In our Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate review we said the game's "fang-tastic (ahem) combat, exploration and production values more than compensate for the middle-of-the-road platforming".
"That it manages to capture the flavour of both Lords of Shadow and 2D Castlevania is impressive, even if it doesn't necessarily outshine either," we added.
Reviews from other publications have started to appear online and scores range from high 9s to low 4s. Here's a complete round-up of all verdicts.
- Official Nintendo Magazine: 92% - In a world in which developers are so often afraid of spectacle in handheld games - scared, apparently, that you'll miss it, or it'll overcomplicate things - this stands out proudly. It's a compromise between action and exploration, between the series' history and contemporary trends, between traditional presentation and modern technology. It's the best Castlevania game we've played in years and it might be the best action game we've ever played on a handheld console.
- Edge: 7 - Three times the protagonists gives you three times the number of toys and an engaging, if thoroughly convoluted, story, but it's not without cost. What Simon, Trevor and Alucard give to the mechanics and narrative they take from its flow: you still feel gated, even when you've got all the gear. It's a deflating discovery, but few games save their disappointments for their endgames. And Mirror Of Fate, like Lords Of Shadow before it, feels like Castlevania, but carves out a likeable identity of its own.
- VideoGamer: 9 - Mirror Of Fate comfortably sits in the first category. Its mixture older-style exploration with LoS' combat results in not only a truly great Castlevania game, but also a great action title and one of the best offerings on Nintendo's console.
- PocketGamer: 8 - "Mirror of Fate is a hugely enjoyable game. It's got that boisterous knockabout combat, some hugely satisfying boss battles, and offers a big chunk of game for your money (it will take about ten hours to finish up). But with its mishandled exploration and gloomy atmosphere, Mirror of Fate falls short of being the best Castlevania game.
- The Metro: 8/10 - The best portable Castlevania for years and a more than equal follow-up to Lords Of Shadow - not to mention one of the best-looking games so far on the 3DS.
- VentureBeat: 25/100 - Castlevania: Mirror of Fate is thoroughly disappointing because it's trying to marry two unwilling elements. The core experience in a 2D Castlevania (most notably Symphony of the Night, since that was clearly an influence on this game) is in direct opposition to the power-fantasy styling found in Lords of Shadow. I've used the word brutish in this review, and that's really the best way to describe what Konami got out of the God of War revolution. Castlevania isn't brutish - it is a test of your agility and your willingness to overcome nearly impossible odds. Mirror of Fate really wants to dazzle you with clever puzzles and name dropping fan-favorite characters, but it can't emulate the soul of the series.
- Eurogamer: 7 - This 3DS outing can't match the smart assurance of the first Lords of Shadow, then, but it remains a decent action game with some lovely art to keep it chugging along. It's something of a makeweight, as handheld games far too frequently are - but there's just enough here to satisfy until the true follow-up to Lords of Shadows is ready.
- IGN: 4.7 - Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate isn't the Castlevania game you're looking for. Not even close.
- Nintendo Life: 8/10 - MercurySteam's vision of Castlevania is built around a deep combat engine which tries to make each and every enemy encounter a rewarding and challenging experience. Factor in some impressive visuals, gorgeous music and taxing boss battles - not to mention a fantastic story and more replay value than you might at first imagine - and you've got a game which can stand proud in the Castlevania bloodline. Sometimes, a little change is a good thing.
- God is a Geek: 8 - Mirror of Fate is a grandiose game only let down by its story being little more than the set-up for another game. That's only the story however - it remains an incredibly fun and moreish experience, both stunning to look at and addictive to play. If it only it lasted longer.
- EGM: 6.5 - MercurySteam has attempted to take the success of their console Castlevania reboot, Lords of Shadow, and blend it with the more old-school legacy of previous portable releases in the franchise. The result is Mirror of Fate-a game that redefines our expectations for a handheld Castlevania in a number of positive ways, but which also, unfortunately, tries to fix other elements that simply weren't broken.
- GamesRadar: 3/5 - For all the risks Mirror of Fate takes in terms of story and aesthetic, its core gameplay feels mired in antiquated design that just doesn't feel that relevant anymore. This castle may look elaborate and multilayered, but the foundations it rests on are shaky. What could've been an entirely new avenue for the franchise feels more like a dead end.