Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio Review

Retro styled games are all the rage – and for good reason. Often, they take what we remember was good about them, shine it up a bit and appeal to our rose-tinted memories while  actually playing and looking much, much better. Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio, for better or worse, doesn’t attempt such trickery, outside of being designed to look nice on a HDTV.

I was always a Sega kid growing up, but one of my friends had a NES that I’d play on from time to time. It’s this console that Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio is instantly reminiscent of, from the bold, bright, and limited colour palette, to the audio work and even the way the title screen slides in to view. Options for play are limited (with just 2 modes to choose from) but then, much like back in the day, it’s not really about variety as it is repetition.

Each single screen is a platforming puzzle to solve, requiring us to grab a key to unlock the exit. If you’re a younger gamer, you may be somewhat confused early on though; us old players will remember that, due to limitations in the hardware, back and foreground detail often blurred into one. This meant that what looked like an incidental detail is actually a ledge we can use, or a hazard to avoid.

Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio keeps this factor alive, meaning we need to jump on everything in a screen to see what happens. Early on this is fine as the challenge hasn’t notched up yet, but later on it’s as frustrating as I remember it being way back when. Luckily the controls are tight and responsive, but when I fall yet again because a platform wasn’t actually a platform or some spikes blend a little too well into the scenery, it can get a bit tedious.

Especially in the default mode; here, we only get a handful of hits before its game over. It can be replenished before the boss battles a little, but that’s the only helping hand we get. There’s a fair few rooms that throw danger our way the second it loads too, leading to some cheap feeling hits and untimely, annoying restarts. The second mode is easier, certainly, but it turns the whole game into a battle of attrition rather than skill. We only have one life, but unlike the main mode, when we get hit we have to start the screen we’re on again. I found this great to be able to brute force my way through more levels and see what was coming up, but the single hit means we need to clear a screen perfectly.

There’s still some fun here though. It can be quite satisfying to get a few screens further each time, using what we’ve learned to clear previous ones without being hit. The visuals, while basic and confusing at times, have a good charm about them, with some genuinely odd designs popping up along the way. It’s a good title to pick up and play for 15 minutes in between things, or if you fancy a break from the nitty gritty of, well, everything right now.

Conclusion

Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio manages to faithfully capture the feel of the NES titles of old – both good and bad. It’s easy to pick up and play and can be rewarding at times, but the retro visuals and design mean it can be equally frustrating to play. Good for short bursts here and there, just be sure to bring all the patience you can muster with you.

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This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.
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Good
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • Nails the retro aesthetic...
Bad
  • ...for better and worse
  • Can get frustrating quickly
6.1
Okay
Gameplay - 7
Graphics - 6
Audio - 6
Longevity - 5.5
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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