Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is a 2018 platform game developed and published by Inti Creates. It is a companion title to developer ArtPlay’s 2019 game Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and was conceived to fulfill the promise for a retro-style accompaniment to Ritual of the Night after its Kickstarter campaign exceeded crowdfunding goals. Curse of the Moon follows Zangetsu, a cursed swordsman hunting down demons for revenge, as well as three other playable characters named Miriam, Alfred and Gebel. It features an 8-bit aesthetic and gameplay style similar to Castlevania games on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), particularly Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (1989).
The game was developed in six months, revealed at a Japanese indie game festival, and released two weeks later. Critics found the game a satisfying homage to Castlevania III. Some felt the game adhered too closely to its inspiration, while others praised new options and game modes for adding a modern feel. The game was found to be short albeit fulfilling for its purpose as a prelude to Ritual of the Night. A sequel, featuring Zangetsu and three new additional characters, was released in July 2020.
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is a 2D side-scrolling platformer that plays and looks similar to Castlevania games on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), most notably Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (1989). Like Castlevania III, the game features stages with branching paths that lead to a single boss, and multiple playable characters. The player starts as swordsman Zangetsu, and may recruit up to three other characters as they progress including the whip-wielding Miriam, a magician named Alfred, and the vampire-like Gebel. Each character has different weapons, skills, health points, and attack styles that make them more appropriate for different situations. The player may switch between these characters instantly at any time. If a character dies, they become unavailable for the rest of the level, which may limit the player’s ability to explore the remainder of the stage. In such instances, the player can restart the level with all characters again. The player has the ability to enable and disable unlimited lives and the player character is knocked back when hit by an enemy, characteristic of classic Castlevania gameplay. There is also a boss rush mode, and other options to increase game difficulty.