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Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony Switch Review – Bringing Back the Oldschool

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony Switch Review – Bringing Back the Oldschool

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony

Japanese indie games are on the rise, and Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony is a great example of the country coming to terms with their contribution to the indie game world. This is a love letter of sorts to the original Castlevania games (You know, the ones before the Metroidvania ones), so this is a pretty linear action experience in many ways.

But does Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony remind us of the good ol’ days of action platformers? Or is this a strong reminder that we have moved far, far away from this particular game style and onto bigger and better ones? Let’s find out!

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony follows Reimu, a strong female lead that wields a Belmont-like whip but is also capable of flying and shooting energy, as she tries to figure out what is causing the spread of this scarlet mist that is having a strong, negative effect on the area. Reimu’s concern is that it is spreading too fast, and she is convinced that a particular vampire is behind this and sets off to solve the mystery.

Along the way, Reimu encounters multiple characters, some good and many bad, that help to enhance the story with some long (And at times exhausting) dialog, but the wild thing is that all of the characters are represented by some stellar voice acting, giving each personality in the game even more life.

The story of Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony is a decent one with some plot twists and pretty engaging scenarios. Reimu is a good lead character that banters well with her colleagues and enemies, which makes her quite likeable. The other characters do not quite have her charm and connection, but they all still do a solid job of helping move the story forward.

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony

Gameplay is similar to the original Castlevania titles, meaning you need to guide Reimu through stages that ultimately end in a boss fight. In Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony, however, Reimu has the ability to fly, which is a game-changer in many ways, giving her access to the entirety of a stage right from the start. She can attack normally with her whip, but she also can shoot while flying that uses up energy that is collected from killing enemies.

In addition to that, Reimu recruits friends to assist her along the journey, and they can come in to perform special attacks to help Reimu is tight situations. Switching them is simple, and executing them is just the press of a button. All that said, the controls in Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony are beyond simple, and yet they are tough to master, which really makes this game feel like an oldschool NES title.

Boss fights at the end of each stage are a mixed bag, though, as most of them are loads of fun and a solid challenge while others are nightmares to fight against and spam projectile attacks over and over and over. This is unfortunate to a degree, because stage conclusions can feel like a huge accomplishment or a drag depending on the boss you encounter. Thankfully, dying at a boss and getting a Game Over does not set you all the way back to the beginning like old Castlevania games. Instead, your lives reset and you start the stage you are on over again.

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony is also a tough game. Death is looming around every corner, and all enemies deal some decent damage. Spikes are also a one hit kill, but thankfully they aren’t too much of a problem since you can fly (Although spikes on the ceiling can be quite problematic). This caters again to boss fights, as the constant spamming of certain attacks can deal serious damage to you, causing a quick death and eventual Game Over in the process. Thankfully, there are Easy and Extra Easy difficulty options for those looking for a break, and there’s even a Hard mode for those looking for a spicy challenge.

Graphically, Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony is absolutely stunning. This is one of the prettiest pixel-art games out there, and in classic Castlevania fashion, the characters and enemies are all beautifully designed in pixelated art while the backgrounds and certain areas have more of a realistic style. Somehow the two styles blend perfectly, and this really is a gorgeous title because of it.

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In addition to the amazing artwork, Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony boasts a stellar soundtrack! The rocking tunes throughout sound amazing, and they all compliment their respective levels wonderfully. As I mentioned before, each of the characters are all proper voice acted as well, and everyone does a great job. If there is one thing that this game does perfectly right, it is the amazing art and sound! There’s no wonder why this is such a highly praised indie title in Japan.

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony

Controls can feel a little bit clunky for those unfamiliar with the original Castlevania titles, but once you get used them, it is an excellently controlled action platformer. The text boxes can seem to go on and on as well, but the story is quite good and the voice acting is even better. Aside from that, this is a relatively short experience (Around 2-3 hours per playthrough), and since the asking price is $29.99 USD, it is a tough pill to swallow.

Despite that, Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony is an awesome game that reminds us of simpler and more challenging times in gaming. It looks and sounds amazing, and for the most part, the levels and bosses are a joy to play. It just stinks that some of the boss fights are not up to the same standard as others.

I definitely recommend Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony for those looking for an oldschool experience, but if you are trying to find that more modern-day style Metroidvania, this is not going to satisfy. Again, this is akin to the original Castlevania games, it is hard as nails, and it is fantastically designed. If that is what you want, then this is the game for you.

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony Switch Review provided by Nintendo Link
Publisher: CFK
Developer: Team Shanghai Alice, Frontier Aja
Release Date: July 28th, 2022
Price: $29.99, £26.99, €29,99
Game Size: 1.2 GB

Koumajou Remilia: Scarlet Symphony

Excellent soundtrack and great voice acting throughout

Absolutely gorgeous artwork

Solid oldschool action platformer


Pricepoint can be intimidating

High difficulty curve

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