Generally favorable reviews - based on 52 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 52
  2. Negative: 0 out of 52
Buy On
  1. Controls are dead on, giving the gamer the feeling of knowing that any mistakes made in the game are the fault of the gamer themselves, not the controls.
  2. 100
    Dawn of Sorrow has everything that makes the Castlevania series great: excellent platforming, exquisite level and puzzle design, gorgeous 2D graphics, and fantastic sound.
  3. AceGamez
    Though more touch screen functionality would have been preferable, or maybe even a bit of microphone-influenced play, at least there are options to connect to other players wirelessly for some trading or versus play.
  4. The game is extremely rewarding, and would be for anyone – whether they’ve played Aria or Sorrow or not, or even if they have never played a Castlevania title previously. This is a must-own title for any Nintendo DS owner.
  5. Dawn of Sorrow matches and in some cases exceeds the quality of "Symphony of the Night" in almost every way. Yet the two games have their own styles and features, so the newest addition to the series is in no way redundant with its legendary forebear. [JPN Import]
  6. Play Magazine
    This is the kind of game worth buying a DS for. [Oct 2005]
  7. Bigger, tougher, meaner, and more next-gen. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow fills every part of the Nintendo DS's two-inch screen with new bosses, levels, and dozens of backdrops that are drop-dead gorgeous.
  8. 95
    Perhaps the finest game in the Castlevania canon and the unique use of the Nintendo DS touch screen, while certainly something of a gimmick, is an entertaining twist to an already entertaining series.
  9. The modernized graphics, outstanding sound package, solid gameplay, and cute use of the Nintendo DS makes for a very compelling game.
  10. Dawn of Sorrow is easily the killer app of the system’s short existence. If you own a DS, you must go out and buy this game. It’s more than worth your money.
  11. 93
    Clearly one of the best Castlevania games in the series, and an absolutely top-notch, beautiful, and most importantly, fun DS game that doesn't try to push a lot of unnecessary touch-screen "gimmicks."
  12. Offers the same classic style of previous Castlevania titles, replete with the outrageous bosses, fitting game areas, puzzle solving and platforming aspects which are perfectly harmonious with the new soul-gathering and returning level-gaining aspects of the series.
  13. Game Informer
    Its sublime mix of puzzles, great bosses, perfectly paced exploration, and enormous variety make this an utterly amazing adventure. [Nov 2005, p.176]
  14. To my surprise, Dawn of Sorrow struck all the right chords and never hit a sour note. It's deep, it's gorgeous, but most of all, it's a fun excuse to smack the tar out of stuff.
  15. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is easily one of the greatest the series has to offer, building on the excellence of the GBA outings while maintaining the level of quality expected since the series' first debut 20 years ago.
  16. Not only did it bring back memories of the fun I had playing the original Castlevania games on my NES, but the inclusion of so much extra content past the game’s story mode really makes this one of the stronger titles available.
  17. The game has a strong storyline and screams play me.
  18. Whether you’ve repeatedly played through the Castlevania catalogue since the first game, or never before, Dawn of Sorrow is both a fabulous series ambassador and also one of the best Nintendo DS titles available.
  19. Pelit (Finland)
    Instead of "Dawn of Sorrow" the subtitle could have been "A Good Reason to Buy DS." [Nov 2005]
  20. The most complete 2D Castlevania game to date. Gorgeous graphics and compelling music combine with exciting exploration and combat to form a great action experience on the Nintendo DS.
  21. I love the music, the graphics, and the gameplay. If you did not have enough reasons to buy a Nintendo DS, this would be it.
  22. Nintendo Power
    If the graphics and sound aren't engrossing enough to draw you in, the intriguing story and exhilarating action should be. [Nov 2005, p.104]
  23. 90
    There are some awkward moments, but it shouldn't come as much of a shock that Dawn of Sorrow is otherwise wonderfully refined and enjoyable. [Nov 2005, p.132]
  24. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Responsive controls; beautiful, crisp 2D graphics; and old-fashioned gameplay that'll keep you up way past your bed-time. [Nov 2005, p.158]
  25. 90
    Unquestionably the best portable Castlevania to date; in fact, it's the best entry in the series since the much-vaunted "Symphony."
