Developer: Taraxippus Games
Released: August 2015
The Curse of the Crescent Isle DX is a platformer by Taraxippus Games, where you must save your daughter and spouse from a vengeful warlock! The game takes heavy inspirations from retro games such as Super Mario Bros 2 (USA), Duck Tales, and Metal Storm.
You play as either the King or the Queen of the Isle, who witness the warlock crashing your daughter’s wedding ceremony and cursing all Crescent Isle’s citizens, turning them into abominations. With no weapon on hand, you use your monster subjects by holding them (just like in Super Mario Bros 2) to do the dirty work for you. Each monster sports unique abilities which you must use to lift the curse off the Isle and return life to normal. For example, you can flip your gravity, drill through boulders, or turn water into ice blocks. All these abilities feel great to play with and master. Just don’t go around throwing the monsters into the water though – they used to be people after all!
The game is short and a breeze to play through, though some of its harder levels employ puzzles that are still fun to solve. On average, it took me three hours to play the story as both royalty and five minutes to play through the boss rush mode. That said, its shortness doesn’t make it any less of a satisfying and visually appealing experience, especially for retro players. There’s also the ability to play the game in two-player co-op, as well as speedrun and boss rush modes. My only issue with the game is that the two playable royalty are identical in everything save for dialogue and appearances.
Visuals, Music and Miscellaneous
The art style of Curse of the Crescent Isle has a distinct feel to it, even if it looks a lot like the original Shantae for the GameBoy Color. The game uses its retro aesthetics fantastically with its backgrounds, which serve well in setting the mood for the game’s twenty-plus levels, combined with the chiptune music that sounds a lot like what you’d hear in a SEGA Genesis game. You can listen to any of these tracks from the game’s music room, too! Perhaps the mood is one of the best aspects of the game. The underground caverns make you feel trapped, the Waterfall Area’s music makes for a nice and calm walk, but the warlock’s tower is especially excellent with its ominous mood.
If you’re looking for a very cheap yet excellent retro experience, you can’t go wrong with The Curse of the Crescent Isle. At its low price tag, you get a great indie platformer that can be completed quickly. It ticks off the right boxes, from the style to the quirky gameplay to the mood.