Romancelvania from The Deep End Games and 2124 Publishing is a romance sim mashed with a 2D Metroidvania with some interesting results. Check out our Romancelvania review!
Romancelvania from The Deep End Games and 2124 Publishing is a romance sim mashed with a 2D Metroidvania with some interesting results. Indie team The Deep End Games previously gave us Perception on Nintendo Switch, a first-person game in which you play as a blind woman who must use sound to get a feel for her surroundings, as you take on a psychological thriller experience. That certainly makes Romancelvania a very different type of experience!
It’s been 99 years since Drac’s life was turned upside-down. He was defeated by a human! On top of that, Drac’s lover left. It’s then that a lovelorn and brooding Drac receives a peculiar invitation. The Grim Reaper is calling for you to come down the River Styx for a new chance to raise hell. Will you join them? Or will you remain in your current state and remain inside the castle for eternity?
Drac thought it was an invite to a poker game. It’s been close to a century since the last time Drac was invited to such an event, but the real world has changed a lot during the last century. The twist? Drac is actually asked to join a reality-dating show hosted by the Grim Reaper! During the century that Drac hung the cape, retiring to the castle to be all moody for 99 years, the world’s balance has shifted… a lot. As you can imagine, all of the monsters are not very happy about it!
The good news is that the Cabal has the solution for this particular predicament. The Cabal has decided on Drac’s penance. Their verdict? A reality-dating show known as Love at First Bite, starring none other than Drac! The world’s sexiest monsters will compete to win Drac’s affection. As expected, drama, romance, and hilarity will ensue! Drac has no other choice but to follow this plan, or else the Cabal will just end up destroying the world to reset things into the dark ages. It’s then that you’ll get to choose between playing as male or female Drac.
You see, The Deep End Games took Romancelvania to Kickstarter way back in 2020… which is not that far away. But in pandemic years, it certainly feels like an eternity! The team was seeking $200,000 in funding for the development of the game for an eventual PC and console release. Once the campaign was over, and thanks to the support of over 3,200 backers, the Kickstarter crowdfunding drive ended up at more than $216,000 in funding. While none of the stretch goals were reached, the team decided to rearrange the list and move one of the potential stretch goals into reality: being able to play as a fully voice-acted female Drac!
Romancelvania can be played in one of three difficulty settings: Nibble, Bite, and Chomp. For Nibble, you can focus on the story since you’ll be able to easily destroy your opponents. Bite offers a balanced, standard experience that will test your skills since the game infers that you’ve had some experience with 2D Metroidvania games in the past. As for Chomp, it considerably dials up the challenge with enemies and bosses that pack a punch… and they will certainly punish you for any mistakes you make along the way!
Once you jump into the game, you’ll control Drac with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, jumping and double jumping with the X button. To interact, just press up on either one. Your primary, secondary, and tertiary slots are mapped to the Square, Triangle, and Circle buttons, respectively. You can also hold down the L1 button to open up the selection wheel. You also have access to additional forms. Pressing the L2 button will activate your mist form while pressing the R2 button will activate a mighty wolf dash. You can also press in on the right analog stick to toggle the Battaboom Light. Battaboom is your bat assistant who will light the way. If you feed it some treats, it can also heal Drac!
What tricks can you map to the Square, Triangle, and Circle buttons? Drac will start with a magical sword mapped to the Square button. This is a basic attack that can deal good damage to enemies, but it’s only a starting weapon, after all! You’ll soon gain access to more tricks that you can add to your collection. There are, for example, bats that you can use to attack enemies that are above you. That sword will soon be joined by the mighty Impaler, a spear that will allow Drac to lunge forward while dealing good damage to anything foolish enough to stand on your path.
As Drac defeats enemies and bosses, experience points will be awarded for such brave efforts. This is very important because the all-powerful Drac is stripped of all power upon entering the revamped and improved castle! Gone are the dozens of extra hearts that made Drac almost invincible. Gone are the deadly attacks that could destroy any enemy in a single hit. By collecting enough experience points, Drac will boost the overall ratings level, which is very important for a show like Love at First Bite! That does mean you no longer will have access to the mist and wolf forms, nor the double jump, so you better find them along the way!
And now, let’s discuss the dating side of the game. As you progress through Romancelvania, you’ll get to meet a wide variety of new cast members that will join the experience. You can talk to them, help them out with some requests, and even decide to go on dates with them. Without spoiling things too much, I’ll talk briefly about Vesshana – Vess for short – and her first quest presented to Drac early in the game.
Vess is a genie. Yes, that type of genie. She’s currently done granting wishes since she’s enjoying a much-needed vacation at Drac’s renewed castle. When you first meet her, the way you address her and how you follow up each dialogue will have an impact on her overall trust and feelings for Drac. Since she’s chilling by the pool and enjoying a beverage, she asks Drac for some ice to better enjoy her drink. You’ll then be given your first quest: finding some ice for Vess!
Complete it, and your connection with Vess will grow a bit. This also applies to all other cast members, so be sure to find the right one for you so that you can boost their affection level! Improving your relationship with all cast members will be a must, even if you decide that you only want to be friends with someone. Why is that, you might ask? Because as you boost your relationship with each cast member, Grim will reward you with more of Drac’s abilities! The Tokens of Affection you obtain can be spent at a special store where Grim will give you what you need.
You’ll get to know cast members even better by chatting with them during the golden hour or by going out on a date. Your first opportunity will be at the end of the first episode, when Grim lets you know he’s set up a cozy dinner for two in the dining room, just in case you want to invite one of the cast members to join you. That early in the game, your options will be Vess, Brocifer, and Meduse… who just happens to be Drac’s ex. She’s also been turned to stone and has lost her former body.
At the end of each episode, you’ll have to decide which cast member is going to end up getting the Black Rose. This is not a good thing because whoever you decide will get the Black Rose must leave the show! Just go to the Gold Room to maybe buy someone a drink, chill for a moment, and try to move forward with your relationship. Just be sure to have enough money to pay for that drink, or else! The choices you make will have a direct effect on your current relationship level, so pay attention to each cast member’s personality as you decide how to approach them.
The game features a full trophy list with a Platinum, and there are plenty of trophies for you to earn! The list includes 32 Bronze trophies, 16 Silver trophies, and a single Gold trophy. As for what you’ll need to do to obtain them, objectives include things such as giving 5 gifts, giving a perfect gift, being on 13 types of dates, trying every trick, having Drac reach level 10, meeting the first 3 cast members, defeating each of the bosses in the game, buying 6 drinks, inviting cast members on special dates, and completing the game as both male and female Drac.
Romancelvania gives us a romance sim mashed together with a 2D Metroidvania with some interesting results. As you meet new cast members and get to know them better, you’ll have to decide who remains and who must leave the castle for good. There are fetch quests, dates, casual moments at the Golden Room, and action segments as you gain new abilities and explore new locations. After getting a chance to review Perception on Nintendo Switch, I was looking forward to checking out the new game from The Deep End Games, and I’m here to report that it’s one worth checking out on PlayStation 5.
This Romancelvania review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by 2124 Publishing.