Publisher: Decemberborn Interactive
Release date: 31st of October 2019
Price: 13.99€ Steam link
My intention was to review this several weeks ago, even pre-release... But, that sadly didn't happen due to a number of different reasons. Firstly, my October was really busy with all of the horror games I was trying out. Secondly, the weekend I had planned to dive deep into the game I got really sick. Lastly, after several attempts at playing the game I realized that this game was simply not for me... Which really doesn't mean that the game is bad or anything, in fact there are so many things I can really appreciate with it despite not enjoying it myself. I'll do my very best to describe why I think it's a well-made game and also why it didn't suit my palette. Kind of a different review this time, eh?!
Cathedral is another of those "character wakes up not remembering much and gotta explore the world to escape from current location" kind of games, which works well considering the premise of exploring up to 600 rooms that will feature different kinds of challenges. Some rooms feature challenges in the form of enemies, or a boss, some got some puzzles to solve, others have some kind of platforming related issues to tackle and yet some contain a bit of everything. The controls are relatively easy, but hard to master, and as such there is no big tutorial (it's not really needed). The game is heavily inspired by good old platformers like Castlevania and Metroid (not the modern versions) and does remind me a little of games like Shovel Knight and The Messenger (both are also retro style platformers). Even the music is retro style, using absolutely brilliant 8-bit music throughout the experience, which I personally really appreciated!
They've been going in heavy with the contrast in the color scheme, which did add to the nostalgia but also was something my eyes didn't appreciate that much. The world is supposed to be huge, at least 600 rooms to discover after all, and features different kinds of NPCs... Sadly I never got to meet up with any and cannot comment on dialouge, eventual side quests and so on. You are also going to get better weapons, armor, abilities etc that will make your progress easier and also change up the gameplay a bit. Once again, I didn't get very far and thus cannot really comment on what the abilities are like, the fairness of weapons etc. The enemies are pretty varied and there is also plenty of them, adding something unique to each room you pass through.
At first glance I really thought Cathedral was going to be a game that I would really enjoy, seeing as I really loved Ori and the Blind Forest and Hollow Knight. Note that I never really played many platformers, such as Metroid, as a kid. Challenging bosses, puzzles, etc are all things that I really appreciate in games... Yet I just didn't enjoy this one. I remember a specific room where you have to hurry up and unlock parts of the room while a roof with spikes is crashing down and I died so many times and just didn't want to continue.Your jumps are really high in this game and most of the time I died because I jumped straight into the roof and couldn't choose to jump a little bit lower. I just didn't like that and there was a similar situation when I played Incubo which resulted in me never finishing the game. I'm all for hard boss fights, but when the fight is against the environment I just loose interest. I guess I'm more into boss battlers than hardcore platformers! Because Cathedral is definitely a hardcore platformer game.
Just because I struggled with this particular game doesn't mean it's a bad one, it simply didn't suit my taste. There are so many things that I can appreciate with it, such as the retro style music and graphics that they completely nailed. It feels like you're getting warped back in time to the 90s when you play it, and in a good way! The controls are simple and didn't experience any glithes or bugs, overall it was a smooth experience and it truly feels like a polished and well-made game! I can definitely recommend this game to people that enjoy games such as Shovel Knight, old Castlevania, Metroid and similar. It will be a pretty nice challenge for you!