Castle in The Clouds DX is a lewd action-sidescroller about Lily the bounty hunter, and a series of quests that bring her to the long lost castle in the sky.
(F, FxF, FxM) sexual content.
No. Woot! Woot!
Hours of Gameplay?
Foreword: published October 23rd, 2021
For the purposes of this review, I will only be discussing the “NSFW Version” of this game.
Gameplay: published October 25th, 2021 (4/5★)
Castle in The Clouds DX is all about navigating a maze-like world and defeating big-breasted bosses. Throughout each level are a variety of hidden treasures, including coins and permanent upgrades. It’s important to grind for level-ups and upgrade your gear whenever possible; enemies increase in strength and numbers. Whips don’t deal as much damage as blades, but they have double the range. Staves provide the best range, but their low-damage and slow-moving projectiles are not suitable for erratic enemies. You’re not forced into any particular playstyle, but you’ll need to learn the optimal strategy for each boss fight! If you’re familiar with Libra Heart‘s Midnight Castle Succubus DX, you’ll feel right at home collecting power-ups and learning attack patterns.
Castle in The Clouds DX is faster-paced than Midnight Castle Succubus DX. I was surprised by how quickly my weapons and abilities were rendered obsolete. With about a third of the playtime, there are maybe ten or fifteen minutes between major upgrades. Using the map system, accidental backtracking is nearly non-existent — and discouraged. Unless you missed a treasure, there is no good reason to revisit stages. Despite gaining all sorts of enhanced navigation, they don’t breath new life into previous stages. Compared to Midnight Castle Succubus DX, it’s easier to stay on track, but every power-up felt like missed opportunities for exploration.
Barring the (grossly unfair) final boss, Castle in The Clouds DX is a great game for beginners. There are a lot of mechanics to curb “getting stuck”, and the predictable nature of the bosses is a good starting point for Libra Heart‘s action-platformers. Compared to Midnight Castle Succubus DX, I found the bosses to be easier to learn (or in some cases, exploit). Thanks to the leveling system, it’s possible to simply “rush” some bosses (totally ignoring damage). Even if you’re insufficiently leveled, you’re able to carry dozens of health-restoring items! Overall, the skill needed to beat Castle in The Clouds DX is lower than Libra Heart‘s Midnight Castle Succubus DX. If at any point you find the game too hard, you’re free to adjust the difficulty on the fly!
I have no intention of spoiling the final battle, but the last boss is really unfair. Inexperienced players may find her to be a premature end to the game. Between each of her simultaneous attacks, more than three-quarters of the screen are deadly. If you haven’t been leveling up your durability, she’ll practically one-shot your life bar. Using a stream of carefully timed jumps, it’s possible to hover in a small, somewhat safe portion of the screen — but these maneuvers require a skillset that was well beyond any previously encountered boss. Using ranged and homing attacks, I barely beat her — I couldn’t imagine using melee. She was the only boss in the game I found genuinely unfun. I sincerely hope Libra Heart make her attacks possible to dodge.
Sexual Content: published October 25th, 2021 (4/5★)
There are twenty animated CGs that showcase one or more members of the cast. Left untouched, CGs loop indefinitely (and there’s no penalty for watching!) You may mash the indicated key to end the animation (or gently tap to delay progression), but they are not otherwise interactive. I loved the animation, but a few seconds of looping material can only provide so much entertainment. The climaxes are hot, but the animations automatically reset within a few seconds. This negates any need to “delay” the animation — you can’t pause on cum-shots, and there is no visual consequence for experiencing one or more orgasms. I enjoyed watching the main protagonist tangle with tentacles, but sexual mechanics in Castle in The Clouds DX are scant.
Throughout the game are foes surrounded by hearts; instead of dealing damage, they will play a rape animation, increasing your “lust” and dealing damage to surrounding enemies. The room-clearing effect is based on your “lust”, so it’s a good idea to be repeatedly raped to speed-up progression. Lust is also used to unlock prostitution, granting some additional income. Instead of loot, some chests contain a succubus — if she catches you with her surprise attack, your movement will be inhibited until you stand still and masturbate! There’s also a handful of sexual quest rewards, but they are mostly reserved as end-game content. Unfortunately, none of these “mechanics” played a significant part in my playthrough (but they were welcome nonetheless).
I guess that explains why Libra Heart offers toggleable NSFW content — it makes little difference whether or not it is enabled. In terms of sexual mechanics, Castle in The Clouds DX is an improvement over Midnight Castle Succubus DX, but the two of them fail miserably as sexually engaging games. Each boss fight offers big, beautiful women I would have loved to see naked (or better yet, having sex with the protagonist!) There’s a good chance players are going to be defeated at least a few times before they learn their attack patterns — why not offer some “encouragement” between runs? Midnight Castle Succubus DX offered randomized rape-scenes whenever you were defeated. Castle in The Clouds DX offers no such animations, even though is little penalty for “accidently” dying. As the last boss takes damage, her clothes are destroyed; it would have been great to see something similar with other bosses. If the main protagonist lost her clothes to damage, her bare breasts could be a lewd alternative to measure remaining hit-points!
