Hello, Seekers! I (Jonathan) got to enjoy a rare period of no work travel and took full advantage of it. Through Twitter, I discovered a game from an indie developer that immediately piqued my interest. Romancelvania has proved to be every bit as amusing as its title suggested. Here’s my review of this fun little romp through a world of sexy monsters.

Genre: Action adventure, platformer, Metroidvania

Overview: Dracula lost everything when the Van Helsings defeated him. The Grim Reaper offers him redemption and a chance to find true romance through a dating show, but as always, love bites.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Romancelvania Game Review

Romancelvania promo artwork

The premise of Romancelvania is at once familiar and inspired. Dracula’s timeless story is reinvigorated by a modern and silly twist that frames it within the context of a reality dating show. The vampire lord has major sad boy energy but remains a desirable bachelor to all the other legendary monsters that make an appearance as contestants. My personal favorites are Brocifer and P.S. Elle. Brocifer is a succubus that hails from Jersey and acts and talks exactly how you think. P.S. Elle is a kinky scarecrow made of pumpkins. She loves puns and threesomes. Other characters are also entertaining but I’ll leave them to your imagination.

Metroidvania, for those who are unfamiliar, is a sub-genre of action adventure and platformer games. Like other titles in this category, Romancelvania focuses on exploration with limits imposed by abilities. Its nonlinear, so you can go about completing quests in whatever way your powers and the map permits. I found this classic and simple approach refreshing after just finishing an open world role-playing game (RPG). The controls are mostly intuitive, although it’s very easy to accidentally trigger special abilities through rapid movement. I wish moves like Headouken and Blood Tornado were assignable to the utility wheel instead of requiring button combinations to activate, but that’s part of the game’s old school charm.

Overall, the gameplay feels very polished and stable. I have yet to experience any glitches or crashing. The enemies I’ve encountered required me to employ a variety of combat mechanics and strategies to defeat them. Its aesthetic is cartoonish but modern. I’ll be interested to see what else Romancelvania’s developer, The Deep End Games, creates. My only bone of contention with this game is that I think they could’ve taken everything further. It’s rated “T” and the FAQ on the game’s website makes it clear to expect “naughty not dirty.” I struggle with that choice. A living pumpkin can discuss its bondage interests with the player’s character but curse words are censored? It sends mixed messages about who the target audience for this game is supposed to be. I’d love to see an M-rated director’s cut (or uncut) edition.

The story itself is dark, sexy, and gloriously vulgar. All the puns and innuendo jive with my own sense of humor. Romancelvania captures the absurdity of reality dating shows through dialogue, familiar date scenarios, and the spectacle of contestant eliminations. Whoever did the writing for this game deserves major kudos. I also appreciate the fact that I can romance any of the characters.

In summary, Romancelvania offers a fun, over-the-top take on a familiar tale and genre. The gameplay and story are well-crafted and the characters are engaging. I may disagree with where the developer drew their line in the sand for mature content, but that’s had minimal impact on an otherwise enjoyable experience. I’m happy I found this game and would recommend it to anyone comfortable with (to me) its moderate sauciness.

Have you played Romancelvania? If so, tell us what you thought in the comments. (Also check out Jonathan’s PS5 review here.)

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Console Review: PlayStation 5

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