Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio – What We Think:
Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio by Marcelo Barbosa is an 8-bit, 2D platformer where the goal is to get as far as you can. It’s a challenging, nonstop action experience that incentivizes quick thinking, platforming precision and memorization. Like older 8-bit games, it’s a game that’s meant to be replayed over and over again until mastered.
There is no story in Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio. Once you start, the game there is no narrative setup or introduction. It throws you right into the game with upbeat music blaring as the game expects you to figure things out on your own. There isn’t much to learn besides moving left, right, and jumping. This blind open doesn’t hurt the game; it aids in creating a frenetic tone to which you will soon become accustomed.
This game is inspired by games like Warioware, where quick reactions and timing is necessary for success. Levels – which are in the form of rooms – are short and require you to quickly scan to find a way to get to the next room, which is either a doorway that requires a key found within that room or a black hole.
It’s simple and easy to grasp, but what makes it difficult is the levels themselves. Most of the rooms will keep you on your toes, constantly moving, or timing your jumps just right to avoid a certain enemy.
The game goes from room to room with no narrative consistency; you’ll be jumping on a roof that’s on fire and immediately after find yourself on a diving board in the next area. The randomness did help to make the game more interesting to play through, and it surprised you with what kind of room you’d get next. One minor annoyance of the level design I encountered was that I oftentimes had trouble deciphering what were platforms and what was just part of the background.
Tcheco starts the game with eight lives, which means every time you get hit you lose a life. When all your lives are depleted, you have to start the game all over again from the beginning. It feels a lot like an endurance test. As you’ll undoubtedly replay beginning levels over and over again, you start to master levels through practice.
Once you learn the timing in many of the levels you soon start to breeze through the beginning of the game, then die, then rinse and repeat until you slowly learn and master each level.
This mechanic feels very reminiscent of the Roguelike elements in many games nowadays, the only difference being that games that implement total restarts will typically have random elements to make the next playthrough interesting. Quickly you’ll find that the more you play Tcheco in the Castle Lucio, the less interesting it becomes.
I understand that this game isn’t trying to give future playthroughs unique elements each time they start, but without some kind of save system, password system, warp zones, or game mechanic that makes replaying levels feel less monotonous, it starts to feel sloggishly repetitive.
Visually and from an auditory standpoint, everything about this game is designed to look and feel like an old school 8-bit game, albeit with really nicely drawn pixel art. Colors are purposefully limited, and the soundtrack features a nice selection of Mega Man-inspired catchy chiptunes. Its homage is convincing and executed extremely well, so well, in fact, that when I first started playing it I thought it was made in the past and finally ported over to Steam a number of years later.
I can’t really fault this game too much for being what it is; it’s an 8-bit game that is meant to be replayed and mastered until, 60 levels later, you reach the end. The game nails what it sets out to do, and it’s executed nicely. Its difficulty will turn some people off, but if you’re looking for a challenging game with that nostalgic 8-bit feel, give Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio a try.
Watch the trailer for Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio below: