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Castle Pals review for PS4, Xbox One, Switch


Platform: PS4
Also on: PC, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Brad Erkkila
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

There’s really not much to say about Castle Pals that hasn’t been said about dozens and dozens and dozens of retro-platformers before it. It’s everything you’d expect from one of these games — pixel graphics, chiptunes soundtrack, fairly basic controls — with literally nothing else new or different added in.

You want to know specifics? Well, you have a pair of playable characters — the eponymous pals — and they each have their own powers. Kylee can punch, and Owen can fly thanks to a beanie propeller. Thanks to that propeller, Owen’s levels tend to be a little more vertical, but even then, we’re talking about a game where all the levels take place in a castle, so it’s not like there’s a lot of variety.

Around each level you’ll find all kinds of enemies and environmental hazards that look like they’ve come straight from an NES-era Mario game. The ghosts are the most egregious example, but the fireballs are a close second. I will note that the ghosts’ arrival — around level 19, right after your Platinum trophy pops — mark Castle Pals’ transformation from your standard platformer to one that’s a little bit tougher, since they require you to make a few more leaps (or, I guess, flights) of faith.

Even then, though, it’s not like Castle Pals changes into something we’ve never seen before. As I said, it’s the same as countless games that have come before it. If you like those other retro platformers, this one will probably be up your alley, but don’t expect anything you haven’t seen many times before.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Castle Pals PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: C