I can’t say that I was too surprised when it was announced back in October that Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night ($9.99) would be coming to iOS and Android. After all, it is the spiritual successor to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, a game which itself launched on mobile back in March and was surprisingly playable and also extremely handy to have in your pocket at all times. The exact same thing can be said for Bloodstained.
Now, being that Symphony of the Night is considered one of the greatest video games in history, it would be kind of hard to actually TOP it, but Bloodstained is an excellent follow-up. At a basic level all you really need from a game like this is a reason for a big castle to appear and bad guys to start wreaking havoc everywhere, and Bloodstained provides that nicely while also making the story and characters pretty compelling.
What we’re really here for though is action platforming with heavy doses of loot and RPG elements, and that is where Bloodstained shines. You are constantly collecting new gear, leveling up your character, and facing off against cool enemies in very well-designed levels. This feels like Symphony of the Night on many levels, and it’s a comfortable feeling. But I don’t want to talk too much about the game itself, as it’s been out for quite a while now on a number of platforms and that information is out there if you want it. Plus I’ll have to save something for Shaun’s forthcoming review. What you probably really want to know is how a game like Bloodstained plays on a touchscreen.
The answer: it’s… okay. It’s certainly serviceable, but not perfect. In that way I’d put it on the exact same level as Symphony of the Night on mobile. If you had trouble playing that game with virtual controls, you’re not going to fare much better here. If you got on alright in that game, then you’ll find Bloodstained’s controls to be adequate enough. The biggest problem in both games is the lack of being able to customize the size and placement of said virtual controls. Everybody’s tastes are different when it comes to that, so give us the option to suit the controls to each individual’s specific needs, you know?
If you’re hoping for physical controller support, well they aren’t officially supported but do in fact partially work with the game. Menu stuff still needs to be controlled on the touchscreen, but character movements and actions do work with a controller. Unfortunately the virtual controls don’t disappear from the screen when a controller is being used, so some sort of proper controller support where that happens and the menus can be navigated would be really appreciated. As is, I guess it’s better than nothing.
As someone who gets along fine enough with virtual controls, I’m absolutely loving having Bloodstained so accessible to me, much as I did with Symphony of the Night back in March. It’s surprising how well an RPG-style Metroidvania fits into the bite-sized chunks of free time throughout the day that are perfect for mobile gaming. While I would love more options in terms of virtual and physical controls, I know that despite owning Bloodstained on 4(!) different platforms already this new mobile version will be the one I spend the most time with simply due to how easily accessible it is, and I think that’s really cool.