Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls (悪魔城ドラキュラ Grimoire of Souls Akumajō Dorakyura Grimoire of Souls?) is a mobile game part of the Castlevania series, developed and published by Konami. It was released in Canada on September 20, 2019, and a worldwide release has not been confirmed to this date.
The game includes a variety of single player and multiplayer modes (co-op and PvP). It also incorporates role-playing elements, such as character growth and an experience-based system, as well as the use of in-game currency and microtransactions.
After receiving a letter from Lucy Westenra, Arikado ventures to the Elgos Order. There, Lucy addresses him on the Grimoires, magic books which contain information on all the past events of Castlevania, which are overflowing with dark power and beyond their control, hence needing the help of Arikado to restore order on them. Then, with appropriate magic created on Elgos, Arikado must enter the Grimoires and defeat the monsters inscribed into them for the dark power to dissipate, mainly the Core Monsters which have control over the Grimoires.
Chapter 1: Dracula's Castle
As Arikado enters the first Grimoire, he changes to his Alucard outfit and has his former power lost, since the Grimoire cuts connection with the real world, having to gather power inside the Grimoire to be able to write into it and become stronger. As Alucard reenters the Grimoire and goes on to the castle, he summons weapons and abilities with the help of Lucy, and she tells him that good personalities inscribed into the Grimoires can join him in his battle. Meanwhile, Death appears to Alucard inside the Grimoire and has a short battle with him, in which he defeats Alucard. After that, Death reasons that he won due to Alucard being weaker inside the book, revealing that he isn't part of the inscriptions on the Grimoire, but rather a living personality that entered it just like Alucard himself. Alucard then leaves the Grimoire and talks with Lucy about Death, to which she surprisingly reacts, as no one else should have the capability to enter the books, but Alucard dismisses this and says that Death could find a way to do the same in order to resurrect Dracula. Then, Lucy talks again about bringing other heroes from the Grimoire inscriptions who could help Alucard against Death and his dark forces, revealing Simon Belmont, summoned from the Grimoire, much to Alucard's surprise. Simon reacts violently due to Alucard being a dhampir, advised by the Vampire Killer, thus making Alucard explain his reasonings and telling Simon about Trevor, convincing Simon that he plays a good role in these events. Furthermore, while Simon and Alucard enter the Grimoire again, Lucy summons the child Maria Renard from the Rondo of Blood era, and Charlotte Aulin, who then join the heroes inside the book. Finally, they all come to the core monster, the Giant Bat, which is in possession of the Vital Soul that is darkening the Grimoire, and upon its defeat the book is pacified again.
Chapter 2: A City of Fog
Next, the heroes enter into the second Grimoire, which described one of Brauner's paintings in 1944. Again, Lucy summons Shanoa to join them, and Charlotte gets eager to see her childhood friend and partner Jonathan Morris in the Grimoire, since its inscriptions tell about her time inside the castle. While the heroes discuss the Glyphs and the Belmont's vanishing, Lucy notices the writings have changed since they entered it and supposes it's due to the dark forces trying to take control of the book, since the overwriting is putting Jonathan into disadvantage against the monster he's fighting. After delving deep into the Grimoire, Lucy discovers the monster which holds the Vital Soul, who is fighting with Jonathan and winning due to the overwriting. To make matters worse, Charlotte suddenly expresses unease and starts to fade away due to the rewrites. Then, they all enter the book and save Jonathan, stepping forward to clash with the headless champion Dullahan, destroying its head and securing the Vital Soul, reverting back the flow of Chaos inside it. Finally, Lucy also materializes Jonathan; however, due to the alterations, Jonathan won't be at full strength and may only help the others for a short period.
Chapter 3: Ash Banquet
Although Lucy can't locate Grimoires with contents corrupted, she finds one that is being manipulated at the moment - namely the one describing Transylvania in 1792, when Richter Belmont wielded the whip, and the heroes enter it to prevent the full corruption. After venturing into it, Shanoa asks what exactly the Grimoires are, to which Seward, the Director of Elgos, appears to clear any doubts. He then tells about the "Grimoire of Souls", a detailed account about Dracula and the circumstances of his recurrent resurrections that was written in order to understand and prevent human malice to take over again in the future, and also where all other Grimoires originate from. While Seward also tells Arikado that his organization was founded in 1999, the year Dracula perished forever inside the solar eclipse, Maria begins to feel uneasy and starts to fade herself due to the corruption on the books that also is endangering Richter inside the Grimoire. At last, Lucy identifies and localizes the Wyvern, which fights Richter, and the heroes save him while also defeating the monster and capturing its Vital Soul, restoring Maria back to normal and partially summoning Richter the same way it was done with Jonathan.
