The most memorable enemy confrontations come in the form of brutal boss challenges. While the first one is a pushover, allowing you to feel like a powerful slayer as you plunge your dagger through the brittle shell of a hideous lobster/baby monstrosity, the difficulty quickly ramps up. Bosses each have specific patterns that can be learned after dying one or two times at their hands, but their inflated health points make some fights drag on far too long. It's hard enough to avoid screen-filling blows from a giant enemy, but it can get extremely tedious when you are asked to perform the same dodge technique for 10 consecutive minutes. The later bosses are much fairer, though they still serve as formidable roadblocks along the way, halting your progress before you master their attack patterns. The cleverest bosses force you to dispatch them in creative ways that will make you use your mind more than your chosen glyphs.
That is one repulsive lobstrosity.
The art design has never been stronger in the Castlevania series. The enemies are positively creepy, ranging from floating heads with prehensile tongues to a twisted take on the classic butterfly. The bosses are large and imposing, bellowing nerve-wrenching screams while they spew out gastric juices and make you thankful they don't exist in real life. The environments create an air of foreboding doom. The fog engulfing some areas adds a layer of tension without obscuring your view, while the underwater sections are fertile ground for the unchecked breeding of some truly vile creatures. Though it reuses some sprites from older Castlevania titles--a distraction for series veterans--the sheer variety of new graphics seen in both the lands you'll traverse and the enemies you'll face off against more than make up for some recycled content.
Order of Ecclesia oozes personality and will urge players to explore all that it has to offer. The streamlined level design and versatile combat system make this the most engaging Castlevania game in years. In both technical prowess and artistic valor, this is one of the most accomplished games in the series. The unholy visual design, jarring sound effects, and wonderfully composed score create a mood unmatched in the portable realm. If you can get past the overly difficult boss battles, you'll be treated to an extremely rewarding adventure. Games like this make you thankful that Dracula has a penchant for resurrection.