Archive: October 23rd, 2021
Gameplay: published October 23rd, 2021 (4/5★)
This is a game for completionists. If you don’t collect every treasure and explore each stage one-hundred percent, you’ll have to live with the “bad ending”! Castle in The Clouds DX offers similar gameplay to Midnight Castle Succubus DX, but I found Castle in The Clouds DX to be faster-paced — not in terms of playtime (even though the latter game has thrice the hours), but in terms of movement and progression. I was surprised by how quickly my previously acquired navigation was rendered obsolete by something better. Considering there are about ten abilities tied to movement, I guess that only leaves about fifteen minutes between 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 manners of enhanced navigation, they won’t breath new life into previous levels.
I found the bosses to be really easy compared to Libra Heart‘s other offerings. Tower and Sword of Succubus and Midnight Castle Succubus DX offer a challenging roster of bosses, but I breezed through Castle in The Clouds DX. The bosses in this game are highly predictable, and many of them can be exploited using a single weapon or move. Using magic attacks, it’s possible to stay well outside of danger and spam homing attacks. 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 restorative items. Barring the (grossly unfair) final boss, Castle in The Clouds DX is a great game for beginners. There are a lot of safety nets to curb “getting stuck”, and the predictable nature of the bosses is a good starting point for Libra Heart‘s action-platformers.
I really need to vent about the last boss — she is stupid hard. I have no intention of spoiling the final battle, but I don’t think it’s possible to beat the last boss without taking damage. With enough skill, it’s possible to defeat any other boss in the game without getting hit. She fills most of the screen, you can’t touch the floor, and projectiles fill the screen from an angle, making them virtually impossible to dodge. Between all possible hazards, over three-quarters of the screen are deadly. The only places you’re allowed to stand is a pair of dinky, moving platforms that conveniently move directly into the projectiles and the boss herself. If you haven’t been leveling up your durability, she will most likely kill you with one or two hits. I don’t think it’s possible to win this fight without a dumb amount of luck or healing items. Using carefully timed jumps, I found it was 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. To complete the game, I needed to spam healing potions. On every other boss, they felt unnecessary; they felt like fair and mechanically interesting fights.
Sexual Content: published October 23rd, 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 it 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 cum-shots are awesome (although not all scenes have them), but cum-effects reset when they loop. It’s a minor complaint, but it negates any need to “delay” the animation; there isn’t so much as a visual consequence for experiencing one or more climaxes.
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 reserved for as end-game content. The animation may be lovely, but it’s hard to call Castle in The Clouds DX a sexual experience; there are sex-scenes here and there, but if they were removed they’d have virtually no impact on gameplay and progression.
I guess that explains why Libra Heart offers toggleable NSFW content — it really makes no difference whether or not it’s in the game. Midnight Castle Succubus DX offered randomized rape-scenes whenever you were defeated. Castle in The Clouds DX offers no such animations, even though is almost no penalty for “accidently” dying. Each boss fight offers big, beautiful women I would love to see naked — or better yet, having sex with the protagonist! There’s a good chance players are going to be defeated one or more times as they learn their attack patterns. . . why not offer some “encouragement” between runs? The last boss takes damage, her clothes are destroyed. It would have been great to see something similar with other bosses, or even the main protagonist as she takes damage!
Story: published October 23rd, 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 — leading her to the legendary sky castle, and the treasures within.
Visuals: published October 23rd, 2021 (4/5★)
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 removes sex-scenes and bare-breasted enemies. Before booting to the main-menu, you may choose your preferred language. 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 great). CGs and lewd animations may be viewed from the “Gallery”, but they are striped of all interactivity and dialogue. From “Settings”, you may adjust audio, display, and language preferences. You may also adjust the difficulty level at any time via the Settings menu.
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 lap are squished, making it difficult to perform complex maneuvers without mispressing at least one direction.
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 as Nintendo’s Castlevania and Metroid series (in other words, one may call this game a “Metroidvania”). Unlike the aforementioned games, Castle in The Clouds DX offers tons of fanservice (and I love it!) The sprites are designed to rock each playable character’s ass and tits as much as possible. Though most enemies are generic monsters, the each boss fight offers some excessively-busty monster girl. The pause-menu leaves little to the imagination, a friendly (and most welcome) reminder who’s ass and tits are kicking ass!
Verdict: published October 23rd, 2021 (4/5★)
What a great game! Castle in The Clouds DX is a quick “Metroidvania” with some big boobs, butts and buxom bosses to keep you distracted. Unlike Libra Heart‘s Tower and Sword of Succubus and Midnight Castle Succubus DX, Castle in The Clouds DX is a game that can be beat in just two or three hours. If you don’t unlock the “good ending” with one-hundred percent completion, you’re able to start subsequent playthroughs with new characters and overpowered weapons! However, I couldn’t be bothered to play the exact same game with better gear. I found Castle in The Clouds DX to be a cakewalk; there were a few bosses that gave me trouble, but the overall low difficulty makes this game suitable for newcomers to Libra Heart‘s games (or “Metroidvania” platformers in general). Even if you’re killed, you’re respawned in the same room with full life! Seasoned players may enjoy the adjustable difficulty, but the gameplay strategies remain the same. Critical Bliss would like you to believe Castle in The Clouds DX is filled with sexual content, but it’s not; don’t be fooled by the store page. There are sex-scenes and monster girls, but they only make-up a small portion of the game (and they’re easily togglable). The artwork, music and gameplay are a wonderful mix of nostalgic colors, sounds and mechanics that’ll take you back in time. I highly recommend this game. However, if you don’t fancy yourself a “completionist”, I’d wait for a good sale.