Cathedral is the latest title published by retro lovers Elden Pixel and the debut title by Decemberborn. Is this a good place to hold worship? Read on to discover the answer!.
Cathedral puts you in the metallic footwear of a knight, hands you a sword, gives you the objective to “explore the Cathedral” and kicks you right where the good lord split you into the lovingly crafted, NES colour schemed world.
Cathedral does have a little more story than that which unfolds at sections of the story but generally, with NES games, the story stayed firmly in the instruction book which was smelt then read on the bus ride home (if it was new if you smelt a second-hand one you need to speak to somebody). The main appeal of Cathedral is the sense of danger and adventure, the world just smacks of EXPLORE ME, and the fact it has some outstanding level design certainly aids players in this.
The audio side of things on Cathedral also takes inspiration from the NES era of games infecting your ears with some fine chiptune music which helps keep you engaged in your adventure, the sound effects are also akin to that era and to me gives me tonnes of nostalgia as to what I often consider a golden age of gaming.
Cathedral for all intents and purposes is a retrovania style title, it doesn’t hold your hand and leans into that 8bit difficulty with the odd mercy given here and there to provide a tough but enjoyable adventure romp. The game will offer you objectives to help further your adventure but these are vague and rely on you reading the map and understanding what abilities and tools you have at your disposal to chip away at this frankly hefty “Metroidvania” style world.
The controls are smooth and even offer a “Duck Tales” style pogo attack which will instantly bring on bouts of nostalgia from that title and another Knight you may have heard of!. When you die, and you will lose a certain percent of your gold which is used to buy upgrades and equipment, fortunately when you eventually discover the village area you have a bank in which you can deposit gold, handy for when you know you have a tough run coming up.
Bosses are an utter joy to do battle with and as with this style of the title they should be, the game also feels brilliant in the platforming aspect once you understand that this isn’t a more modern platformer but a tough as NES throwback experience. There are plenty of puzzles to keep your head firmly scratched but nothing truly mind-boggling that a bit of exploration or thought won’t see you conquer.
The only real issue that holds Cathedral back, is that everything here has really been done before, I’ve lost count of how many “Retrovania” titles I’ve covered over the past few years and my initial thought when this dropped in was that it would be more of a traditional linear platformer. This isn’t to say anything it does is bad, in fact, it’s one of my favourites from the genre in recent years due to the visual and audio style, leaning into the 8bit era rather than 16bit is a nice change, and drew me to explore the game more. It’s just that nothing is really original here and it is coming into a rather bloated genre.
Cathedral is a fantastic “Retrovania” for fans of NES difficulty and visuals, if you have played titles like Hollow Knight and have an itch for something around that difficulty and have a passion for the 8-Bit you’d do worse than look here for some fantastic if not predictable adventuring.
A fantastic if not predictable game, a challenge for those that seek it