Hyakki Castle is Japan’s answer to Legend Of Grimrock

Hyakki Castle

It’s always nice to see a familiar concept filtered through another culture’s lens, and the recently announced Hyakki Castle seems just what the doctor ordered for Legend of Grimrock fans wanting another fix of dungeon exploration, party-building and monster-mashing, and it’s less than a month away.

Coming from new Japanese outfit Asakusa Studios, Hyakki Castle is almost exactly what you’d imagine a Japanese Grimrock would look like. Familiar grid-based, real-time movement, party-based combat and your usual assortment of puzzles and traps refreshed through a new environment and a gallery of weird monsters, spirits and fiends to bother. Check out this trailer:

Everything shown of the game so far should be familiar to fans of the sub-genre spawned by Dungeon Master way back in the ’80s, only with an Edo-period Japanese setting replete with all the myth & legend implied. Your party will be assembled from a mixture of human Samurai and Ninja, but also Oni (Ogres), Tengu (Long-nosed raven-demons) and Nekomata (Cat-people) among others, and plenty of strange creatures picked from Japanese folklore. How many do you recognise above?

Moving in the opposite direction to last month’s similarly-styled Vaporum, rather than boil the action down to a single party member, Hyakki’s Castle allows your 4-member party to split up and attack from two directions at once, splitting your field of view. The hand-eye coordination in order to do this well is going to be extreme, but it should make for a fun challenge; Like patting your head and rubbing your tummy, but with swords, while being menaced by Japanese ghosts. I have a feeling this may lead to some fiercely complex puzzles as well.

As an aside, It’s always good to see Gashadokuro (the giant skeleton in the trailer) finding work. It’s been a little thin on the ground ever since the Castlevania series fell out of vogue. You’d be surprised at how little demand there is for ‘Skeleton, But Huge’ roles in games these days, even if he has been at it for hundreds of years.

Hyakki Castle is due to release on November 15th, and is listed on Steam now if you want to wishlist, follow or otherwise track its release. Hit its official site for more.

14 Comments

  1. Eight Rooks says:

    I know this is real-time, but still, surely not that out of the ordinary considering Japan has been churning out Wizardry sequels, clones and assorted knockoffs filtered through their particular lens for donkey’s years? I don’t think it’s really as novel as you make it sound, beyond “Oh, hey, they’re doing Grimrock’s combat now” (and honestly there’s so many of these things I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I’d missed one that does it already. Don’t think so, mind).

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      I did mention that this particular formula dates back to Dungeon Master in the 80s. Grimrock is just the latest, most relevant point of reference due to its move to fully animated 3D everything.

      • Baines says:

        I think Eight Rooks’ point is that the article text makes it sound like Japan has just started copying the first-person dungeon genre thanks to Grimrock, when the genre never fell into stasis in Japan the way that it did in the West.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Well, at least Skeleton Huge is still getting work in film:

    link to youtube.com (Kubo is amazing by the way, if you haven’t seen it)

    • bill says:

      I’d like to see it, but it hasn’t been released here (Japan) yet.

      *checks imdb* Holy carp*! It’s actually coming out next month!
      *koi dajare.

  3. TΛPETRVE says:

    Eye of the Niohlder.

  4. Heimdall2061 says:

    I’m interested in the split-party dynamic as much as the neat setting. It feels like one step closer to my long-dreamt-of resurrection of Hired Guns. Someday…

    • Kefren says:

      I replayed the training missions of Hired Guns recently. Rock hard but with great sound and atmosphere. Never have puppies, sharks and Lemmings been so scary.

  5. Horg says:

    ”Your party will be assembled from a mixture of human Samurai and Ninja, but also Oni (Ogres), Tengu (Long-nosed raven-demons) and Nekomata (Cat-people) among others”

    You are wrong. The party will be comprised entirely of cat-people :3

  6. StrawberryJam says:

    Reminds me of a scene from the classic Japanese film Kwaidan (1965), where a blind minstrel is narrating a scene about a battle / mass suicide from the tale of the Heike:

    Definitely a creepy movie, with plenty of ghosts and goblins (yokai)–although they aren’t nearly as spectacular as the ones in this game (pretty good for ’65, though).

  7. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Japanese mythological monsters/creatures/kami/youkai/whatever are neat and weird from a western perspective, so this is going right on the list.

    Thanks for pointing this one out, RPS!

  8. Jernau Gurgeh says:

    I’m currently playing Grimrock 2 and reading ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet’. Perhaps I should just play this game instead to save a bit of time?

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