Castle in the Darkness is cute, deadly and out now

Castle in the Darkness

Back in August 2014, I said that brutal retro Metroidvania Castle in the Darkness was "going to be coming to Steam this Summer", even though Summer was basically over, and the game is being published by Nicalis. The days, the weeks, the months ticked by with no dimly lit castles in sight, before Matt Kap's platformer finally appeared on Steam in February 2015. Hey, that's this month! And this year! You can find it here, with an oddly specific 17% discount for the next few days.

The name Matt Kap not familiar? He was the lead artist on the scrumptiously pixelly Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, and this is his rock-hard tribute to the Castlevania and Metroid games of yore. With so many platformers these days embracing permadeath and procedural generation, it's a little refreshing to come across one that, y'know, allows you to properly save your progress and build your character without the threat of permadeath lingering Damocles-like over your noggin. By the looks of it, Castle in the Darkness is a lot faster and more hyperactive than its inspirations, and probably a lot more frustrating too.

There's no new trailer to celebrate the launch, but here's the first part of a sweary Let's Play from publishers Nicalis:

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.