My humble beginnings at Gameffine was with a point and click adventure – Ghoul Britannia. It feels like a long time ago now – my perspective of the genre has changed considerably since then. While many may think that it might have fallen out of fashion, the title in question can put those rumors to shame. Without any further ado, let’s jump into Darkestville Castle – a point and click puzzle-based game developed by Epic LLama.
Story & Narrative
In Darkestville Castle, you play as a mischievous demon named Cid who delights himself by indulging in terrorizing acts on the folks of Darkestville. Things take a toll on Cid’s life when three renowned demon hunters arrive at Cid’s doorstep.
The game’s narrative heavily relies upon its comical dialogues and voice acting. There is also a significant amount of jokes on the game that are seemingly decent for the most part, except for a few that seem too childish. The campaign consists of chapters interconnected by several preludes. Each chapter is like a puzzle – where you have to beg, borrow, and steal things from the folks by playing mischievous pranks on them. The likable factor of the overall narrative depends on how much you enjoy putting on your thinking cap.
Thanks to its stellar cast, things get better as you get to know the characters of the game. Cid himself is funny as hell with his comedic monologues. There’s also The Romero Brothers, who play a vital role in all this. The band of brothers also has a charming female member Foxy – pretty, weird, and the name’s resemblance to her character trait is uncanny!
At times the puzzles can be a little bit overwhelming – bogging the in-game narrative. Besides this, all the conversations that you engage in – end on a single note. By no means it is a bad thing, but it would have been great if the multiple-choice factor was involved here. The current experience at hand may seem too linear to follow at times.
Gameplay and Mechanics
In terms of gameplay, Darkestville Castle is quite simplistic and easy to get a grasp of. Throughout the game, you have to look for objects in order to solve a series of puzzling events. Found objects stack up in your inventory. You will have to look for cues and interact with specific people to get them, which can be mindboggling at times. Specific interactions and outcomes open up new dialogues that lead you to the latter part of the puzzles.
In-game interactions mostly involve pulling levers, unscrewing things, and combining kinds of stuff from your inventory. Each object has three interaction options – grab, inspect, and talk. Sid verbally responds to your actions – indicating whether it is a feasible option or a foolish idea.
The overall map is pretty limited, you may encounter the same region pretty often while traversing. However, its limited nature does pay off in a better way – making the traversal pretty snappy with its split-second fast-travel. Still, a slightly more variable level-design could have improved the overall experience.
Visuals, Performance, and Sound
Darkestville Castle’s minimalistic and cartoonish art-style gives it a sharp look. In fact, the sprites look so precise that the image quality did not take any significant toll even if I was inches away from my TV screen. I’m not sure if the characters are hand-drawn or not but they do look good. The uneven body proportions certainly make it more appealing and give it a Saturday morning cartoon vibe.
The game holds up a stable 60 fps at all times on PlayStation 4. I did not come across any significant glitches or bugs during my playthrough. Still, the in-game animations may appear a little bit stuttery at times but it can be easily overlooked.
In terms of sound design, the game pays an exquisite amount of attention to its voice-acting. I guess the studio spent more than half of its budget on the voice-overs itself. Nonetheless, it does pay off. As for the background score, I didn’t find anything strikingly good as per my taste. It just works on a serviceable level that can be easily missed.
Darkestville Castle is a light-hearted puzzler that shows how enjoyable old-school point-and-click titles can be. Its minimalistic and cartoonish art-style is appealing and over-the-top comedic voice-overs by its stellar cast seal the deal. With more varied environmental designs and a slightly less-linear approach, the overall experience could have been improved even further.