Developer: Migami Games
Platform: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch (Coming Soon)
Publishers: PixelHeart, Storybird Studio
"Review Code Provided by Developer"
Retro style indie gaming has been doing so well with so many titles that have come out from Bloodstained to Shovel Knight to Gunvolt and more and now we have another game to look forward to in Wallachia: Reign of Dracula!
The Dragon, Prince Vlad Tepes the Impaler, is roaming Wallachia and hunting down all who are of the Boyar family. Prince Dracula slayed the family of protagonist Elcin and took her brother. Elcin runs into Christian Rosenkreuz and a white wolf named Silviv; Christian implores her to join them as he promises to protect her and make her his apprentice. 6 Years later in the court of Mehmed II in 1462, The king demands the head of Vlad Dracula amidst his court of which Christian and Elcin are apart. The king bemoans of Vlad’s refusal to pay tribute to his brother Radu of which Radu proclaims that Vlad knew what he was doing due to his arrogance and admits that he must be stopped even despite being his own blood.
Elcin argues for the right to go after Vlad to which the king says that she should stay to serve his sexual needs instead which prompts Elcin to fire an arrow at the king pinning his apple to his throne. Impressed by this, the king tells his guards to give Christian and Elcin all the supplies that they will need and tells Radu and Konstantin to aid them in their journey to hunt down the Impaler.
If you were expecting this to play like the Lecarde Chronicles or classic Vania then you’ll be in for a surprise as when it comes to the gameplay of Wallachia it plays more like a Shinobi game mixed with Contra. Let me quantify this because from a visual perspective you would expect it to play like Vania but it doesn’t at all and is Shinobi in nature.
You have at your disposal unlimited standard arrows that can be interchanged with other arrows that you pick up along the way, you also have access to a sword for close range attacks that allow you to destroy boxes and get enemies that run up on you and it does even more damage when you find the sword upgrade which lasts until you get hit. You also get access to more powerful abilities that you can use that come from your companions that you see in the cutscenes giving you either screen nuke abilities or attack buffs and more but at the cost of points that you accumulate throughout the course of the levels.
The bow attack allows you to shoot in 8 directions in rapid succession with the ability to shoot down power ups from birds flying overhead and to hit enemies of which majority of your enemies will only take about 1 hit to go down in Contra/Kung Fu fashion but then you will sometimes get enemies that take between 2-4 hits to take down with normal arrows and they can sometimes hit like a truck but like all retro style games all enemies have patterns which you can figure out after a moment or two.
The game looks incredibly detailed with character models with many points of details from the characters clothing to the backgrounds and more. The amount of detail in the animation of the characters is nice as the game has a pre-Koji Igarashi Castlevania look to it; think Castlevania Bloodlines and Super Castlevania 4 aesthetics and there you go. If you told me that this was a 16-bit game, then I’d believe you as it no doubt would feel right at home on the Sega Genesis and utilizing that Blast Processing power!
Cut scenes are done in a meticulously hand drawn style that is breath taking to say the least. While shown in stills, it no doubt showcases tremendous detail in displaying action and emotion.
The ambience and stage themes are well done and have a strong Vania-style with its dark and brooding vibe. The voice acting is superb with Robert Belgrade of Symphony of the Night fame and Kira Buckland of Nier Automata and more!
Because this is an arcade style game, you will die a lot…. ALOT! This is an extremely hard game that will be a boon to fans of the old quarter muncher games but will not be something many newer gamers who prefer hand holding will enjoy. That is the downside, the difficulty. The upside; THE DIFFICULTY! In other words; GIT GUD!
If you are expecting this to be a Castlevania clone, then you will be disappointed as this is not at all that even if aesthetically it looks the part; gameplay wise its more akin to Shinobi and Gunstar Heroes. If you can get past that part along with tremendous difficulty, then you will find a game with a lot to love, deep lore, fantastic graphics, and engaging and challenging gameplay that will be a game that deserves to be in your collection!