Cathedral review (PS4)

Decemberborn Interactive’s Cathedral was released on PC back in 2019 and was ported over to the Nintendo Switch last year. Now that it’s also available on PlayStation, it’s time for a closer look.

Cathedral is an action platformer that taps heavily into the retro appeal that games like Shovel Knight have – and even casts you as a knight, ready for an epic adventure. Here, the 8-bit NES vibes are especially strong though, with slightly simpler visuals that feel like an even closer match to Nintendo’s classic platform than Yacht Club’s modern classic was.

There isn’t much in the way of character creation, but you’re free to name your knight before heading into the tutorial, which unsurprisingly sees you appear in a cathedral. Over time, you’ll pick up a variety of weapons and can even upgrade your character’s armor, but the most interesting changes come when you start collecting charms that grant you different abilities, like a dash or the skill to place blocks that help you get to higher places and solve puzzles.

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Your adventure doesn’t just take place inside the titular cathedral, but also takes you outside to the surrounding woods and towns, all of which are crafted in the same 8-bit style. Items can be bought in in-game shop, and although you get infinite continues the game does take away 10% of your current gold stash each time you die – an especially tricky section can literally cost you dearly.

There’s a metroidvania-like element to the game as well, as new abilities and items allow you to get to places you previously had trouble reaching. Some of these upgrades and/or additional gold can be gotten through side quests that you receive from NPCs too, so there are story-driven adventure/RPG elements to what initially looks like a simple platformer too. They’re worth doing whenever you run into them, and not just because of the rewards – in quite a few cases skipping them will result in you running into areas where you can’t progress because you’re missing an item or ability.

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Luckily, the in-game map helps you determine where you haven’t been able to progress yet, so even when you might find yourself backtracking it’s rarely frustrating as long as you manage to minimize these moments by taking on side quests and acquiring upgrades.

With a very lengthy campaign and a good amount of variation in puzzles, level designs and abilities, Cathedral is a fun indie that offers far more value for money than you’d initially think because of its rather generic visuals. It doesn’t break a lot of new ground, but if you enjoy retro-inspired action platformers this is a great new choice for PlayStation owners.

Score: 7.8/10

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