Darkestville Castle (PC) Review

By Adam Riley 15.10.2017

Review for Darkestville Castle on PC

Some point-and-click adventures play it too safe, either remaking old classics or sticking to a by-numbers approach, whilst others go out of their comfort zone in an attempt to either shock gamers or legitimately try something fresh and new. Some impress (Tokyo Dark, Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure, Four Last Things), a few land in the middle ground (Bear With Me, Minecraft: Story Mode - The Complete Adventure, Thimbleweed Park), whilst others fail to hit the spot (Bulb Boy, Syberia 3), but where does Darkestville Castle fall? Looking like a mixture of Monkey Island and something from the mind of Tim Burton, it runs the risk of not having its own identity, yet it definitely navigates its way to the right side of paying tribute to other sources - as opposed to plagiarising - whilst bringing along a massive dose of creativity, humour, and sheer enjoyment, making it one that fans of the genre simply should not overlook.

Wander around different areas, collect various objects to store in an inventory, try to use them (or combine some and then use them) to pass onto other people or interact with items of scenery in the hopes of triggering a form of reaction or new event occurrence, speak to anyone and everyone in sight to gather clues for how to possibly crack other conundrums at hand, and then rinse and repeat until the scenarios placed before you are overcome. Give or take a few twists from developers for the sake of uniqueness, that is the point-and-click genre in a nutshell, and Darkestville Castle, from Epic Llama and Buka Entertainment, is cut from that very same cloth…and despite sounding mundane on paper, oh boy is it a great cloth indeed!

The lead character in this particular variation on the theme, is Cid, a demon that aims to wreak havoc on the people of Darkestville. He once stole one sock from every pair, so people were merely left with odd socks. Quite shocking, right? Truly a dastardly chap, which is why his arch enemy, the geeky-looking and bespectacled Dan Teapot, decides to hire a motley crew - The Romero Brothers, who actually have a rather voluptuous female member… - to banish Cid from the world forever. A series of user-driven events lead to a reversal in fortunes, though, some of which are beneficial to Cid, others not quite so much, but all of which are very entertaining for those in control.

Screenshot for Darkestville Castle on PC

Thus ensues some madcap mayhem, encountering all sorts of weird and wonderful characters on a journey to right many, many wrongs - most of which are self-inflicted by the mishaps of Cid. It is also an adventure that elevates itself above many higher end productions in this field. Sure, it has some rough edges, like spelling or grammar mistakes cropping up in the script from time to time, or a voice actor pronouncing something differently to another, but this is a project by a small team that clearly has a great love and understanding for what made the LucasArts (et al) classics so great, and any minor issues are easily overlooked.

It may not be overwhelmingly hilarious, but there are plenty of titters throughout or, at least, frequent wry smiles, plus the puzzles are highly inventive (sometimes a little outlandish, but purposely so), with solutions that get the brain working, yet never come across as too unfair. The voice acting, despite one person pretty much doing the entire array of characters, is also of extremely high quality, which adds so much life to the adventure, along with the sublime soundtrack that feels like it was composed for a new Monkey Island.

There are so many positives to be levelled at Darkestville Castle that its biggest downfall is when it eventually ends…but even then, it is not over too soon, with a good four or five hours of straight gaming to get through to the final credits, and that is for someone quite au fait with the style of puzzles found in these sorts of games. Okay, some leaps of faith are required with the combination of items in the inventory, but that is a hurdle that affects some titles more than others - at least here it never becomes burdensome trying to get to the root of a problem Cid is currently faced with. Everything is expertly balanced throughout.

Screenshot for Darkestville Castle on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Darkestville Castle never hides the source of its inspiration, but it matters not as this is no mere cheap imitation, instead proving to be a love letter to the classics in the point-and-click genre. It easily matches some of the best of yesteryear, whilst retaining a fantastic fresh feeling, bringing along very inventive puzzles, plus a humorous and engaging script, all wrapped up in a gorgeously presented package. Hopefully, this is not the last time Cid Threep…sorry, Cid the Demon gets to go on a zany adventure.

Developer

Epic LLama

Publisher

Buka Entertainment

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Sep 2017   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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