Chapter 4: That Witch Writhes
It is said, then, that all the Grimoires are connected, and chaos in one of them influences the others. Due to this, the heroes depart to enter one of the most corrupted ones, the book that represents Transylvania in 1797, the era of Alucard's lone fight against Dracula and Shaft. After discussing Richter's possession by Shaft, they enter Dracula's Castle in the Underground Caverns and fight the monsters inside, while Richter feels troubled by the bloodlust inside him, which made he get possessed in the first place, responded by the other heroes trying to soothe his troubles. In the Abandoned Mine, Charlotte recalls the encounter with Death, saying that the dark forces are overtaking the Grimoire, to which Lucy responds telling about the next Grimoire alteration, which is affecting Maria from Symphony Of The Night era, which acts like a different person from child Maria. Arikado vows to help Maria and they depart to the Catacombs. As Richter and Jonathan train their whips, Lucy informs about the monster fighting Maria, making Arikado anxiously rush to save her, for whom she shares feelings for. Inside the crypt, Alucard saves Maria from the Legion, followed by a battle of the heroes against the monster. When defeated, the Vital Soul is secured, but suddenly, Soma Cruz appears before them, and Alucard senses Dracula's chaos inside the young man, who tries to take the Vital Soul from them, but retreats after a brief sparring. When interrogated, Soma is interrupted by a woman called Hermina, who takes Soma with her. Then, Seward reveals that she was the member who made possible to enter the Grimoires, as a member of Elgos, until she fled and took several books with her, and she is possibly the reason that the books are full with Chaos right now.
Chapter 5: Dark Laughter
Lucy tells Arikado about the next Grimoire, a record of Castlevania in the 19th century, during the Belmont's disappearance, which is Shanoa's era. While the heroes venture through the Barracks of the castle, adult Maria is summoned with her Beasts spells, much to child Maria and Richter's awe. When Shanoa explains about the nature of Glyphs, Ecclesia and its secrecy from the worldly knowledge, the text of the Grimoire begins to get altered again, making Shanoa get into disadvantage, which makes her slowly fade. Lucy frightens when she finds the monster holding the Vital Soul, due to the enormous power it exhales, though Shanoa doesn't falter due to her promise of living, made to Albus, her brother. While they prepare to confront it, Lucy explains that the heroes she summons are but a manifestation of the words written by historians long ago, when past events of Castlevania happened, rather than their actual selves, and the representations, their skills and memories are restricted to what was recorded previously, much to Arikado's dismay, since he isn't talking to the real Maria he loved. When everyone enters the Grimoire, they find themselves on a Colosseum with Eligor, a giant horse demon, attacking Shanoa. The demon is fiercely defeated, but Hermina and Soma don't appear, leaving the Vital Soul free to capture. As the Vital Soul is sealed and Shanoa returns to normal, Lucy surprises everyone summoning Albus, who gladly reunites with Shanoa. Meanwhile, Richter and child Maria both begins to fade again, meaning that another rewriting is taking place, urging the heroes to return to 1792 and save them both.
Chapter 6: TBA
The chapter will continue the adventure in 1792 to save Richter and child Maria from fading.
Chapter 7: TBA
The chapter will continue the adventure in 1797.
Chapter 8: TBA
The chapter will take place in the events of 2036, Soma Cruz's era.
Genya Arikado plays the role of main protagonist. A new character called Lucy Westenra plays a supporting role, helping to elaborate on the story, guiding the player through various tutorials on the game's numerous features, and also acting as a merchant (or host) during in-game purchases. Playable characters on the closed beta are Alucard, Simon Belmont, Charlotte Aulin, Shanoa and Maria Renard (from Rondo of Blood). Soma Cruz's artwork is present on the game's website, but not on the upcoming-characters' announcement section, nor is he a playable character. Other characters such as Albus, Richter Belmont, Maria Renard (from Symphony of the Night), Jonathan Morris and Trevor Belmont appear as assist summons performing their "Ex Skill" special attacks.
