Hot off Konami’s announcement at Tokyo Game Show 2019, Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls takes the beloved side-scrolling explorer/brawler to your mobile devices. Here’s everything we know about it so far.
In Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls, You play as one of five legendary heroes pulled from the rich history of the Castlevania franchise namely: Simon Belmont (Castlevania, Simon’s Quest), Alucard (Dracula’s Curse, Symphony of the Night), Charlotte Aulin (Portrait of Ruin, Harmony of Despair), Shanoa (Order of Ecclesia) and Maria Renard (Rondo of Blood). Each character will have their own unique sets of skills and abilities which reflect their previous iterations in their respective games. There will also be a slew of Assist Summon Characters that pop up during gameplay and unleash their “EX Skill” on enemies. These include other series favorites such as Richter Belmont (Symphony of the Night, Rondo of Blood) Trevor Belmont (Dracula’s Curse); and Albus (Order of Ecclesia). With the title being a free-to-play mobile game you can expect other beloved characters to jump on at some point as a playable character or summon by way of downloadable content and/or microtransactions.
Grimoire of Souls also has a unique single player storyline specially crafted for the mobile game. Admittedly, it does borrow a few narrative elements such as characters from different eras coming together and the titular Grimoire from some of the previous Castlevania games, specifically Castlevania: Harmony of Despair. However it’s still a much appreciated touch to have a dedicated story to frame the game’s action rather than just a loose narrative back drop. Additionally, the story itself centers around a character from my favorite Castlevania, Aria of Sorrow so that’s always going to be plus for me.
The official synopsis of the story is as follows:
“A future where Count Dracula has been completely destroyed. It seemed like eternal peace came upon the world. However, a letter delivered to Genya Arikado was about to put an end to that peaceful era. In order to verify the meaning of the words written in the letter—“The Grimoire has ran wild and Count Dracula will be resurrected”—Genya Arikado heads off towards the letter’s sender…”
The gameplay seems to follow the traditional side-scrolling hack and slash that the series is known for. Using on-screen buttons and swipes, you can navigate the various levels, battle enemies and cast powerful spells and abilities much like the console versions of the game.
There will also be a Levelling System which allows you to improve your characters skills and abilities as you progress further in the game. The game will also allow players to customize their characters with various alternate skins culled from previous games, such as Simon’s Castlevania Chronicles outfit or a Genya Arikado Skin for Alucard.
At the time of writing, there are three available game modes: Story Mode, where you play through the game’s unique single player campaign in the vein of the classic Castlevania games; and Cooperative mode, where you and a buddy can run through the game’s story, similar to the Co-Op Mode in Harmony of Despair; and the new multiplayer mode called Bounty Hunt which appears to be like a Horde Mode of sorts where you and up to three of your friends are locked in an arena-style stage fighting monsters within a designated time limit.
There’s also a few added features and extras such as classic soundtracks that you can unlock via what appears to be the games’s jukebox/ BGM Player. Hopefully, there will other cool unlockables like this in the final game.
I think taking Castlevania to mobile is a surprisingly good direction for the franchise. I can see the the series’ side-scrolling hack and slash gameplay as a good fit with mobile devices, provided the on-screen controls are tight and responsive enough. Castlevania has always been a very input execution-heavy game and a lot of Grimoire of Souls’ success will have to hinge on how good the controls are.
As stated earlier, the unique narrative, complete with traditional style dialogue cutscenes, is a good touch. At the very least, there’ll be something to sink our collective teeth into story-wise rather than just having mindless action. This could have just been an endless runner, considering how the series has languished in the recent years.
I’m not too worried about Microtransactions, as GoS is a free-to-play mobile game after all. If the base game is polished and well crafted enough, I won’t mind being offered to pay for in-game currency or skins and items to support the developers. I might even buy some.
Basically our hot takes on Castlevania boil down to one thing: If the final version of Grimoire of Souls has as much love and care put in to it as it appears to be then Castlevania might find a new home on mobile and we’ll be waiting in the wings to play it.
Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls will be free-to-play so you have to expect that there will be some form of microtransactions in the final version. The game will be available for both Android and IOS devices and is scheduled to release sometime in 2019.
Look forward to a future edition of our mobile games spotlight The Download where we really dive into Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls when it releases. Till then, please check out our previous spotlights on a mobile Dungeons and Dragons game, a story-driven journey through time, and a found footage style mobile game,