Pacing is a far more important consideration than most people give it credit for. Good pacing can reinforce a gameplay loop and make it truly addictive, whereas bad pacing tends to result in sections that are such a slog that many players stop playing and never continue. Cathedral is a game that doesn’t just embrace bad pacing—it builds a temple to it and worships at its altar.
It’s still fun to find hidden upgrades and access new areas, especially out of order, and overall this remains an enjoyable experience I aim to 100% someday in my free time, but if you were hoping for something as charming or well-crafted as the Alwa games, I’m sad to say you won’t get that here, but rather a simple and fun metroidvania that’s just a bit rough around the edges, yet still very enjoyable for fans of the genre.
In the end, I have very mixed feelings about Cathedral. I appreciate the style and concept, and even find the game fun a lot of the time. But all that is put at risk by questionable design and unbalanced difficulty. If you’re not afraid of a little pain, you’ll likely have a lot of fun. Those that are adverse to annoyance will need to decide if this game is worth the price of admission. That said, I do hope that developer Decemberborn AB is able to use my critiques to make a more balanced Metroidvania in the future. Because rough spots aside, there’s a lot that I enjoyed here.
Cathedral’s adventure is certainly an enjoyable one thanks to its solid level design and fun boss battles, but it is lacking in the innovation required to really help it stand out. The Nintendo Switch library is packed to the brim with Metroidvania-style adventures after all, and honestly, it doesn’t really offer anything that would make you want to choose to play it over the multitude of other titles available. Fortunately, Cathedral does offer enough quality across almost all facets of its design that it still manages to stand out as a worthwhile release in the genre. Sure, it might not do anything you wouldn’t have seen before and it does have a few flaws here and there, but the solid level design, the expansive world, and the fun boss battles ensures that it offers more than enough to pique the interest of Metroidvania-loving gamers.