We would’ve been content enough with the masterful Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night from Igarashi-san and company when it released last year, if only because we’ve been waiting for ages for our Symphony of the Night itch to be scratched. But Inti Creates launched a surprise from left field with the 8-bit style Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, a thrilling throwback title that fit right in with the short but sweet legacy of the series. And now, while we wait to see what Igarashi has planned next, that team has already returned with a sequel.
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 pretty much picks up where the first game left off, with a handful of characters battling evil forces with an array of weapons. Like before, you can switch between these heroes with ease, using their abilities to access new areas and uncover secret goodies. But is the adventure worth it the second time around? We’d definitely say yes.
Some New Faces To Join the Old
The only returning character from the first game is Zangetsu, the warrior who’s relentlessly hunting down enemies. He’s joined by a number of favorites, particularly Dominique, an exorcist who knows a thing or two about using her spear; as well as Robert, who can nail enemies from afar with his rifle; and Hachi, a dog that can summon a demon tank. Yes, you read that right. You might’ve seen him in Ritual of the Night; and now he’s on full display here.
You can balance between characters to find all the goodies within the game, and use them against some of the mega-bosses here, which are better designed than the original game. They require a lot of damage and a bit of strategy, including a weird pseudo-train boss with a hero embedded on the front, complete with shield. It’s just…odd. But fun in its own Bloodstained sort of way.
What’s great is how Curse of the Moon 2 lets you revisit completed stages. This is ideal when you unlock all the characters, as you can explore unreachable areas and even take on new strategies for bosses to wipe them out much more quickly. And each one has something special, though, honestly, Hachi is likely to be your real favorite here. Let’s be honest.
The gameplay is exquisite and just as solid as the original game, if not a little more refined. Death can still come cheap in certain areas, just like the Castlevanias of old; but it’s about what we’d expect with the territory, so that’s not entirely a bad thing.
And what’s more, collecting everything in the game unlocks an ending that really wraps up the adventure nicely. It’s worth the effort.
A Presentation To Be Proud Of
Inti Creates once again pays full-on tribute to the classic Castlevania games with Curse of the Moon 2. Its 8-bit heritage shines in every aspect of the game, from the multi-scrolling backgrounds that are reminiscent of Dracula’s Curse past to the neat little animations. And what’s more, the level design is stunning, even if it’s not an open world like Ritual of the Night. Its point A-to-point B method works just as well as the first game.
I also liked the mid-stage sequences, which not only get you acquainted with each character’s abilities but also lets them interact with each other in humorous ways. They’re short but definitely sweet.
And the music is awesome, dare I say. It sounds like something you’d hear from the Castlevania games of old, taking advantage of 8-bit processing like a champ. Not to mention the sound effects resemble something from the NES era as well. It all sounds wonderful, especially on a headset. There are no character voices, but they aren’t really needed here.
Accept This Curse As Your Own
I’d like to think that Curse of the Moon 2 continues to move the Bloodstained series along in its own special way. It improves upon components from the first game, while at the same time introducing effective and memorable characters (HACHI!) that really add something. Some more stuff to do after collecting everything would’ve been ideal, but overall, this is one Curse that’s well worth the acceptance.
A sequel that continues to carry the Bloodstained name with pride, Curse of the Moon 2 is worth partaking.
Streamer and Cosplay Enthusiast