• While Maldita Castilla has lived on as a free fan game for years on Windows/Mac/Linux now, I’ve always wondered when and if the game would ever grace the console space. Now in 2016, we finally have an answer to that question in Maldita Castilla: Cursed Castle EX. And it’s still a fun little action platformer, with some nice additional content. Although I do wish that it made some gameplay improvements.

    Like the title indicates, this game takes place in medieval Spain, where your task as the protagonist is to travel to a cursed castle full of demons in the name of God and country as part of a crusade. You travel with a troop of soldiers, but as you can guessed, things end badly as you progress, so you ultimately become a one man army versus the demons and undead. It’s very much a tribute to the classic Ghosts and Goblins and Ghouls N’ Ghosts franchise.

    The gameplay of Cursed Castle also borrows from the aforementioned game series. You can run around and attack with a variety of weapons like the sword, sickle, axe, holy water, and daggers. They each have their own properties, and knowing when and how to use each weapon is the key clearing levels and bosses. The weapons themselves aren’t exactly plentiful though, but they do cycle through the list once you find them. There are also some power ups like double jumping or a fairy helper that will attack enemies. Unlike Ghouls N’ Ghosts, there is a health meter, and you can even find food to restore your three hit points. The level of challenge for this game is high, so giving the player some wiggle room for error without relying on finding armor like Arthur did in Ghouls N’ Ghosts when he took a hit. You do have unlimited continues, but at the expense of forfeiting the good endings. There are endings in the game beside the bad one, which are entirely dependent on beating the game in under three continues and finding hidden treasure. So there’s a bit of replay as well as extra challenge there.

    While the Xbox One version of this game has dedicated gamepad support with digital pad movement, and extra levels and monsters to fight, there wasn’t much opportunity taken to improve the game. It would have been nice for double jump to be an innate feature rather than a power up you have to choose over the fairy. A triple jump power up would have been a nice replacement, making for a nice tribute to Ultimate Ghouls N’ Ghosts own triple jump upgrade. The continue requirement for the endings could have been removed as well. Maybe at least a casual mode for less skilled players would have been a nice compromise. The music and visuals also have that Capcom CPS1 feel to seal the deal for retro-heads. But at the end of the day, if you are looking for a tribute to Capcom’s classic monster mayhem simulator, Maldita Castilla EX for the Xbox One is a good place to look. Maybe future updates will see the improvements I’d like to see, but it’s still a solid experience.

    Maldita Castilla: Cursed Castle EX - Review
    A fun, if difficult action platformer that is made a bit needlessly more difficult by making the player search for secrets and not continuing more than three times to lock you out of endings.
    Our Score8
    • The control is tight, and the game feels like a Ghouls N' Ghosts tribute.
    • Unlike the free PC versions, the game has dedicated gamepad support.
    • The game's greatest difficulty lies more in trying to get multiple endings via arbitrary means.
    8Overall Score
    Reader Rating: (0 Votes)