LadiesGamers Castle Pals

Castle Pals Review (Nintendo Switch)

Game: Castle Pals
Genre: 2D, Platformer, Action
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PC, PS4, and Xbox One)
Developer|Publisher: Brad Erkkila | Ratalaika Games
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £4.99 | EU € 4.99 | AUD $7.99 | CAD $6.29 | USD $4.99
Release Date: 29th May 2020

Review code used, with many thanks to Ratalaika Games

Random Adventures

When I was a kid, my adventures often involved riding my bike into the woods and making my own fun. If I was lucky I would spot the odd deer or badger. Sadly, I never stumbled across any ancient ruins or mythological beasts, much to my dismay.

In the game Castle Pals, Kylee and Owen seem to be a lot luckier. But is their adventure into a random castle worth experiencing for yourself? Let’s jump right in.

LadiesGamers Castle Pals
Let’s go adventure in a creepy castle.

Kids just want to have fun

Castle Pals is set in the creepy Castle Pookapick, and you play as the young happy kids Kylee and Owen, who both seem to favour different gameplay styles. Kylee likes to wear her red boxing gloves and martial arts her way through levels. Owen wears a little propeller hat which somehow gives him the impressive gift of flight whilst also remaining on his head somehow. You run through the game’s various levels playing as either character. You can’t choose your character per level, but each level is designed based on the characters’ gameplay styles, with the odd overlap.

LadiesGamers Castle Pals
Owen’s levels are usually more vertical and flying-based.

Kylee’s levels tend to be more horizontal, with more enemies to defeat. Owen’s tend to be more vertical to match his flying ability. He can also defeat enemies by jumping on their noggin (head) like Kylee, but he can’t punch or dropkick them. Both characters’ levels are littered with funny-looking enemies as well as some basic puzzles that usually involve pushing a switch and solving simple logic-based puzzles.

The levels are short and sweet, but if you get hit just once it’s back to the start for you unless you reach the level’s checkpoint. This all adds up to a fun little platformer, but it has those frustrating little moments you would expect to see in a game where just one hit defeats you.

LadiesGamers Castle Pals
One hit and it’s all over.

Punch and fly

The controls are simple and tight in both handheld and TV mode. Both Kylee and Owen are fun to control.

Kylee’s dropkick and spin and punch moves are awesome. Oddly, her standing punch move is just useless as it has a very small reach, making you favour the other moves or just jump on enemies’ heads to defeat them.

Owen’s flying ability is simple to perform, but requires you to get into a familiar rhythm to get through some narrow hazardous traps. Some trap patterns also linger longer than you might expect. For example, you often come across these deadly lasers that appear after a short countdown on the side. The experienced gamer in me tried to preempt when it stops, to proceed safely. Often, though, the laser lingered a lot longer than I expected. In a way, for me it was a welcome challenge.

LadiesGamers Castle Pals
Love Kylee’s jump kick.

Smiley graphics

Kylee and Owen are cute little retro characters with smiles on their faces and rather large heads. Backgrounds are decent and have some nice colour to them. The first act you enter is set in a sort of dark castle environment. It made me chuckle as these characters have big smiles on their faces while running through this creepy environment. There’s a simple soundtrack in the background but nothing particularly memorable.

LadiesGamers Castle Pals
Everything’s happy, even the environment. Maybe the enemies not so much.

Good Stuff!

There are three acts set in different environments with 12 levels a piece. But if you find the hidden gems, there are even more levels to unlock for you to enjoy. There’s also an incentive to replay levels in order to get a gold medal which requires you to finish it in a set time without dying. This certainly drives up the difficulty but isn’t essential to progress if you want to enjoy things casually. I certainly felt compelled to return to levels to go for gold. I liked it when you finished the level and it would sometimes say “Good Stuff!”

LadiesGamers Castle Pals
The best way to finish a level.

It’s worth mentioning that this game is available to play for free online, via browser–in case you want to try the game out before committing to purchase on the Switch.

LadiesGamers Castle Pals
Watch out for big lasers.

A castle adventure

Castle Pals is a cheap cheerful little coffee game. It doesn’t reinvent the challenging platform formula. But it has a nice little heart. For some reason, playing this game put a bit of a smile on my face; I think it was just because of how happy the characters looked. Or maybe it gave me that childhood nostalgia of when I had a cool red hat. I may not have found an adventure like this when I was younger, but I certainly enjoyed Kylee and Owen’s trip into a weird castle.

Final Verdict: I Like It

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