And now, a proper game. Hydra Castle Labyrinth is a Japanese action-platformer with some RPG-ish elements, easily comparable to titles such as The Maze of Galious or La-Mulana, just a lot cuter, and probably much more forgiving.
Featuring a large dungeon to crawl divided in different zones, and tons of enemies to kill, a number of bosses, several secrets, and plenty of power-ups, this little game has little to be ashamed of. Controls, mostly. Jumps are a bit tricky (not to the point of La-Mulana, thank goodness) and your knight has serious troubles to jump off ladders, as you can easily see in the video above. This can get a bit maddening when you see danger coming slowly towards you as your character descends (or ascends) at an even slower pace directly to take damage, but on the other hand this is in part an actual mechanic of the game, by design, forcing you to time your movements to avoid taking hits. Not too natural for anyone who ever played this kind of games, but tolerable and certainly not deal breaking, once you get used to it.
By the way, the soundtrack is fantastic.
The game is in Japanese, which I’m assuming nobody reading this blog speaks. Thankfully, for those of us unable to make any sense out of kanjis, there’s an English patched version on RGCD.
A solid (and free!) experience that will get you hooked for at least a couple of days, once you get past the initial awkwardness of the ladder controls. 7/10.