Cid is a demon who owns a castle in a town called Darkestville. His hobbies include tormenting people, playing pranks, and coming up with clever plans. After some unfortunate events, his precious pet fish has been kidnapped. This is the beginning of the point-and-click adventure in Darkestville Castle. Find meaningless items that actually have a purpose to progress the story along. You have three basic actions that can be used on various things in the world; the interactions are talking, grabbing, and inspecting. You may also combine items together to get something completely new. Cid will have to use his ruthless intelligence to save his pet and take back his castle.
Here’s what I liked:
Demonically Funny — Humor can be found throughout the entire game. It’s full of clever gags centered around a charmingly evil character. A lot of the funny parts can be missed if you’re not inspecting and clicking on everything. It’s not just every now and then either but makes up the majority of the dialogue. It doesn’t even get old; it sets a tone that lets you relax from your serious, real-life situations. The script is well-written and the lines are delivered just about perfectly.
Outside the Box — While sharing the same type of puzzle-solving as most point-and-click games, one thing that really stands out is the absurdity. The answers are not always clear. One example is a blind tourist who won’t drink from his glass, which has alcohol in it. You must get this glass and the solution is putting a roll of toilet paper inside of it, which he drinks. Why would one ever think to put this item in a glass? While it doesn’t make much sense, it is a humorous puzzle that means a lot of times you must try random interactions. While there are no real objectives listed anywhere, you just find out what to do next by talking and interacting with everything and everyone. If you’re not using a guide, it can be quite satisfying to complete each segment.
An Evil Story — The basis for the adventure starts out with needing to save a kidnapped fish. A human who lives in the town is tired of Cid always causing trouble. He hires some hunters and has them show up at the castle. With mistaken identity, they believe Cid was actually the one who paid them. They take the fish thinking it’s the demon. Locked in a chest, Cid must collect the keys from each hunter to unlock it. Once this happens, all the demons they have captured are released and you must then save the actual hunters in order to take back your castle which has been taken over by a demon who’s “the boss”. This makes up for not only a funny story but one that actually is stitched together into something quite special. I really hope they create a sequel because it was a genius way of storytelling.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Clicking Around Town — Walking to certain areas can be missed sometimes. The camera doesn’t always move unless you walk to the very edge of the screen. Because you can investigate things from afar, this caused me to not always see the rest of an area. It also causes more traveling than needed because you sometimes had to walk to the end of an area to be able to exit. I would rather there just be the option to exit wherever you were. Just like the conversations, this isn’t really going to ruin anyone’s experience but could be adjusted to make things even more enjoyable.
End of Conversation — More of a pet peeve I guess is how conversations are handled. Sometimes you click on the wrong thing you’ve already read. So you spam the A button to continue the dialogue, only to mistakenly hit the same one again because it went too fast. Also, the dialogue options don’t “grey out” after you’ve read them. This means you don’t always know what was clicked on. It’s not really a huge deal, but it’s enough to be a little annoying at times. It could just be my impatience, but I’m sure I won’t be alone in wishing I knew what I read and could hit a button to end the conversation without having to tell the person I was done talking.
It’s been a while since I played a great point-and-click game. The humor and story are among the best I have experienced so far. Comedy comes in many forms, and subtle and dry humor can be hit-and-miss for people. While it’s my favorite type, I know many people who wouldn’t find it funny. Also, the randomness of some of the puzzles could make it difficult for some people to complete the game. While there is some room for minor adjustments and polish, the overall enjoyment can overshadow any small negatives. The only thing stopping someone from liking it is their own taste. I played it all in one sitting and had zero issues. Even the loading times were quite fast. At a technical level, it’s smooth and is impressive in quality. After playing the demo I knew it would be something I needed to finish. I would suggest this to any fans of the genre, especially for those who enjoyed (and remember) Monkey Island.
Score: Must Buy
Darkestville Castle was published Buka Entertainment by and developed by Epic Llama on Xbox One. It was released on August 13, 2020, for $14.99.