I sadly have to admit that CastleMania is far too difficult for me. It doesn’t love me back, and no matter what I do or how hard I try the thing just won’t let me reach its finale. But, that’s okay. Really, it is.
CastleMania didn’t merely entertain me in the most masochistic of ways for a couple or so hours. It also enlightened me, as I finally understood that those few console games I tried and was never able to beat when I was a kid had less to do with my inherent incompetence and more with the brutal design sensibilities of the average NES game. And that nasty mechanic which has you bouncing back whenever an enemy damages you.
CastleMania, which is more than happy to push you down the same pit countless times, doesn’t just sound like a NES game. It plays and looks like one too.
Not an average one, granted, but one that loosely follows the Castlevania template and looks absolutely gorgeous and chunky like the best of the ’80s offerings. Also, as has been subtly implied, one that’s tough; very tough, though not enough to make you (or me) quit. It’s only four rooms long, and its jumping, slashing and fireballing are satisfying, and people are meant to do speedruns of it.