Let’s get this out of the way, Maldita Castilla EX: Cursed Castilla is a must-buy on any system it’s currently released on. It’s one of the best retro-revival platformers ever made due to its impeccable pacing, tight controls, and unique mythos. While it’s certainly an incredibly difficult experience at times, it never punishes you too much for dying, making it easy to improve over time. It should serve as a blueprint for all indie game developers trying their hand at developing a platformer, and it will surely stand the test of time.
However, with the game’s recent release on the Nintendo 3DS Eshop, which is the best version to play? Steam? PlayStation 4? TI-83 Graphing Calculator? Kidding, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t use that as an excuse to buy it again. All of the versions of the game are incredible, however, there are some minor differences between them. The PS4, Xbox One, and PC versions are essentially identical, so these three will be compared to the 3DS version as a group.
The 3DS version of the game brings some distinct advantages to the table. The portability will undoubtedly be the biggest factor when it comes to deciding whether or not to purchase this version. Cursed Castilla works well as a pick-up-and-play type of game, especially when using the sleep mode feature on the console. Pixel based 2D platformers feel right at home on the 3DS, and players will be able to easily boot it up for some quick action on-the-go.
Speedrunners will also find the 3DS version very advantageous. It includes the built in speedrun timer from the console versions, however, the portability will allow for quick practice sessions. Players that are really serious about learning how to complete this game as fast as possible could probably justify owning two copies of it; one for practicing while away from home and one for streaming/recording.
The 3DS version also includes a bunch of neat little easter eggs and features. The bottom screen acts as a fully-functional arcade cabinet (although playing the game this way is not recommended). A door on the cabinet can be opened to turn on features such as widescreen and speed run mode as well. Coins can even be inserted via dragging and dropping with the stylus. These are all small touches that don’t really affect the gameplay, however, they are nice to see from an indie developer.
Cursed Castilla supports stereoscopic 3D at all times, which may not mean much for most gamers. It all depends on whether or not you actually use the 3D mode, although I will say it’s not overbearing in the slightest. It simply adds a subtle amount of depth to the background, which is nice for players like me who don’t really care for the 3D mode.
The only advantage that the console versions have the handheld version is the visuals. Even though this is a retro style pixel game, it is definitely sharper on the home console versions. Cursed Castilla looks slightly more blurry on the portable’s non-HD screen, which is to be expected. Luckily, the size of the screen helps mask this issue, and the game runs very well throughout the whole experience.
Basically, it all comes down to whether or not you’d be willing to give up crisper visuals for portability. The arcade features in the 3DS version are a nice touch, but they aren’t likely to warrant a purchase on their own. Luckily, all four versions of Cursed Castilla offer the same incredible adventure at an affordable price of $11.99. With this title, it’s not a matter of if you should buy it, but where.