Title: The Eternal Castle (Remastered)
Available on: Nintendo Switch, PC
Developer: Leonard Menchiari, Daniele Vincinanzo, Giulio Perrone
Publisher: TFL Studios, Playsaurus
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Official Site: http://www.theeternalcastle.net/
Release Date: August 21st, 2020
If I asked for your choice for a remaster, I doubt you’d pick an MS-DOS game from 1987. Well, that’s the situation we find ourselves in with The Eternal Castle (Remastered), as this long lost gem finally makes its way over to the Nintendo Switch. Thinking about cinematic platformers may call forth glorious memories of games such as Prince of Persia, Flashback, or, Out of this World. There isn’t a person alive who would tell you that they have fond memories of playing The Eternal Castle as they grew up in the ’80s and ’90s. There’s a good reason too. It never existed.
Despite what the marketing says, The Eternal Castle isn’t a remaster at all. Instead, it’s a modern game that pays homage to the past.
The Eternal Castle’s Beautiful Lie
Looking at the screenshots some of you will already have made your minds up. Some will love the archaic look, whilst others will wonder how anyone can play something that doesn’t have more than 4 colors at one time. It would be a mistake to dismiss a game based on looks alone, especially before you’ve read our review to see how it plays. Before I continue, I must address the elephant in the room. The graphics aren’t the most appealing at first glance, but here’s why you should give them a chance.
The Eternal Castle (Remastered) is beautiful. A graphical masterpiece. No, I haven’t gone insane, and whilst I love the nostalgia it evokes, the title looks gorgeous even by today’s standards. The animation is great, things run smoothly, and rain levels are wonderful to see. Once again, I’m not insane.
The set up is simple. After your spaceship crashes the player must take control of either Adam or Eve, find the missing ship pieces, and beat the final level to win. It’s a pretty straightforward setup, but this isn’t a game about the story, it’s about the experience. As a sidescrolling cinematic platformer, you may have some idea what to expect, even if many of the events on screen would have no chance of happening in 1987. Moving from one screen to the other, the playable character will have to run, jump, and fight his/her way through to the end.
What Is Dead May Never Die
At times there are numerous enemies on screen that can be dispatched through various means, from guns to melee weapons to the scenery itself. Every time you hit an enemy, the screen shudders in a way that brings you into the action. It’s subtle, but it makes it feel very satisfying when an enemy is defeated. The shooting feels just as nice.
The platforming on offer feels deliberately old fashioned. It all works well and feels like a beautiful dance at times. However, until you get used to it there will be points of failure as it can feel a little slow and clunky. This is all by design though, and a tribute to the way things used to be. For me, that works in Eternal Castle’s favor.
Levels are few and far between, but each one brings something new to the table. I don’t want to spoil things, but I will say the level that runs through a cemetery is surprisingly creepy, especially with the noises coming from the enemies here.
An average player will take just a few hours to see the end of The Eternal Castle. Unfortunately, I found myself so below average it was unbelievable. It took me an age to finish this title, with levels descending into trial and error as I battled enemies. I’d like to say that I did so without frustration, but at points, I was getting very annoyed with both the game and myself. Thankfully, each level has frequent checkpoints throughout. There are very few things the game brings over from modern-day, but that’s one I’m glad made it through.
The Sound Of Nostalgia Is Glorious
Throw in some basic puzzles along with challenging boss fights, and the whole package feels bigger than its parts.
If you can’t get past the graphics then The Eternal Castle (Remastered) is not for you, and, if you’re that way inclined I’d say that titles such as Metal Gear Solid or Mario 64 aren’t for you either. The minimalistic look works here, and despite being a short game (for everyone but me) there’s replayability in the form of collectibles, as well as couch co-op.
A special mention must also go to the sound design. Mostly the levels are devoid of music with ambient sounds of the highest quality. The gunshots, the enemies, everything. It makes those moments where the music kicks in that much more intense, as you know you’re in for something big. It’s simply stunning.
Most of the joy lies in discovering the game for yourself, which is why I’ve been as vague as possible. Behind the nostalgia, there is a fantastic modern game that I’d highly recommend everyone to try. Although calling this a game is doing a disservice. The Eternal Castle is art, pure, and simple.
Verdict: The Eternal Castle is a love letter to retro gaming. With graphics that are simple yet incredibly beautiful and fights that feel impactful, every moment is a masterpiece you can’t look away from. It can sometimes be frustrating, but I still can’t recommend the game more. At its core, The Eternal Castle is an art form you’d be doing yourself a disservice to not play.
- Stunning design
- Brilliant sound design
- A love letter to the past
- Frustrating at points
- Some long loading
- Too short for some players