Parents' Guide to

Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls

By Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Average gothic adventure for series fans only.

Game Apple Arcade 2021
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Only major fans of this gothic franchise will likely get a kick out of this refreshed mobile game packed with lore. But Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls really doesn't offer anything new in this genre, and there's quite a bit of repetition here in the side-scrolling action. It attempts to offer a lot of depth in upgrade abilities, bonus missions and challenge modes, but eventually falls flat and gives you very little reason to log in day after day (even though there are "login" bonus rewards). After you go through a load-out screen, of sorts, you're thrown into the action and move through mostly small-ish 3-5-minute levels (not large set pieces) to remain alive (including traps), avoid hits by enemies, and so on. It's easier to use a controller (yes, even on an iPhone and iPad) but even touchscreen controls grow familiar after a while. Seasonal play, which is broken up into various levels with quests related to those stages, don't break this monotony. Players can complete a quest, making progress while facing tougher enemies. Adding even more of a challenge is the fact that you can't change equipment once you've begun a challenge (and your characters' hit points and magic points carry over into the next quest). That makes collecting special coins to exchange for new weapons, items, or skins more important.

Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls isn't a bad game -- and the developers had a lot of work to do to change it from a microtransaction-centric game to a platform that doesn't allow for that. They also had to balance the need to still grow the characters you play as, work to get as much gear as possible, and keep giving you a reason to return. If you're a fan of the series or have some nostalgia associated it, and you're already an Apple Arcade subscriber, go ahead and spend an hour with this game to see if it's gratifying enough for you. But it's certainly not worth buying a subscription for, with better action games and experiences on Apple Arcade to be found.

Game Details

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