Game review Romancelvania by genre Action, Adventure, Indie, RPG developed by The Deep End Games and released date at 7 Mar, 2023.
Boyfriend Dungeon helped me prepare for Romania. Without it, I might have been dubious about Romancelvania’s combination of courting sim and Metroidvania. Boyfriend Dungeon demonstrated, however, that the courting simulation can have two distinct genres. It meant that when I sat down to play Romancelvania, I was less concerned and more enthusiastic about its combination of Metroidvania and dating sim elements. I anticipated it with some degree of anticipation.
Romancelvania is the tale of Drac, who handled a breakup particularly poorly and has spent the past century moping around his mansion. He has neglected his kingdom for so long that the Grim Reaper has become restless, so his friends have put on a reality dating game-show, a sort of Love (Dead) Island, with Drac at its center, in the hopes that it will get Drac’s – and the kingdom’s – blood pumping again.
The game show is the courting simulation aspect. It formed the structure of Romancelvania, as I was compelled to first locate my suitors in the expansive grounds of Drac’s mansion and complete smaller tasks for them before dating them. Then, I used a Big Brother-style chair to evict the suitor with whom I had the weakest connection, acquiring their gameplay perks and working towards a new set of suitors to add to the ones I already had. The cycle of courtship, dating, and abandonment would continue until the ideal candidate was chosen.
Watch gameplay of “Romancelvania Action Adventure Indie & RPG Game” on YouTube below:
As with most relationships, my experience with dating simulations was difficult. There is a great deal to appreciate. Initially, there is a refreshing non-binary, sex-positive approach to partners. Whether you’re a dominant or submissive, heterosexual or homosexual, a fan of animated objects or the macabre, there’s something here for you. You can even play Drac as a cis or transgender male or female. And the characters are a lot of fun, a wild cast of sexualized Hammer Horror monsters that may disclose a sexual soft spot you were unaware you had.
They are also well-written and acted. Occasionally, I cringed at poor jokes or an overabundance of modern references, but I viewed it as something that goes along with the milieu. Considering that this is a reality program set in Transylvania, some dissonance is inevitable. However, the majority of the characters are distinct, the dialogue is witty, and the voice acting is particularly excellent. Manifestly, the voice actors participated in the schmoozing.
When the courting sim elements were integrated into the game’s structure, however, I felt that things fell apart. I found the cycle of finding a partner and then courting them to be overdone and reminiscent of “been there, done that” There are candidates who appear in the last eight or nine hours of Romancelvania whom I simply did not get to know well. I guessed incorrectly as to whether or not they would be entertaining. They were more superficial than the previous companions I had abandoned, and I immediately regretted my choice.
The characters you choose provide substantial buffs, but I was forced to choose between a character I admired and one with numerous gameplay advantages. Brocifer was a jock-like demon who always had his digital waggle-stick out, but I kept him around because I knew he had some of the finest buffs. Brocifer, it’s not because I like you.
It leaves the romance sim content somewhat unbalanced. Participation is enthralling despite the fact that the execution is delectable but the concept is structurally flawed. The carrot kept me moving forward despite the fact that ‘-vania’ did its damnedest to beat us with the stick. In fact, we wanted to sharpen that stick and thrust it into the core of the Metroidvania genre.
Almost all of the Metroidvania segments take place on the grounds of Drac’s mansion. These sections are not well incorporated into the game show’s narrative, so they feel like filler material. The Deep End Games tosses ghosts, statues, werewolves, and skeletons at you in an effort to make your search for a character for the show more exciting.
The mansion’s navigation is not gratifying. For starters, there is no map, so it is possible to get confused due to unclear objectives (a pause menu vaguely points you in the right direction) or confusion regarding the location of each location. The lack of an overarching structure in the mansion makes it simple for the hallways, attics, and gardens to blur together. The absence of teleport portals and save chambers makes everything more difficult than it should be.
However, the combat caused me to moan and grimace. Almost all of the weapons I unlocked were terrible, and each one was worse than the previous. A sword is splashy, providing no sensation of impact and minimal damage. With each swipe, a spear performs a half-hearted dash, causing me to seize on the end of an opponent’s sword. Because it takes so long to wind up a hammer, I had forgotten that I had pressed the trigger. A Belmont-like lash is the only remedy, but it arrives so late that the damage has already been done.
Special moves can be acquired from potential allies, but they are so simple to accidentally activate that I was firing them into walls and paintings well before I reached a room with an enemy. Their annoyingly lengthy cooldowns prevented me from making them usable in time. I opted to stay with the primary weapons and reject the suitors who gave me the most unwanted (and accidentally activated) specials.
The majority of the time, however, the combat is so dull and ineffectual that I couldn’t wait for the visual novel content to return. The enemies do not react to any impacts, and the weapons acted like feather duster, lightly caressing opponents’ faces as opposed to doing significant damage. Romancelvania could have begun to take shape with some alterations, such as a more fluid transition between attacks and visual feedback when we strike an object. As it stands, however, it is weak.
It was always going to be difficult to stage a meeting between a Metroidvania and a courting sim. Would they cohere in a meaningful manner? There was a possibility that one would outshine the other.
All our concerns have been realized in the end. The dating sim portion of Romancelvania is frivolous joy, but the drunken Metroidvania portion crashes the party. It stumbles about awkwardly and vomits on the settee. We are well aware of which of the two halves we would vote to evict in the event of a vote.
Romancelvania: Romancelvania is a darkly comic genre mashup, combining side-scrolling action and tongue-in-cheek romance into an absurd and unforgettable adventure. – kendajaya