The surprise release of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night ($2.99) on iOS made lots of gamers pretty happy. After all, it’s one of the most celebrated games of all time, and has inspired countless titles that borrow heavily from its trademark mix of combat and traversal.
Before Symphony of the Night came to touch screens though, there were plenty of other games trying to bring a similar experience to folks. See below for our five favorite Castlevania-like experiences on the App Store.
In a lot of ways Dust: An Elysian Tail is a love letter to Castlevania games. Aside from starring anthropomorphic woodland creatures using a somewhat cutesy aethetic, this game follows the exploration formula to a T all while layering on a surprisingly deep and satisfying combat system.
Grimvalor feels like it’s equal parts Castlevania and Dark Souls, but with quick and nimble controls that allow for the action to be dialed up to 11. If you want a bit more of a combat focus in your romp through an interconnected world, make sure to pick this game up.
Looking for a more bite-sized Castlevania experience for your small screen? Traps n’ Gemstones is definitely worth looking into. This title is relatively short and lacks the punishing difficulty of some of the others on this list. Also, it lets you play as an Indiana Jones-like character, but instead of stealing ancient relics from their resting places, you’re trying to restore them to their proper locations.
Ninja Smasher may not control like your typical Castlevania game, but that’s a big part of what makes it so great. Instead of relying on virtual joysticks, players can tap on the screen to send their ninja flying in that direction or zip into enemies to attack them. The game is designed around puzzles that weave together this unique traversal mechanic with combat puzzles, making for a Castlevania experience that feels tailored specifically for touch.
Out of the 100+ games on the Apple Arcade service, the best title that provides the mix of exploration and combat of something like Castlevania is Shantae and the Seven Sirens. Although it isn’t quite finished yet (there’s a Part 2 that has yet to release), there’s a lot of fun to be had playing as a half-genie that can turn into other creatures to explore the depths of a vast sunken city.