The Count Lucanor (Switch) Review
A spooky castle, a fairy tale inspired story, and classic adventure styled gameplay? The Count Lucanor has all the elements to create a really rich, inspiring game- especially with this combination. Sadly, each part of this game is merely mediocre, meaning The Count Lucanor feels more like a slog than a big adventure and narrative.
The game starts off with one of the most jarring pieces of dialogue, with the main character, Hans, throwing a tantrum over his incredibly poor mother’s attempt to wish him a happy 10th birthday. He declares he’s going to run away, as he believes being 10 makes him a man. All of this just works to make me feel annoyed at Hans, but then… his mother gives him some cheese, a heirloom cane, and the rest of her money to make sure he’s safe. All of this happens so abruptly and doesn’t make logical sense, instantly pulling me out of the world and making me feel like I’m not a part of this experience.
The world then opens up to you a bit, with Hans meeting a few characters on his adventure, and eventually ending up at a creepy castle. Thankfully, this is where the gameplay and atmosphere does pick up. You’re told by a kobold that this is the castle of the Count Lucanor, home to all his treasures. Hans then has to go through a series of trials to find the name of the Kobold, which leads you to getting your hands on the castle and treasure.
The bulk of the gameplay is a series of rooms with different puzzles, mazes, and obstacles, along with a series of items that will make certain sections easier. None of the puzzles or trials feel particularly challenging, but definitely tedious at times. I had more fun exploring the castle hallways than I did in most of these rooms.
Unfortunately, there’s not much else to this game beyond that. While the setting does change near the end, the core gameplay stays the same, not really evolving much. And overall the game took 2-3 hours to complete, so you’re basically just left with a short, shallow experience.
And it really is a big shame. The castle feels genuinely creepy and the story premise actually felt intriguing (once you get to the castle). There’s a handful of pixel art, animated cutscenes that are also stunning. But beyond that, there’s not a lot of substance to The Count Lucanor.
To be clear, I didn’t hate The Count Lucanor. But I really didn’t enjoy it either. It’s a game that just feels merely mediocre in nearly every way, leaving me wishing it had more to it. There are a lot of good ideas that are just not developed to a satisfying standard, but I hope this game leads to more interesting games from these developers in the future.
Rating: 2.5 / 5
Beautiful castle and setting
A lot of good ideas
Animated cutscenes look incredible
Very, very short
A lot of untapped potential