of extreme absurdity to the title.
A positive point that must be recognized Darkestville castle it is your control. Something that often fails in games of Nintendo switch is the lack of touch controls. Many of the games, even the triple A games that come out on the console and which would suit perfectly – box management in Pokémon comes to mind – do not take advantage of this functionality of the console. Therefore, the fact that they are independent games that do use it is something that has surprised me a lot and that, in this case, makes the difference with the other console versions. The ability to touch the screen to interact with the stage, instead of moving a cursor with the stick, makes playing in portable mode is the most comfortable way and that gives us more possibilities to enjoy the title.
Technically we are talking about a remarkable title in every way. Using a graphic section typical of cartoons, with a very striking color palette, it captures the player’s attention from the first moment. In addition to their designs, both of the characters and the settings, they give the title a lot of personality. All this accompanied by a good soundtrack and, above all, a very high level English dubbing, make the immersion great. Although the dubbing is only available in English or Russian, the texts and subtitles are in Spanish, although it should be noted, as a curiosity, that it is closer to Latin Spanish.
Darkestville Castle – Good if short, twice good
Darkestville castle It is a graphic adventure that, if it had been released in the 90s, under the Lucas Arts label, it would not have been out of tune at any point with other company games. Drink from the classics of the time, although if I had to choose one in particular, it has brought back many memories of The Curse of Monkey Island, the third adventure in the saga. A good story, with charismatic characters and complex puzzles, but not impossible, they make it one of the essential for fans of the genre. The duration of it, about 6 or 7 hours, ideal according to the proposed gameplay, less would be too short and more, it could end up being too long. For its part, its price of € 14.99, It is adapted to the product that is offered to us, so, if it catches your attention, do not hesitate to go for it. However, if you want to get out of doubt, we remind you that the introduction can now be enjoyed, as a demo, which can be downloaded in the eShop.
We have analyzed Darkestville Castle thanks to a digital code provided by Buka Entertainment. Version analyzed: 1.0.0
If you like adventure games, don’t even think about it
The adventure game genre, which had its heyday at the end of the last century, is in decline. So it is appreciated that jewels like Darkestville Castle arrive to satisfy the playable needs of lovers of the genre.
The narrative, both in form and substance
The ease of using the touch screen
Its dubbing into English
I have missed an option to go quickly to the map
The action buttons on the screen are small and sometimes you press the wrong option