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Return to Castlerama Review

By Dave Flodine, on July 3, 2013
Last modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago


Return to Castlerama
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Impressive use of lighting.
  • Plenty of open space.

CONS

  • Extremely limited interactivity.
  • Plot delivered via huge blocks of dull text.
  • No real incentive to explore.
  • Slow walking speed frustrates.

VERDICT

While committed adventure game fans might be able to excuse some of Return to Castlerama's many faults, most gamers will not be satisfied by wandering around picking up scrolls.


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When Castlerama was released in 2011, it was described by its creators as a “photo-realistic walk”. Its apparent success has led to a full fledged game known as Return to Castlerama. In this case, the term 'photo-realistic walk' is only partially apt. While the are some nice lighting effects, it's hardly what we would call photo-realistic. But you definitely do a lot of walking.

You play as David, the son of a herbalist who discovers that he has a greater destiny as saviour of the Gorendal Valley. While this set-up could intriguing tale, it is undercut at every turn by a narrative which is delivered via several scrolls containing huge chunks of text. These seemingly random parchments offer the only form of interaction in the early game. You walk around, pick up some scrolls, maybe find a tarot card.

And that's it. You can jump and run and look around, but it's all to no end. For instance, once you leave your house you encounter merchants around the town. You quickly realise that unless they're tied to the rudimentary puzzle you're trying to solve, you can't interact with any of them. You don't even know which doors you can enter unless you walk up to them and get a prompt to go inside.

This lack of interactivity is made worse by the movement controls. It seems that we're supposed to slowly roam around the world marvelling at the landscape. But when ninety percent of the game consists of trudging around at a snail's pace, it really puts you off exploring further. And, while the lighting is decent, the rest of the presentation is not all that impressive. The humans models look downright creepy. While the world is large, especially when you get outside the city gates, it's not rich or impressive enough to justify all the trudging about.

It seems that effort gone into creating the world and lore of Return to Castlerama. It's also obvious that the creators had a story they wanted to tell. Somewhere in the process, though, they forgot about the gameplay. Some might have the patience to press forward regardless. But ultimately, this is a highly niche title, one that even adventure game fans are going to have a hard time enjoying.

Screenshots

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Comments

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Omnias 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Not to mention the price of $5. Pricy and boring? Fail.