Indie developer Epic Llama presents a quirky point and click adventure title as their second entry onto Steam. Darkestville Castle follows the expected tropes from this genre but offers something fairly endearing in amongst its somewhat forced comedy and relatively un-imaginative ideas.
Darkestville Castle has its flaws, but it is by no means an un-enjoyable experience. The puzzles are somewhat obscure, which is not unexpected in an adventure game, the story is quite basic and the characters are one dimensional, but the different elements are combined successfully and actually result in a game that you can’t help but crack a smile to.
You play as Cid, a mischievous demon who is constantly on the lookout for new ways to inflict his dastardly plans upon the residents of Darkestville. In a strange turn of events some demon hunters are hired to take you out, but somehow they take away your mutant fish Domingo instead. In a quest to retrieve your beloved pet Domingo from his prison, you must outwit the demon hunters, which in turn leads you to other adventures and perils as the game moves forward. A simple but easy to follow storyline that progresses smoothly and allows plenty of time to get to know the other characters in the world as you move around each area solving puzzles and combining items in ways you would never think to consider outside an adventure game.
The gameplay itself is very simple and there is no learning process as such, particularly if you’re familiar with adventure games. Some backtracking may be required as certain items that are required to solve puzzles are fairly easily miss-able the first time around and some of the solutions are obscure enough to potentially require looking up a guide. The bizarre item combinations do however add to the game’s overall level of amusement and achieve the level of quirkiness that Darkestville Castle is clearly aiming for.
Cids voice acting can become grating at times, but in general, the voice acting and overall sound design of the game is very good. The dialogue becomes somewhat irritating at points due to a lot of the jokes being a bit wooden and there being a slightly overwhelming volume of them, but it just about gets away with this due to the nature of the game as a whole. Cid shapes up to be a comical anti-hero with a lot of hair-brained ideas, offering a decent slice of dark humour alongside his more facepalm-inducing jokes. The roster of other characters offers numerous shortlived but individual people, ensuring that every new place brings you face to face with someone fairly odd.
The hand-drawn art style will be a sure-fire hit with fans of this genre. The visuals work well throughout the game, creating a colourful game world and enjoyable atmosphere to go hand in hand with the comedic dialogue. Brighter saturated colours contrasted with dark blues and purples enhance the cartoon feel of the game while maintaining the shadowy appearance of a lot of the game areas.
Darkestvilles music in game isn’t especially memorable, but it provides sufficient background noise and blends in nicely with the visuals and gameplay. It is the most average aspect of this game, but thankfully this does not detract from the overall experience as it at no point makes itself overly present.
An engaging, funny and ultimately enjoyable title, Darkestville Castle has a storyline and entertainment level to make its price tag worthwhile. A focus on an amusing story with minimal frustrations preventing you from having a good time with this game. Lacking original ideas but still, a must try for those who enjoy point and click adventure games.