A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Fighting monsters, rescuing party members that were captured, solving puzzles to defeat evil, save kingdom.
Positive Role Models
Players take on the role of warriors fighting evil, but there's little backstory for characters.
Ease of Play
Split-screen concept sounds very nice but can get tedious fast, particularly when each party is engaged in fighting a monster.
Violence & Scariness
Characters can use different skills, melee attacks to dispose of monsters. Screen is spotted temporarily with what's supposed to be blood splatters, but there's no dismemberment, bloody corpses. Enemy, when defeated, just disappears.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hyakki Castle is a downloadable single-player dungeon crawling game that features progressively harder levels with an assortment of fantastical beasts and monsters. The game allows players to split their party into two groups of two heroes, each controlled separately, which means jumping between two sides of the screen. The split in focus and attention might be too much for a younger player. There's some minor bloodshed caused in battle, although enemies disappear when defeated. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content.
Is It Any Good?
This history-focused dungeon crawler may have some new mechanics, but the core of the action is essentially the same as older games, which becomes tedious after a while. Hyakki Castle allows four heroes to split into two parties (of two warriors) to explore and defeat the variety of monsters (some very gruesome) in their path. Jumping from one side of the monitor to the other is intriguing at first, but starts to wear a bit thin as the difficulty ramps up. There are three difficulty levels, though, allowing players to get their hack-and-slash boots worked in before taking on the tougher mobs. Unfortunately, the game is a bit weak and redundant when it comes to the graphics and game flow. While the game can be played with either a mouse and keyboard or a controller, the control settings aren't particularly intuitive when it comes to keymapping on the gamepad.
The game uses the traditional four-member team of ranged/magic users, fighters, and healers, but the game graphics could have been a lot more vibrant than presented. The game also forces players to split the party in order to solve puzzles -- the easiest of which involves leaving one party on a pressure plate to open a gate while the other party goes through and steps on the pressure plate on the other side to keep the gate up and reunite the party. Overall, Hyakki Castle feels like a missed opportunity. The game draws on an intriguing time setting and has an array of mythological creatures to intrigue Western players, but it dips into traditional first-person gameplay elements rather than using the setting as a launching point for something truly inviting.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.