You know, in these last couple of years, there has been an intense desire among gamers to just go back to the "GOOD OLD DAYS" (As vague as that phrase can possibly be). A need to strip all of the intricate details of game design and technological advancements that we have discovered over the past 3 decades, and to never leave our comfort zones, our safe spaces, to forever live in a Mega Man shaped bubble.
But, to be fair, this trend has resulted in genuinely high quality titles that are inspired by games of the past and improve their faults by adding just the right amount of new game mechanics from the modern era (i.e DOOM). Cursed Catilla (Maldita Castilla EX) is not one of them, it has no problem wearing the skin of it's predecessors but it doesn't improve them in any substantial way.
The game is inspired by Spanish myths and legends. Admittedly, this does give the game a new coat of paint, we don't see games dealing with Spanish beasts that often do we? Naturally the story is your typical monster hunter tale with a bit of chivalry and Spanish myth added in. Just like in most retro games, the story is told once in the opening scroll and never seen ever again. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying that if you were expecting an epic tale of myths and legends, this is not the place for it.
The gameplay is literally a carbon copy of Castlevania, that's mostly fine as the mechanics from Castlevania still hold up to this day. But if we're being completely honest, (and I have to be careful here as I don't want to piss off Castlevania fans, they've already suffered enough) the stiff, rigid feeling of the jumps and the general clumsiness of your moves does not work in an environment like this. It perfectly fits in a horror environment where you have to be cautious and plot your moves, but with a game that's feeling aligns more with Mega Man than Castlevania it feels unfair and can be quite frustrating.
Of course as with most action platformers there are boss battles, and while most fit the cliched "Stock Boss Battles" list (The tank who is devastating up close but lacks the range, the all too common bird boss that you have to hit with arrows, etc.), the usage of Spanish myths certainty give the bosses a sense of originality.
The art style really hits the mark though. There are 8 video modes available, some give the game a CRT TV feeling, some modes make the game pixel perfect while others retain a deliberate faultiness that makes Cursed Castilla more on par with it's counterparts. In the end, it all comes down to preference, after all, every one's taste will differ when it comes down to "How do I want my "Retro" game, that I bought for 20$ when I could have just downloaded an emulator and played some actual retro games for free instead, to look?"
I guess if you really want to play a true to source retro game that does nothing to stand out, then I guess you will be just fine, you will most likely have fun and remember all the fun you used to have when you were a child. But for those who want games to evolve, to get better as time goes on, well, Cursed Castilla (Maldita Castilla EX) is just too lukewarm to really recommend.
The quintessential hype-man that this site deserves and needs. Will write for space games.