We recently ran an article talking about our favorite retro games, including the likes of Castlevania Bloodlines and Demon’s Crest. But, out of nowhere, Migami Games has created a game that could easily be a classic in a few years’ time – and something that’s sure to hit the spot as tonight’s spooky events take place.
In Wallachia: Reign of Dracula, now available for Nintendo Switch, you portray a female warrior on a mission to eradicate evil. This includes soldiers that will stop at nothing to mow her down, along with evil spirits that seem to have an agenda of their own. There is a little bit of story here, but it serves as a template for the action that’s included, with a mixture of hack-and-slash with run-and-gun, thanks to her unlimited arrows and specialty weapons.
It’s not a perfect game by any means, thanks to the slightly uneven difficulty and rough edges. But Migami Games has their heart in the right place with Wallachia, and it shows.
Weapons At The Fray
The main weapon your soldier uses is a bow and arrow, which she can utilize to hit enemies from afar. Some require more hits than others, and you’ll need to dodge attacks as you can only take so many hits before you die. But it’s a system that works, as she can shoot in multiple directions. In addition, she can also pick up special types of arrows to deliver extra damage, which come in handy against bosses.
She can also use her sword to hack enemies up close. It’s not really a button-mash style ability, as she can only slash once. Still, it’s handy if someone gets a little too close for comfort.
To provide additional assistance, she can also utilize spirit relief, including special creatures that grant additional abilities. Some grant temporary invincibility, while others help with a flashy even if there are only four in all.
Overall, I’m happy with how the game plays. As I mentioned, the difficulty can be rather heinous in places, but you’ll adapt your skills and get better as time goes on, and you’ll be able to start at the beginning of each level you clear. I do miss the idea of checkpoints here, but it’s not the end of the world.
A Great Throwback Presentation
Migami Games does an outstanding job with the game’s presentation. The level design is very inspired, with traps that pop up, soldiers that can literally come out of the woodwork (while screaming something at you to indicate they’re ready to fight), and neat multi-scrolling backgrounds that reminded me of Super Castlevania IV. They look great both in handheld mode and on TV, but, obviously, the bigger the better here. The animations are pretty good, though obviously not as fluid as, well, Symphony of the Night. No matter – they get the job done.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the throwback soundtrack, which reminded me of SOTN as well. It’s beautifully composed and rich with variety, and keeps you well into battle. The voicework is also inspired, not going too far into cornball territory but not going for the Oscar either. It’s just about right.
Short But Definitely Sweet
The only downside to Wallachia, aside from its difficulty, is its length. It only lasts about seven levels in all, and will take you a few good hours to get through. There are some neat unlockable skins to play around with, along with a harder difficulty and various challenges to complete, so there’s plenty to come back to. But you know how it is with these old-school games – it’s more about the journey than the destination.
Still, Wallachia is something special. It channels the classic Castlevania games of old while doing something special in its own right. For a small studio from France, Migami Games has created a pleasant surprise here, and one that’ll suit you while you go through the spooky season and beyond. Don’t hesitate to add this one to your library, especially if you grew up on all things Belmont.