- Alucard/Genya Arikado
- Simon Belmont
- Maria Renard (Rondo of Blood)
- Charlotte Aulin
- Soma Cruz (coming soon)
Assist summon characters
- Jonathan Morris
- Richter Belmont
- Maria Renard (Symphony of the Night)
- Trevor Belmont (coming soon)
- Hammer (coming soon)
- Mina Hakuba (coming soon)
- Giant Bat
- Soma Cruz (representation)
- Carmilla (coming soon)
- Beelzebub (coming soon)
- Gergoth (coming soon)
The game's system has been described as cooperative, with up to four players at the same time. Characters can be improved to grow stronger, and fallen allies can be resurrected with a mechanic dubbed "Soul Resurrection". A cooperative Boss Rush mode is also included, along with a PvP battle mode with teams consisting of four players each.
The game makes use of in-game currency and microtransactions.
Challenges designed with specific reward structures in mind. Trials may only be attempted a certain amount of times each day. Trial Quills, which can be obtained at the Trade Shop or as a reward, can be used to participate in additional Trials. Depending on the performance the player will the ranked with a score, ranging from "S" to "F", from best to worse. Earning an "S" rank will unlock the skip function, with which complete an attempt at a Trial without undertaking it.
Quest where the player can obtain Enhancement Runes used to strengthen equipment. The players defeats enemies while ascending by a rising elevator. If the player is late in getting to the elevator, they will be teleported to it, with a decrease on the score.
Quest where character experience can be earned as a reward. The score can be increased by taking down the waves of enemies that come at the player, but taking damage from them will reduce the score.
Quest that reward in gold, obtained mainly by collecting coins, but also by defeating enemies and as a Time bonus. Being caught by the Behemoth will result in heavy damage, and, after falling into a trap hole, the player will recover but the score will be decreased.
Bounty Hunt is a co-op mode for four player to take on waves of enemies in a stage. The number of remaining enemies is displayed on the bottom of the screen. To clear the game, it is necessary to defeat all enemies within the time limit. Points are earned by picking up coins dropped by enemies. At the end, player will be ranked based on the number of points acquired. Higher ranking players will earn better rewards. Were the players not to defeat all enemies by the time the limit is reached, the quest will end in failure.
Ranking events where players compete with Rating Points earned from Bounty Hunts will occur while specific events are being held. When the seasons that are held during an event end, rewards depending on players ranking will be sent.
Competitive mode between two players to see who can deal the most damage to the boss. Whoever deals the most damage will get more rewards, so being first to reach the boss is crucial.
The completion of various challenges, such as defeating a certain number of enemies, will earn extra rewards.
The difficulty level can be chosen freely, with the potential to earn better rewards by taking higher difficulties.
To play quests with a specific player, select "Co-op" when selecting Quest Supporter. This will create a Matching Room. In the Matching Room, the player can send invitations to friends or recruit random players.
The player can also join other players' Matching Rooms. Participation can be made via "Quick Match" in the Co-op menu or selecting "Join Co-op" fro the home screen.
The player can send a Co-op invite to other players from their Matching Room. The player only needs to tap "Invite Friend" on the Matching screen and select the friend they'd like to invite. Their invitation will be displayed in their friend's Invite List under the category "Join Co-op".
The player will be awarded after meeting certain requirements, which can be consulted by going to Home → Missions.
Completed by fulfilling requirements within a daily period. Resets each day.
Completed by fulfilling requirements within a weekly period. Resets each week.
Accumulative achievements completed through continuous gameplay.
Individual achievements for each character
Bounty Hunt Achievement
Achievements earned by taking on several challenges unlocked in Bounty Hunt. Resets every season.
Rewards and any equipment the player is unable to hold are stored in the Present Box. Items can only be stored in the Present Box for a certain period of time, so is recommended to the player to claim them as soon as possible. Items can be claimed individually with the option "Claim" or claimed in their entirety with "Claim All". Precious Gems can only be retrieved individually.
Obtained after achieving a certain goal, when claiming them, the player will be automatically be taken to a summoning ritual.
The player can view a history of all the items claimed from the Present Box.
Gems are used to acquire equipment. There are very different summoning rituals that the player can perform, each giving different types of equipment. If the player receives any equipment that they already own, they can get equipment parchment fragments instead. Once per day, the player is granted a free summon without risk of losing crystals.
