Castaway is a miniature Link’s Awakening – plus a 50-floor challenge tower

By admin Apr6,2024

I think we might be nearing the point where there are Too Many Retro Zeldalikes, and specifically Too Many Link’s Awakealikes – recent candidates include Isles Of Sea And Sky and Blossom Tales – but I’m definitely willing to go adventuring with Castaway, in which you are a spaceman called Martin who has crashlanded on an island’s worth of gently rounded, 8-bit scenery.

Martin’s goal is to rescue his pet dog, which doesn’t sound like it’ll take too long – the “concise and delightful” story mode boasts just three bosses. But lurking behind that all-too-innocent story mode there is a Biblical terror in the shape of a 50-floor tower, made up of increasingly challenging trials. Link’s Awakening with a sort of Bloody Palace component? Yeah, I’ll take that.

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Castaway’s world really could have been lifted straight from a NES or Game Boy Zelda title. Just look at those trees! Like nested scoops of icecream. Or how about that soundtrack, which almost feels like a Zelda score with a few notes knocked loose. There are also Zelda-ish tools in the shape of a sword, a pickaxe for smashing specific rocks with, and a hookshot you can use to ping yourself over gaps.

If you’re a younger player and/or the game’s scuttling insect enemies offend you, you can choose “invincible” mode to render them harmless or play in “pacifist” mode to remove them entirely. There’s also “unfair” mode, for the more seasoned Zeldarer.

Castaway is the work of Canari Games, whose previous Lunark made it into Jeremy’s 2023 GOTY selection box. “Lunark captures much of what I remember about Conrad and the Prince’s adventures – and is in fact a better spiritual successor to Flashback than any of the actual sequels and remakes that Flashback’s received over the years, from Fade to Black to the recently released Flashback 2,” he wrote. Here’s hoping the same will prove true of Castaway’s reworking of Zelda – it doesn’t have a release date yet, but you can wishlist it on Steam.

By admin

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