Castle In The Darkness is essentially another NES nostalgia simulator.
While maybe not as polished as Shovel Knight, I think I would say that it instead has a more authentic NES feel to it. It doesn’t feel like a new game paying tribute to old NES games, it feels like it really could have been an actual NES game.
While Shovel Knight was kind of Duck Tales meets Mega Man, Castle In The Darkness is more Castlevania 2/Zelda 2/Faxanadu/etc., with a semi-open world full of secrets that you will have to backtrack to, and many deadly dungeons full of bosses, bosses, and more bosses.
Seriously, there is a ridiculous number of bosses. It’s great.
It’s also obviously bursting with old-timey NES references
ranging from obvious nods to Mario and Zelda, to more obscure ones like fucking Monster Party.
The creator also apparently enjoys trolling the player quite a bit.
There were several parts of the game that had no purpose other than to mess with you. For instance, early on in the game there is a secret passage found in a hole in the side of a large spike pit. Inside you find two treasure chests containing the Troll Sword and Troll Armor. Oh good, you really needed a new weapon and armor, but wait…there’s no way to get back up out of the pit. HAHA. GET IT? Heh.
I’d say this was a good deal more challenging than Shovel Knight too. Especially when you get to the later secret areas like the Torture Chamber, which is packed full of insta-killing spikes and blades. At least you get checkpoints at a pretty decent frequency though. None of that having to play the entire level over again if you die shit.
The soundtrack is also excellent and suitably NES-like.
That’s about all there is to say about the game. I would highly recommend it to NES fans, as I think it’s right up there with Shovel Knight in terms of amazing NES nostalgia games.