Cursed Castilla (Maldita Castilla EX)
Cursed Castilla is an arcade action game which is based and inspired by the Ghosts and Goblins series and other retro titles. It brings an 16 bit graphics style, a quick action packed gameplay with tight controls and a high level of difficulty.
The story is set in the Middle Ages in the Spanish Kingdom. You play as a knight who is sent on a quest -together with other 3 fellow knights- by the King to cleanse the Kingdom from the evading demonic horde. The story basically is a Spanish mythos and there are several parts of the game where creatures from other European mythologies appear. Since the creators are Spanish the game overall in its music and its design has a Spanish vibe.
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Really fun, quite challenging, and at times even feel a little unfair retro-style game. However (with the exception of one part), the checkpoint system is very forgiving so it’s rarely frustrating.
You attack using only throwable weapons, where only a certain amount can be out active at a time until they either hit an enemy, an obstacle, or fly off screen. This means that the closer you are to enemies, the faster you can attack, and also that if you spam you can be left defenseless for a brief window. It also has some pretty unique jumping mechanics similar to some other retro platformers wherein you jump much farther if you are holding a direction when you jump, and jump almost straight up if you aren’t holding a direction (however, unlike some games, you can still nudge slightly in either direction while in the air). Additionally, attacking (especially if you are spamming) slows you down substantially. These mechanics mentioned above can make it feel a bit janky until you get used to it, but the game controls great and has highly accurate hitbox (although your entire character is the hitbox which makes dodging obstacles difficult). There are a variety of environments and a massive amount of bosses that for the most part where unique and fun.
Amazing game. Umihara Kawase is a platformer where most of the gameplay revolves around using an elastic fishing line to get around the level and attack enemies. Think the grappling hook from worms - except the elasticity adds a huge amount of complexity. Combined with the rock-solid physics, this leads to a very fun game that ramps up the difficulty to insane levels, requiring serious speedrunner rubberband tactics to just pass later levels.
The fishing line has a seemingly infinite learning curve, 40 hours in and I’m still learning new techniques. Initially you’ll be using it to swing across pits and climb upwards, but soon you’ll find yourself using the tension to slingshot yourself across levels, or ‘rocket jump’ over hazards. The layout of the levels make this as much puzzle as platforming: particular levels can take forever to figure out, though if you are having difficulty you can consult the library of replays that the community shares through the steam workshop integration.
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My favorite of the Umihara Kawase games, through the least forgiving. UK is a purely arcade experience, with no story or any other unnecessary trappings. The game is presented in stages, where you start at point a and try to get to point b, mainly by experimenting with the physics of your fishing hook.
The big draw is that a lot of the stages have multiple exits and/or can be beaten in a different manner depending on the level of your skill with the fishing hook. The hook has some cool physics, especially considering how the old game is. The original UK has the best gameplay “feel” to me; it feels faster and the hook physics just seem more springy in a good way than the sequels. Learning how to use the hook to throw Umi all over the place in very rewarding.
Another World – 20th Anniversary Edition
In 1991 I first played Another World (also known as Outer World and Out of This World in some regions), a game that would have a greater and more lasting impact on me than any other.
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Jordan Mechner, Steve Meretzky, Roberta Williams…Eric Chahi.
If you don’t know who Eric Chahi is, or why I breathe his name with a palpable aura of reverence, buy this game immediately. This is an enduring piece of computer game history that remains as beautiful, stark, striking and unique today as it was when it burst onto the scene in 1991. This is a landmark computer game.
So what, you say? So was Doom, and very few of us are still playing it today. So was DONKEY.BAS, the famous early IBM game with the racecar switching lanes to avoid burros in the road. So was the Crowther and Woods Adventure. The history of computer games is littered with significant milestones, making for a very cluttered highway to the past. Right. I understand. But when you find one that’s still fresh and avant-garde exactly as it is, today? You could drop Another World into the indie game market anew, and it’d still turn heads and inspire conversations. The adjective “timeless” is overused, but this game is truly timeless.