Clan O’Conall and the Crown of the Stag is a side-scrolling platform game, inspired by Irish – Celtic lore and mythology. So It follows the tale of three children of Clan O’Conall on their quest to retrieve their father from the wicked witch/demon mother Caoranach.
A classic Celtic story if you ask me. You play as 3 distinct characters from Clan O’Conall. First up is Haggish the gigantic Celtic brute. We then have Clakshot the elegant archer, and finally, Kilcannon your classic Celtic hero of Clan O’Conall (my personal favourite if you haven’t already guessed). The story is nothing too significant and for the most part remains a typical rescue mission/dungeon crawling Metroidvania type story. But what gives it weight are Clan O’Conall’s visuals and sense of atmosphere.
The Crown of the Stag
Clan O’Conall and the Crown of the Stag is a very charming game with some impressive visuals. The art style is one that fits into the whole Irish/Scottish/Celtic mysticism of the game. A simplistic and elegant backdrop to each level and cutscene adds so much to the ambience and atmosphere of your experience. Honestly, it gave me massive Book of Kells vibes which I feel is what the developers were going for, and they nailed it!
Each area had a nice feel to it, and although it’s nothing revolutionary in this genre, Clan O’Conall and the Crown of the Stag can easily hold its weight on visuals and ambience alone. Speaking of ambience, the soundtrack is also just right! Keeping the mood consistently Celtic with many tunes sounding like something straight out of Ireland and Scotland (or Braveheart for that matter). A whimsical yet mythical tone adds so much to the experience of Clan O’Conall and the Crown of the Stag.
The Celtic House Baratheon vs Evil Demon Witch
Clan O’Conall and the Crown of the Stag adds a fun new spin on the platform genre, allowing you to switch between the 3 different playable characters on the fly, as mentioned above. This mechanic alone warrants attention. As one who does not frequent platformers as much as I should (I sometimes find them monotonous). After all, you just walking left to right up and down (except for Hollow Knight, that game is amazing)! I found it so refreshing to switch characters on the fly. I have never seen such a mechanic in this genre before, but I’m so glad it’s here.
So much of the game’s puzzles and bosses are thrown wide open, with different playstyles becoming available due to the playable characters. I can even see myself coming back to this game in the future to see how far I can get using only one character. You can play as a beat-em-up tank by switching to Haggish, or a rough ranger by switching to Clakshot.
I’ll admit I found myself mostly only playing Kilcannon for the first hour and a half, but I quickly grasped the utility and enjoyment of switching characters after my first boss fight. The boss fights are a blast in this game. Special shoutout to the Dullahan, who was a nice mix of bullet hell and platforming rolled into one boss. Each boss leaves a strong impression and forces you to utilise your entire party to their maximum effectiveness. And that is a wonderful thing in this genre.
The only thing which restrains me from giving this a perfect score is that the controls at times felt very clunky and not as responsive as I would like. Kilcannons block can deflect projectiles but he also does this weird jumping animation, so every time you block you do a weird barrel roll jump which threw me off. I didn’t get as good a reflect as I felt I should, especially with projectiles. Also, this game is terrible to play on keyboard as the bindings are so counterintuitive, so I highly recommend playing using a controller if you can!
There is a lot more I can say about this absolute gem of an Indie game, but I’ll end this review on this; you should be playing this game over the summer for its visuals and really fun gameplay mechanics.
Anyone who even has the mildest of interests in platformers should play it. And hey, even if you’re just doing Celtic Studies in college this would be a blast. For all things, Celtic and platform-y (?) stay tuned to GamEir!