Wednesday, November 28, 2018

"Castle of Heart" Review

A knight turned to stone by dark magic must overcome his inner and outer demons in order to win the day. That's the premise of 7Levels' "Castle of Heart," as well as a metaphor for difficulties players must deal with often clunky controls and confoundingly obstructive design choices.

The 20-level 2D platformer harkens back to the time when players had to grind against the same difficulties over and over, gradually earning an aptitude via trial-and-error in order to conquer the challenge.

There's something to be said for the game's gritty difficulty and lack of hand-holding, because the hard-fought success makes you feel as though you've genuinely accomplished something. Whether or not that triumph is worth the maddening hassle it takes to get there is debatable.

There's no knocking the visuals. The world of "Castle of Heart" shines with a "Trine"-like beauty, which reverently crafts the details of its high fantasy medieval setting.

On the flip side, no matter how pretty the game is, you get sick of looking at the same thing over and over as you fail -- sometimes due to what feels like cheap, unfair design -- and it's a slippery slope to cross over from appreciation to annoyance.

"Castle of Heart" is a tough game to love. You feel as though you are fighting against the developers themselves, and the battle gets ugly. When you feel resentment rather than respect, there's a problem there that sorcery can't fix.
Publisher provided review code.

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