Return to Castlerama Review
- Impressive use of lighting.
- Plenty of open space.
- Extremely limited interactivity.
- Plot delivered via huge blocks of dull text.
- No real incentive to explore.
- Slow walking speed frustrates.
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.
Description***PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS APP REQUIRES IPHONE 4S or later, IPAD 2 or later IPOD 5th GEN or later. THANKS. ***
Become David, the young son of Castlerama's herbalist, who accidentally discovers his noble identity and true destiny: to be the hero who frees the Gorendal Valley from absolute evil.
Move freely through spectacular medieval scenarios in a 3D open world, facing ever-changing challenges: adventures, fierce battles, flights, enigmas, card games, even moral dilemmas.
Live a unique gaming experience immersed in an epic soundtrack.
Developed by the computer research lab Codenrama, Return to Castlerama follows the May 2011 release of the demo, a “photorealistic walk” titled Castlerama, which became a viral international success with over 300,000 downloads.
Powered by Epic's cutting-edge Unreal Technology, R2C expands the boundaries of photorealism on mobile while providing a rich and varied gameplay.
From the press:
“Codenrama promises a twisty, unsettling tale in Return to Castlerama.”
Gamemag: www. gamemag.it
“Return to Castlerama: si tratta di un ambizioso progetto completamente italiano che punta a offrire una grafica e una profondità di gioco su dispositivo mobile paragonabili a quelle di un titolo per le piattaforme di gaming tradizionali. Codenrama ha allestito un'esperienza di gioco incantevole ed enigmatica.”
“R2C is an ambitious all-Italian project aimed at bringing to mobile devices the graphics and gameplay intensity found on traditional gaming platforms. Codenrama provides an enthralling and dynamic gaming experience.”
Compatible with iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod 5th generation, iPad2 or higher.
Supports full iPhone 5 resolution. Requires iOS 5.1 or later.