The term ‘spiritual successor’ is bandied about a lot. It’s a double-edged term, really, one that not only enables a new game to piggyback onto an already-established, popular franchise but also imbues it with palpable – and occasionally unobtainable – expectation.
That was my fear, at least initially, with Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. A Castlevania game in all but name, it burst onto Kickstarter as one of crowdfunding’s most notable and successful campaigns, but with every delay and every change, it felt as though the dream of creator Koji Igarashi was fading. Fans began to worry. Is Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night just another Kickstarter failure?
Whilst, admittedly, it lacks a last-minute coat of perfecting polish, Bloodstained is a delightful traditional 2D platformer stuffed with charm, humour, and astonishing attention to detail. Offering a meaty campaign, multiple endings and numerous side quests and collectables, Bloodstained is a perfect blend of contemporary design with old-school mechanics.