Cathedral (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Athanasios 02.11.2022

Review for Cathedral on Nintendo Switch

The metroidvania "sub-genre" is undoubtedly the luckiest one. For some unknown reason there just aren't many bad titles to talk about, even after a bazillion of different indie titles. Even the specimens that can be described as mediocre, tend to be somewhat fine-polished pieces of software. They won't rock your world, but they can be enjoyable, as the core loop of non-linear exploration, constant flow of new tools and upgrades, and cerebral approach to exploration remains pretty much the same from game to game. Here's the thing, though. There are many gems in the genre, which makes it hard to recommend titles that are just decent, and sadly, Decemberborn Interactive's Cathedral is exactly that. It does everything right… but doesn't do enough to stand from the crowd.

From the very first moments there's a feeling that Cathedral was made by a competent team, that knows what it is doing, but there's also a feeling of it being a pale imitation of other likeminded titles. The hero, a silent knight clad in red armour, is basically the boring cousin of Shovel Knight; the 8-bit-esue visuals are neat, but looks… stock, whereas something like Astalon: Tears of the Earth has a more distinct character; the chiptune OST is reminiscent of the NES, but forgettable, and so on and forth.

The core gameplay loop is metroidvania 101. The purpose is to explore a large map, which is broken down into smaller chunks, gain lots of upgrades, and backtrack to previous areas to discover more upgrades, or hidden secrets. It's good, but maybe formulaic to a fault, as it doesn't do much to stand out. The biggest problem isn't the fact that it lacks originality when it comes to the Knight's equipment. No, the main issue is the uninspired-to-decent level design. Most of the time you just go through the motions, with little in the way of challenge.

Screenshot for Cathedral on Nintendo Switch

Speaking of challenge, while Cathedral is somewhat easy, it actually manages to feel as if this isn't really the case, mainly due to how enemy behaviour and placement feels as if its sole purpose is to aggravate… usually in the age-old tradition of knocking you out of platforms. It's especially annoying when death comes, as the Knight returns to the last checkpoint, and also loses 10% of gained gold. More importantly, you lose any additional boosts, like for example a perk that doubles the Knight's max health - and yet this can't really be described as a difficult trek. Enemy encounters and traps are basically nuisances no matter how skilled you are or aren't.

Now, in case it hasn't been made clear yet, this isn't bad. It's a well-crafted product that's just a bit underwhelming. In a season of draught it will surely quench the thirst of those who want to spend a bunch of hours exploring a vast, colourful labyrinth choke full of secrets and items. The thing is… there's never been a season of draught when it comes to metroidvanias these past years. There's always something very good to try out - and if that fails, you can always go back to the classics.

Screenshot for Cathedral on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Cathedral is basically 10 to 15 hours of decent exploration, with some decent upgrades to find, which will help you fight some decent boss fights, while enjoying the decent retro audio-visuals. Sadly, that's the best thing this has to offer: a decent time. In a sea of similar games, there's little reason to spend any time in here, unless a collector of all things metroidvania.

Developer

Decemberborn Interactive

Publisher

Elden Pixels

Genre

Action Adventure

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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