[PlayStation 5] Romancelvania Review
Romancelvania from The Deep End Games and 2124 Publishing is a lite 2D Metroidvania mixed with a reality show dating sim. Check our Romancelvania review!
Play as a lovelorn, brooding Drac who, after a century of moping around post-heartbreak, is thrown into a monster reality-dating show, hosted by the Grim Reaper! Explore Transylvania’s perilous countryside as you slay absurd baddies on your hunt for the most eligible monsters. Will Drac find “Love at first Bite,” or will he discover “Love Sucks”?
Romancelvania from The Deep End Games and 2124 Publishing is a lite 2D Metroidvania mixed with a reality show dating sim. You’re Drac, and after spending a whole century away in your castle, you receive an invitation to a poker game. As he gets there, he realizes he’s been tricked and stripped out of all of his powers – which you’ll have the leisure to try out during the intro sequence. As it turns out, this was an invitation from your old friend, the Grim Reaper, who will forcefully enter you into a reality dating show in which you’ll have to find love along with recovering your powers.
Romancelvania is a lite 2D Metroidvania set in Drac’s – now revamped – castle and its surrounding areas. You’ll have to meet up with all of the love candidates – other sexy creatures from the underworld – and will have the option to reply to them with some pre-defined options in dialogue that will set the tone for said interactions. The conversations are often cheesy, and you’ll often be asked to do side-quests for them in order to enhance your relationship.
Romancelvania is mainly presented as a dating reality show, and you’ll even go backstage on some occasions, where you’ll see how the front décor is supported. I liked how you often hear the crowd cheer during some of your replies or how “ratings up” pops up when you level up your character. The presentation, as a whole, reminded me of the PlayStation 3 classic Puppeteer. As for the gameplay, this game has “vania” in its title, but Romancelvania doesn’t lean heavily into the elements of the Metroidvania genre. So if you’re looking for a pure Metroidvania, then this one might disappoint you in that aspect.
As for the controls, they felt very stiff. As you attack, Drac stops advancing as you slash instead of being able to do both at the same time, like most action games. It felt like it lacked dynamism. You’ll also often accidentally close one-time informative screens as you press the action button because the button presses are too sensitive. There’s also a weird issue where I would bring up the menu screen – once again without desiring to do so – and have a hard time closing it because it doesn’t react to the usual Circle button and can only be closed by pressing the Menu button.
Another issue I had was the lack of a detailed map of the world, which sometimes made exploration a chore. You’ll often get an objective along the lines of “go to this place,” but without a map or even an arrow pointing you in its general direction, you’ll end up spending more time exploring than you might expect. Not having a map could end up being a deal-breaker for some of you. You should also always save your game as soon as you find a spot to do so because they’re not that plentiful.
As for the presentation, I liked how the environments were built on the Unreal Engine, and the characters were all very well designed. The character and monster animations are also nice. In the cutscenes, the text written in the lower part of my 55″ TV screen was minuscule, and its size sadly can’t be increased. The voice acting is on the cheesy side by design, which fits the game really well. I liked most of the voice acting, but some of them felt uneven, mainly for the main character – male voice at least – where the sound quality between dialogue options would suddenly become muffled as if the microphone was off a low quality. The Grim Reaper voice actor did steal the show and is – by far – the best one in the whole game.
Romancelvania has some great ideas, and the dating show story was fun to experience. I did have some issues with different aspects of the controls as they felt too stiff for an action game, and the lack of a map rendered the exploration more challenging than it should have been. If you’re looking for a pure Metroidvania experience, then those issues have to be considered. Romancelvania is out on PlayStation 5 at a $24.99 price.
This Romancelvania review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by 2124 Publishing.