Castlevania: Symphony of the Night's Mobile Port Sucks Like a Vampire in a Blood Bank If You Don't Use a Controller

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night's Mobile Port Sucks Like a Vampire in a Blood Bank If You Don't Use a Controller

This mobile game is hair-raising as a handheld experience.

Last night during the witching hour, Konami bellowed "What is a Switch port?" and released Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on iOS and Android. I, for one, have been dying to play one of my all-time favorite action-adventure games with clumsy on-screen touch controls. I'm happier than a werewolf in a Milkbone factory.

All snark aside, I will never discourage you from buying a copy of Symphony of the Night, though I might recommend certain versions of the game over others for first timers. Just to put it out there: Symphony of the Night stinks as a mobile handheld experience. The controls are horrendous; jumping and whipping as Richter in the opening "Bloodlines" stage is a nightmare, and it doesn't get better from there. Konami opted for fixed buttons instead of the floating control scheme that's standard for action games on mobile. In other words, if your thumb doesn't precisely hit the tiny buttons that make Alucard move, jump, and attack, he simply won't. There's no forgiveness here. I haven't seen mobile control schemes this stiff and worthless since NES action games were first ported to iOS in the early '10s.

Here's the catch. Symphony of the Night for iOS and Android is controller compatible. Once you're freed of the port's wretched touch-screen controls, you get a good version of Symphony of the Night that costs a very attractive $2.99. In other words, if you haven't played this masterpiece from 1997 and you have the means to make the mobile version compatible with a decent display and a controller (the PlayStation 4 controller works well), $2.99 Symphony of the Night is a decent entry point.

Note that the mobile iteration of Symphony of the Night is based on the version released for 2007's Castlevania X Chronicles on the PSP. That means you won't get to hear Richter Belmont's infamous "Die, monster!" monologue. I think it's a shame Konami has (unsuccessfully) attempted to erase Symphony of the Night's embarrassing PlayStation localization, though I admit it's very nice to receive a more accurate localization in its place. It's also very nice to have the option of playing the game as Richter Belmont and Maria Renard.

On the topic of words, be aware the mobile port of Symphony of the Night has a mobile-friendly font, which looks about as elegant as you'd expect—i.e. prepare yourself for RPG Maker flashbacks. Despite these hitches, I can't fault the existence of a discount Symphony of the Night port that pairs well with a controller.

Still, if you're a blushing Symphony of the Night virgin and you have a little money to burn, consider consummating your relationship with Alucard using an original PlayStation disc. The first release of Symphony of the Night and its clumsy translation fades further out of memory each time Konami re-releases the game. We cannot let "I Am the Wind" drift away into non-existence. So seriously Konami, consider a proper Switch port.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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