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 first released in Canada on September 20, 2019.
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
Chapter 5: Dark Laughter
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.
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.
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.
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.