Ritual: Crown of Horns (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Athanasios 09.11.2019

Review for Ritual: Crown of Horns  on Nintendo Switch

Pick up a stone, and you'll find a twin-stick shooter under it, with indie developers in particular giving birth to a new one every second Thursday - and most of these, if not all, end up on the Switch. To say it differently, why should you give a damn about one more? Draw Distance will tell you why: because in this town, you get to be an undead gunslinger, who shoots down bad guys in an occult flavoured version of the Wild West. Almost as fun as it is unrelenting, here's a look at Ritual: Crown of Horns.

The protagonist is a lone gun, tasked by the US government with the assassination of a certain witch. During that, however, he is murdered by some people of his "employers." Worry not. The witch does her necromancy thing, and you are ready to even the score with those pagan-looking cultists, who are now your new enemies. Surprisingly for what is nothing more than a simple twin-stick shooter, Ritual: Crown of Horns goes beyond providing an intro and calling it a day, as it actually has a story, with a decent amount of dialogue between the available characters.

Screenshot for Ritual: Crown of Horns  on Nintendo Switch

A good story? Well, it's passable. It's somewhat silly, but the silliness is handled in such a way that it's all enjoyable, but things are also somewhat forgettable, so the aforementioned silliness won't manage to scratch that b-movie itch. In other words, the plot is just 'there,' and, to be honest, it doesn't really matter, as the main meat in here is none other than the shooting business.

This plays as a horde-style shooter, where you have to kill wave after wave of bad guys, but there's a catch: you have to defend the witch at the centre of the "arena," so that she can complete her ritual, something that obligates all opposition with a powerful shockwave - and don't expect this to be a walk in the park. This is definitely one of the hardest games of its kind, with many stages having you struggle with keeping foes away from the witch.

Screenshot for Ritual: Crown of Horns  on Nintendo Switch

Apart from dealing with a large number of cultists, with some types (usually the faster ones) focused on killing only the hero, unlike... well, every other twin-stick shooter, you have to push a button to aim, which slows your movement quite a bit. This can be annoying at first, but it forces you to be concentrated on the battlefield, and thinking when to do what - something that also applies to the available arsenal, as each weapon behaves differently. Revolvers, for example, are fast and powerful, the shotgun is weaker, but bullets spread and hit many enemies, and the crossbow is even slower but can penetrate multiple foes with a single shot.

Here's the thing, though. Challenge is nice and all, but this can be a little bit annoying at times, and for several reasons. The first is that, while it's more about pattern learning that your actual skills with your gun. Of course, prioritisation isn't a bad thing per se; it's implementation is. In other words, this relies more in trial-and-error, than on your eyes, since you can't really see the whole stage, and can't really think which path you should defend first.

Screenshot for Ritual: Crown of Horns  on Nintendo Switch

Moreover, once done with a level, you really need to replay it and complete some extra challenges, which reward you with horns that can be used to buy new tools of the trade, which range from pieces of clothing that upgrade your passive skills, weapons upgrades, and even magic skills - and you'll definitely need these to keep moving on. The challenges, however, can frequently end up feeling quite aggravating due to how demanding they can be, at least for those who would prefer something less arcade-y in terms of difficulty.

Finally, those who are big on presentation will be disappointed with Ritual due to its bland, uninspiring visuals, which can even create some problems from time to time, as it's often hard to see what's what (fences, for instance). Weapon sounds are laughably weak, too. Plus, the witch's shockwave is devoid of any "punch," and as a result, isn't very satisfying when it eventually happens. Draw Distance spend all its talent in the cool, red and black loading screens, whose art style would fit right in the game. Speaking of loading times, though, prepare yourself for lots of 30-second long (and beyond) waits...

Screenshot for Ritual: Crown of Horns  on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Ritual: Crown of Horns is an enjoyable twin-stick shooter, with not much variety, but plenty of challenge - something that may or may not annoy some, due to how it's all executed. Moreover, while the occult gets mixed with a Wild West setting in here, in terms of presentation and atmosphere, Draw Distance's creation is underwhelming at best.

Developer

Draw Distance

Publisher

Feardemic

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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

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