Story: published October 25th, 2021 (3/5★)
Chasing a “petty villain” that got away, Lily the bounty hunter is led to into a trap. Raped and left for dead, she is rescued by Zenimaki, the man in charge of the town of Zaboo. Zaboo has a monster problem, and Lily has a money problem; accepting work from Zaboo’s guild, she collects money from the heads of the baddest monsters around. Working her way through a list of big-breasted demons, the guild leads her to biggest baddie of them all — taking her to the legendary sky castle, and all of the treasures within.
Sound: published October 23rd, 2021 (4/5★)
What a throwback! Castle in The Clouds DX was designed to invoke nostalgia with a selection of retro, electronic sounds. The music is great, but I thought the compositions were a little too short. Hearing the same few sounds got old fast. Thankfully, each level has its own soundtrack (which helps keep the music somewhat fresh).
Visuals: published October 25th, 2021 (4/5★)
The aesthetic choices between the graphics and user-interface are stylistically retro (harkening back to the good ol’ NES and SNES days). Castle in The Clouds DX shares similar visuals and level-layouts to Nintendo’s Castlevania and Metroid series. Unlike the aforementioned games, Castle in The Clouds DX offers plenty of fanservice. As much as I love Samus and her skin-tight suit, her animations pale in comparison to Lily’s move set — everything she does seems like an excuse to rock her ginormous ass and tits! The pause-menu leaves little to the imagination, a friendly (and most welcome) reminder who’s ass and tits are kicking ass! The boss roster consists of oversized, busty monster girls with equally voluptuous body proportions. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the cast of monsters. They aren’t very inspired, but they fulfill their respective purposes as Castlevania-inspired cannon fodder.
When booting the game via your Steam Library, you may either choose the “SFW Version” or “NSFW Version”. I didn’t bother testing the “SFW Version” of the game, but I’d wager it simply removes sex-scenes and bare-breasted sprites. Before booting to the main-menu, you may choose your preferred language. If you change your mind, languages can be toggled via the “Settings” menu. Compared to Libra Heart‘s previous offerings (such as Tower and Sword of Succubus and Midnight Castle Succubus DX), the titlescreen isn’t visually engaging (but it still looks clean and professional). CGs and lewd animations may be viewed from the “Gallery”, but they are stripped of all interactivity and dialogue. From “Settings”, you may adjust audio, display, and language preferences.
Controls can be remapped via “Key Settings”. Unfortunately, movement keys can’t be remapped (which means no “WASD” controls) and there is no mouse support whatsoever. As a keyboard user, I didn’t have too many issues with the default controls, but they’re somewhat unconventional. I don’t enjoy navigation using arrow keys, and the remainder of the controls are mapped to a string of keys I’d rather have assigned to my mouse. Laptop users may have issues using compact keyboards; the arrow keys on my laptop are squished, making it difficult to perform complex maneuvers without mispressing at least one direction. Using a gamepad, I found the configuration to be more natural. I was able to flow through stages and take advantage of my full move set with less user errors.
Verdict: published October 25th, 2021 (4/5★)
What a great game! Castle in The Clouds DX is a quick “Metroidvania” with a buxom heroine to keep you distracted. It features similar gameplay and boss fights to Libra Heart‘s Midnight Castle Succubus DX, but it’s more straightforward and quite a bit shorter. Whether or not you unlock the “good ending” depends on your inner completionist; if you don’t complete every map and collect every treasure before defeating the final boss, you’ll have to take advantage of “new game plus” or reload a previous save. If you choose to replay the game, you may choose from a selection of cheats and playable characters for a head start or change of playstyle. With only three or four hours of content, if the “ending” doesn’t matter to you it’s hard to justify the asking price; I’d instead recommend Midnight Castle Succubus DX, which offers more than double the playtime (or wait for a sale). However, if you’re new to action-platformers, I would strongly recommend starting with Castle in The Clouds DX. Compared to Midnight Castle Succubus DX, progression is quicker and easier. Don’t be fooled by the presentation; while Critical Bliss would like you to believe Castle in The Clouds DX is full of sexual animations and monster girls, neither are a major part of gameplay. The sex scenes are nice, but they are not the focus of the game. Castle in The Clouds DX isn’t a sexually-charged game, but what it is is a competent action-platformer that is absolutely worth a buy.