Parchment fragments are spent to receive equipment. The equipment gotten depends on the rarity of the equipment parchment fragments spend.
As a limitation to the trading within the shop, items found in the market may only be available for a limited period of time, or can only be purchased a limited number of times.
Where the player can acquire, via microtransactions, gems that can be used in the game and that will be separately accounted as "paid gems".
Where gold, bounty coins and parchment can be used to trade for several items. Each currency has a different assortment of items to trade with.
The acquisition of items for points earned through limited-time events.
Astral attrament can be spent to trade for various items. The player can obtain Astral Attrament by "breaking" the several units of parchment they have in their possession.
Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls was first announced on April 17, 2018. The game then went through closed-beta stage and was slated to be released on the iOS platform. The closed beta ended on May 22, 2018. The game, according to a Konami press sheet, would also be available on Android dispositives and be released worldwide in 2019. Two more Castlevania products were released in the meantime: Castlevania Anniversary Collection and Castlevania Requiem.
News on Grimoire of Souls still being in development reemerged on September 2019, when an official trailer of the game was suddenly released without any prior announcement, although a release date was still not given. The game was finally made available on the Google App Store in Canada on the 20th of that same month, again, without any major announcement.
Beta inquiry report
After its beta-stage period, Konami issued a report on the quality inquiry that had to be answered with the beta. The statistics were divided in several categories, and were as follow:
- Graphics: 69% considered the graphics to be good and 9 % considered them bad. The other 22% chose not to answer.
- Story/background: A 67% of the inquired considered it was good, and 5% viewed it as bad. The resting 28% chose not to answer.
- Action/operability: This category received a general negative response, with a 20% of good answers and a 63% of bad answers, with an abstinence of 17%.
- Multiplayer: The multiplayer experience had more mixed reviews. 38% of the inquired qualified it as good, a 31% as bad and the resting 31% abstained
- Battle System: The battle system received a generally negative review with up to 46% of the inquired considering bad, against 13% that gave it a positive review.
- Single player mode: The single-player experience received a favorable review by the 51% of the inquired against the negative report from 9% of the inquired.
- Character and equipment progression: This category received a mixed review; with a 31% of favorable reviews and 30% negative.
- Use of enhanced screen: Thia category received a mainly negative review, with 47% of the inquired considering it bad, against a 21% who gave a more favorable review of it.
- Sound: The sound category (which treated to both BGM and SFX) received a general positive response; with 83% of the critics being favorable, and 3% of bad critics.
- Technical performance: Viewed mainly negative, with 47% of the inquired considering it bad, and an acceptance of 13%.
- Connection speed and load times: Were reviewed generally negative, with an acceptance of 17% and a negative view from 37% of the inquired.
Playable characters review
- Alucard was considered easy to play by 87% of the inquired.
- Simon was considered easy to play by 75% of the inquired.
- Charlotte was considered easy to play by 67% of the inquired.
- Shanoa was considered easy to play by 76% of the inquired.
- Maria was considered easy to play by 76% of the inquired.
The sound (especially the music) was praised both technically and stylistically, and the choice of reusing music from past titles was view as good.
The graphics were considered really well crafted and a successor to the Castlevania atmosphere, although the character designs could have been improved. The graphical interface was considered very good and intuitive for a mobile phone game.
The operability was considered good and the action fun, and the gameplay was easy to understand.
The multiplayer was appreciated, specially the competitive modes, and the communication was easy to use.
The character customization, both in its outlook and in its playability was praised.
Was compared to Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.
It was considered too difficult to perform long combos or fast movements due to the slow performance of the touchscreen. Some considered the experience would have been better if the "Jump" and "Attack" buttons were always visible.
On multiplayer, the pairings where considered bad, and sometimes the players would end up been paired with players way stronger than them.
Players had a general view that it took too much time to level-up a character.
It was generally considered that the game consumed too much battery, and that when playing on an iPhone 6 (the minimum hardware it could be played), the processing speed was too slow and sometimes it would boot to the Start Screen.
- Grimoire of Souls is the first game to state that Soma Cruz is Japanese in the English versions. Although this tidbit was mentioned in the Japanese versions of the Sorrow games, the English localization of Aria of Sorrow instead indicated that Soma had been a foreign transfer student to Japan.