Wallachia: Reign Of Dracula Overview (Change)

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Captured on Nintendo Change (Docked)

French studio Migami Video games made a reputation for itself with wonderful Castlevania fan video games like The Lecarde Chronicles 1 and 2, however fan video games don’t hold the lights on or put meals on the desk, so the group has understandably embraced industrial ambitions with Wallachia: Reign of Dracula. One may anticipate that, given Migami’s pedigree and the presence of a sure world-famous literary vampire, that this might be a Castlevania-type recreation with the serial numbers filed off. However in observe, it’s truly fairly totally different, significantly being that the heroine, Elcin, wields a bow and arrow as her most important weapon. It ends in a recreation that feels extra like a basic run-and-gun akin to Contra or Rolling Thunder, with a tiny little bit of Shinobi blended in for good measure.

Elcin is kind of versatile together with her bow and might shoot in eight instructions, however she additionally wields a sword, which isn’t solely helpful for close-quarters fight however will also be used to slice enemy projectiles in mid-air. Particular arrows with restricted ammunition may be discovered as nicely, embrace piercing arrows, explosives, and three-way projectiles. Arrows will also be charged by holding down the assault button for extra highly effective blows.

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Captured on Nintendo Change (Handheld/Undocked)

Elcin can also be accompanied by the spirits of 4 helpers, whose talents may be chosen at any time and activated once you’ve collected sufficient orbs. The white wolf Silviu blazes throughout the display whereas Radu fires a flare that assaults all the pieces on the display. Providing totally different utilities, Christian can grant short-term invincibility whereas Konstantin can strengthen your arrows. Reasonably than floating candles or orbs, power-ups are dropped by useful birds that routinely fly on the prime of the display, requiring that you simply pay cautious consideration to them and shoot them precisely so you may seize their goodies. Enemies frequently drop gadgets too, encouraging you to slaughter as lots of them as potential.

Whereas many trendy indie retro throwbacks attempt to supply some concessions to the participant by making the problem stage extra manageable, Wallachia: Reign of Dracula has little endurance for such issues. It’s very a lot patterned after eight and 16-bit fashion motion video games, full with checkpoints and restricted lives. There is a straightforward mode, however in basic Konami fashion, you may solely play partway by way of the sport earlier than being requested to problem a tougher mode.

There are limitless continues, plus you may leap to any stage you’ve been to when beginning the sport, basically permitting you to save lots of your progress, so it’s not completely hardcore – but it surely’s positively a recreation that expects you to play, and die, and replay, a number of instances till you’ve memorized the extent layouts and boss patterns, and developed enough methods to beat them. A lot of the sport is comparatively beneficiant with this, with even handed checkpoints and quick ranges, although the final two turn into fairly a bit much less forgiving. Elcin can take 4 hits by default, so that you’ve obtained extra room for error than in your common Contra recreation.

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Captured on Nintendo Change (Docked)

For probably the most half, Wallachia: Reign of Dracula performs very nicely, providing full management over your character’s jumps and double jumps, and a button that retains Elcin in place whilst you purpose in any course (although there’s no strategy to strafe). A couple of management quirks manifest; there’s a slide transfer that’s executed by urgent down and leap, which is straightforward to make use of unintentionally, and ally particular assaults can’t be used when ducking, for some motive. There’s additionally an occasional glitch the place Elcin shoots out blanks when firing a stream of arrows. It’s uncommon sufficient that it’s not an enormous drawback, however it’s noticeable.

The problem, nevertheless, does comprise some kinks frequently seen in basic 2D motion video games. The ally particular assaults are vastly overpowered, and so they’re simply probably the most ultimate strategy to cheese bosses. When you’ve managed to play the stage all over with out dying, then you definately possible have sufficient orbs to easily overwhelm the end-of-level guardian. In the meantime, in case you die throughout the boss battle, your entire ammo is depleted, making it fairly a bit tougher, albeit not inconceivable. Many power-ups, significantly those that improve your weapons, disappear once you get hit, one thing that limits their usefulness.

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Captured on Nintendo Change (Handheld/Undocked)

The visuals in Wallachia: Reign of Dracula are very similar to Migami Video games’ different titles, using greater decision pixel artwork than most different retro video games. A pleasant contact is that the sport relies extra on the historic Vlad Tepes than Bram Stoker’s literary creation (and the numerous film monsters it impressed) that are typically featured in Castlevania video games. Many of the fodder enemies are human troopers, and harder foes embrace catapults, cavalrymen, and wood tanks. There’s even a boss combat that’s simply towards a small clock tower. That’s to not say there aren’t any supernatural enemies, although – it’s straightforward to overlook that “Dracul” means “dragon”, which is the shape the villain takes for the ultimate boss combat. A number of the battlefields are additionally stuffed with fallen troopers skewered on stakes, the horrific pastime that earned the true Vlad Tepes his notorious popularity.

The soundtrack is superb as nicely, with music that’s catchy in the identical manner as basic Castlevania tunes whereas nonetheless carrying their very own distinctive identification. Wallachia: Reign of Dracula additionally takes its story fairly critically, hiring prime identify Kira Buckland (2B from NieR: Automata) because the voice of Elcin, with Robert Belgrade (the unique voice of Alucard from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night time) showing as Radu. That’s fairly a little bit of effort put into it, contemplating that the plot is generally just a few bits of dialogue interspersed within the ranges and a few interstage narration. It is a disgrace, then, than the static art work which accompanies the cutscenes seems to be so primitive.

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Captured on Nintendo Change (Docked)

At seven levels, Wallachia: Reign of Dracula isn’t too lengthy, and whereas the problem could seem excessive at first, it’s nonetheless one thing that may be conquered with some tenacity. A tough problem mode is obtainable, in addition to a number of “challenges” for performing top-level feats, like beating a stage with out getting hit. The sport additionally retains data of greatest instances, making it an excellent candidate for velocity runs. There’s even an unlockable costume permitting Elcin to decorate up as Miriam from Bloodstained.


It may be extra old-school than different comparable video games, however Wallachia: Reign of Dracula nonetheless provides rewarding motion, skilful stage design, and a few wonderful music. With Konami seemingly content material to sleep on its widespread Castlevania sequence in the interim – exterior of smartphone video games, in fact – this (alongside the likes of Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon and its sequel) may be as shut as we’re prone to get to a brand-new “old-school” Castlevania outing on Change. It is a good job, then, that Migami Video games is aware of Konami’s franchise so nicely that it has created a really convincing imitation – however one which has sufficient concepts of its personal to face out from its inspiration.

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