Game Reviews

Lords of Exile

Lords of Exile is an arcade 2D action platformer that was developed by Squidbit Works. It was co-published by PID Games and PixelHeart, and it got released on this year’s Valentine’s Day, the 14th of February 2024, that we from now on call Vengeance Day. It has a classic retro look and retro gameplay mechanics, that aged well and still work great.


Lords of Exile is a 2D 8-bit side-scrolling action platformer with retro gameplay mechanics and a linear level design. In it, you will embark on a quest for revenge through the far Lands of Exilia, that were overrun by various creatures and Samurais. Now it is up to you that you defeat them all an vanquish the darkness. The game features eight linear levels for you to explore, while every level features pretty challenging enemies and obstacles for you to defeat. Every level ends with an even more challenging Boss Battle, that only a few will have the nerves and skills to beat. Gabriel, which is you, will receive an additional skill after defeating a boss, that will allow you to face even bigger challenges that await you as you progress through the game. Lords of Exile’s gameplay consists of different mechanics, like ranged and melee combat, to jumping around, sliding and dashing. You are able to play the game as Gabriel or Lyria, and both characters provide a different gameplay experience. As you complete the game with Gabriel, you will unlock Lyria and new game modes – Speedrunner and Boss Rush, which you can enjoy with both characters.

You begin the game at Samantha’s Castle, to where a chariot brings you. A few wolves (or something) encounter you and after that you quickly obtain you secondary attack, which are knives that you are able to throw. You cannot pick them back up, which is a shame, but oh well… By defeating enemies, they will drop some gold, with which you will be able to bet at at slot-machine to gain goodies from it. At the end of the level, the first Boss Battle will await, Samantha, and after you beat her, you will continue in Tronkeda’s Gold. Soon you will obtain a Curse Bar, which is a Power Bar that can summon a shadow when it it full and flashing. The Katsu Shadow that you get provides a shockwave that destroys special walls, but is not good against enemies. Well, f@#k it! Anyway, you will continue playing through linear levels with hazards, like a rising water level, in them, and most of all lots of enemies. As far as the graphics go, they are retro inspired and made out of 8-bit pixel art with fast character animations. Most people praise the soundtrack, that is made with a Megadrive soundchip, but I did not find it all that fascinating – it is mediocre at best.

You can think of Lords of Exile as a brand-new 8-bit Castlevania game that you can buy in 2024. Its controls are pretty good and responsive, and you are able to unlock a second character, if you complete the game, so there is some incentive to finish it.


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