Lost Castle is a 2D single and multiplayer beat’em up, with RPG and Roguelike elements. What started as project among 3 friends during university, quickly became a full time project that lead them to win the first place at GameStart Asia, with the Visitor Choice Award, back in 2016.
Presented with a fantastic 2D western-cartoonish style, the game focuses mostly on action, and was both developed by Gary Ho and Kafeier Yang, with Vicent Chen as the only design artist on the game.
One will mostly stay focused on the gameplay, but there is a story behind all the action. There was once peace surrounding Castle Harwood, but it’s now lost to all sort of evil and devilish creatures. Of course where evil dwells, great treasures waits thee, and that’s where the player come in.
Imprisoned by goblins, you must escape the Tower of Goblins, and face these filthy creatures and their traps. Once you’re out into the Bramble Courtyard, you must traverse the dark and mysterious woods, surrounded by giant spiders, wild boars, poisonous plants and even trees with a bad attitude!
But if you survive, you’ll find yourself in The Secret Path, a hidden way inside the castle, but shortcuts don’t come out easy. The underground route proves to be the middle-game challenge, with molesharks, Mutant-Cyclop creatures and giant lizards. Skull Dungeon is what lies ahead, and it’s too late to give up now, after all, there are only deadly wizard skeletons and even more deadly traps!
The last and final destination, The Main Tower, where all sorts of unholy knights and demons await you, so you can finally defeat this dreadful curse.
Doesn’t seem like much of a gameplay variety, but it is, thanks to the randomize ability, the game won’t ever run twice the same for you. Although Hunter Studios claims there are randomly generated dungeons, it’s not quite like that. Each area stated above, from the 5 different locations, will pretty much remain the same, what does change however, are the secondary rooms, enemies, items, and the final boss.
Each location has a main path, where design changes slightly, but the atmosphere remains exactly the same. It’s not necessarily a complaint, in fact, it’s amazing how just two developers managed to build a system that overlooks the randomized events based on difficulty, and player’s abilities.
Mechanically, Lost Castle works just like other roguelike games, and you might be thinking of Rampage Knights, who came out just one year earlier, but there are distinct differences, especially when comes to gameplay. Lost Castle has a much slower improvement curve, and increasing your skills will barely make you notice any change until halfway through the playthrough!
Just like in many other roguelikes with RPG elements, you gain experience points by collecting enemies' souls based on your playthrough, and you can later invest in a bunch of different skills that improve your character. All these skills apply to your savegame, and changing the appearance of your hero won’t affect the stats. Increasing Critical attacks, Health points, Defense, Attack or Speed are just a few ones available.
(As you can see in the image above, the skill tree is pretty much straight forward, and once everything is maxed out, the Nightmare mode might not be that scary.)
There are New Game+ modes available as soon as you finish your first playthrough, where new enemies and ultimately, even new Boss’s show up. The same goes for items. Nightmare mode, however, is an extra difficulty that one can enable, and not only enemies will have more damage, but new variants of them with extra buffs will start showing up. This increases the difficulty tremendously, particularly if you are playing alone.
Lost Castle was originally designed to work as a single player and 2-player co-op, but in late November 2017, a 4-player co-op mode was finally added, making this entire adventure more fun and definitely more accessible!
One can enjoy this nice adventure by just how nice it looks. A lot of thought and dedication went to the artistic side of this game, and we shouldn’t forget that only one person worked on the design, and everything is hand-made!
Hero designs are based on simple, customizable characters, where the player can randomly change their appearance based on sex, skin tone, hair and beard styles and colors. Enemies share the same style, but with an evil, yet cute, attitude. Level design goes really well with the setting, creating the necessary smooth and appropriate atmosphere for each area accordingly.
(If you're lucky enough, you'll come across merchants that have useful items for your adventure.)
Special armor and weapons are always fun to use, in particular, weapons that can cast special effects such as the Black Hole, where the player summons a black hole (it’s actually purple and pink, but it’s still deadly!) that sucks all nearby enemies. Or the double-swords that cast a Crystal Wall, imprisoning enemies inside. These are just two of my favorite, but there are plenty more. Over 150 to be exact, but unless you go all the way through different New Game+, you might just end up with the same weapons again and again!
Even though the player starts with the traditional weapons from One Hand Sword, 2-Handed Swords, Bow or Staff, more will unlock as Bosses start falling on the ground. Weapon classes remain, and the same goes for armor, ranging from Light to Heavy, affecting the respective skills.
The weapon and armor designs are some of the most fun to look into. Some extras are even available, such as the extreme adorable Dino and Shark armor set, that pretty much makes you run around dressed as a tiny dinosaur or a shark. Unfortunately, such drops are rare, and can show up randomly.
Same goes for pets, as in many other RPG’s, you can also own pets in Lost Castle that will fight by your side, and if you’re not yet convinced, you can actually hatch a dinosaur egg, and feed him to be a full grown pet to help you, or at least to look cute next to your party!
What else does a game need to be cool? We have great design choices, a compelling gameplay, but what about the soundtrack? Well, the music was created by Damian Sanchez (Sonotrigger), and pretty much got the right spot for this game!
(Boss Slime is one of the very first bosses within the Tower of Goblins. This gelatin creature will most likely try to eat you!)
Lost Castle is one of those games you play preferable with your friends, either local co-op or online. There’s a lot of fun to be gained if all the players are friends, and can easily share the loot, laugh at each other, and have a good time.
Playing alone or with strangers, might result in a terrible perspective and repetitive and tiresome playthroughs. The same goes for achievement hunters, since the most valuable loot is so rare, it can quickly become a mere chore to complete.
The Lost Castle community is quite friendly and helpful, if you don’t have anyone to play with, drop at the game’s page on Reddit, or use Steam Forums to request help and support to defeat those evil monsters! In case you’re more of a console player, a Nintendo Switch version is currently under work, and it should be available later this year!