Freeware Garden: CastleMania

The heroic girl with the axe is out to get them chandeliers.

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.


  1. HisDivineOrder says:

    The best part about the modern age of gaming is that games like this exist. I mean, on so many levels, I’m glad games can be ultra-niche, ultra-hyper-focused on one thing, and layered in nostalgia to a bygone age that many who are currently playing it were not a part of originally.

    It’s great. Hopefully, this is the beginning of another developer who can make something like Shovel Knight, which as far as I can tell is GOTY so far.

  2. shinkshank says:

    Well that was amusing, though it wasn’t nearly as hard as you hyped it up to be – I managed to beat it in my first run, and the only bits that were somewhat challenging were the shenanigans with the platforms at the very end and the boss. Still, neat little thing.

    • Konstantinos Dimopoulos says:

      Oh, but I very honestly didn’t hype it up at all. I apparently just am not particularly good at this kind of platformer. Old man reflexes get in the way, you see…

      • pepperfez says:

        Does this retain the original Castlevanias’ ultra-stiff jump arc? Getting used to that was always the hardest part for me.

        • Gypopothomas says:

          We had the stiff Castlevania jump from the start, but it got really annoying, so we changed it to a standard platformer jump.