Castle Kong is a retro platformer by indie developers Drowning Monkeys Games. As soon as you boot up the game you can see Castle Kong takes inspiration from arcade classics such as Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. The pixel art style, music and sound design transports you back to the arcade, coins lined up along the cabinet.
Castle Kong has as much story as you’d expect an arcade inspired game to have. BaronMan kidnapps PrincessGirl while she is picking flowers. Enter PauperBoy to rescue his beloved princess and restore order to the kingdom. There are four stages and 22 levels in the game. Level 1 has the Castle Wall and Throne Room stages. As you move through levels more stages are added, with the Courtyard being included in level 2 and the Kitchen in level 3. Each level you complete adds more obstacles, making it harder to rescue PrincessGirl. This game is difficult but feels like a challenge rather than a grind. Enemies have predictable patterns and at no time did the many, many deaths I suffered feel unfair.
An interesting feature is the ability to play in either wide screen or classic arcade vertical mode. Unless you have a vertical monitor It’s not much use for PCs or playing with the Nintendo Switch docked. Vertical mode uniquely suits an undocked Nintendo Switch though, where you can rotate the device to have a classic style arcade experience. Sadly, it doesn’t add much visually. Where the widescreen view has trees and other decorations that add to the look, vertical mode has almost half the screen with just a solid colour with not much added to the experience.
Castle Kong has an online leaderboard so you can see how well you do against other players. Currently there is also a high score tournament. Players can compete for a $3,500 prize pool from the launch of Castle Kong on the Nintendo Switch (February 25th 2021) to 25th May 2021.