  26. 90
    I like the lay of Dawn of Sorrow's land, and the soul mechanic is great; however, with the inferior character design and ho-hum touch-screen features, this isn't the be-all end-all of portable Castlevania. Regardless, it is a must-have for all action fans, and kicks the ever-loving crap out of any other action/platformer on the DS.
  27. A classic game. Entering a big castle, defeating monsters, and killing giant bosses. We did it all before, but it rarely was as fun as in this game.
  28. The only slight knock I can level at DoS is the incessant backtracking and repetitive soul collecting that is really ONLY necessary if you want to strive for the best endings to earn the best unlockables.
  29. It reintroduces us to an antihero on a quest for personal salvation, a cast of memorable characters, massive levels, remarkable gameplay, and one of the best presentations that the DS has to offer. It’s that kind of combination that makes for a truly excellent experience.
  30. It's not that it relies on a healthy suspension of disbelief to overcome its contrived elements; it's about bringing order to foggy chaos. This, it does with aplomb.
  31. This game represents 2D gaming at its finest and shouldn’t missed by anyone. Yes, the touch screen implementation kind of hinders gameplay, but Dawn of Sorrow is still one of best, if not the best, Castlevania game to date.
  32. Dawn of Sorrow can be expected to last between 10 and 20 hours and quite a bit longer than that for those completionists out there. That's a heck of a lot of game for $30.
  33. Dawn of Sorrow is what is right about Castlevania. And it's what the Nintendo DS should be doing in it's games, rather than trying to be something it's not.
  34. After the impressive Aria of Sorrow comes yet another hit sequel, with a deep character upgrade system, solid combat and slick presentation.
  35. With the tremendous gameplay that is the franchise's hallmark, beautiful graphics and animation, a fantastic soundtrack, and the kind of replay value that makes the phrase "bang for your buck" even more cliche than it already is, it's not even a stretch to consider it one of, if not the best game overall for the Nintendo DS.
  36. Buy this immediately, and witness why a billion polygons a nanosecond will always take a backseat to rock solid craftsmanship.
  37. While it doesn't do much to distinguish itself as the first Castlevania on the DS, the updated look, excellent music, and added controls help to refine the series even further. The bottom line is: Whether you're familiar with the series or not, you can't go wrong with Dawn of Sorrow.
  38. 2D gaming fans of all sorts will enjoy Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow immensely.
  39. 85
    If you liked "Aria of Sorrow," pick up DoS. If not, steer clear.
  40. 85
    You’ll be hard pressed to find a more engaging or enjoyable game of this kind. Not unless you dig through back to the SNES days.
  41. This is another fun, solid entry in what’s quickly becoming the most dependable series in handheld gaming. To truly become an unstoppable power, however, it will also have to become the most daring.
  42. It seems Konami could have made better use of the touch screen feature on the DS, and also taken a few more liberties with innovative game play.
  43. It is clear that Dawn of Sorrow originally started out as a GBA title. It plays more like an advanced GBA game instead of a full fledged DS title.
  44. 80
    A great experience, although it suffers from a lack of innovation. Gameplay is all too familiar, and the new additions feel quite superficial. Having the best part hidden away as an unlockable doesn't help matters.
  45. 80
    A delightful trip through a macabre fun house full of blood and assorted horrors that should not be missed by anyone who enjoys playing games, that is, unless you're just sick of 2D Castlevania.
  46. games(TM)
    A great game, despite the gimmicks and déjà vu... Those familiar with earlier GBA incarnations may be appalled at Konami’s flagrant re-use of almost every sprite from the last game here, with almost no changes at all. [Nov 2005, p.94]
  47. Computer Games Magazine
    one of the best-looking and wide-open Castlevanias since the series began. [Dec p.93]
  48. It may not be very original or innovative when compared to the rest of the games in the series, but Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow succeeds in bringing a similar level of polish and quality to the Nintendo DS.
  49. The concept as a whole may be heading ever closer to the clichéd but once you actually start playing, it is nigh on impossible to not feel the Castlevania magic taking you over.
  50. I also dislike the anime style of the characters, a confusing departure from the series' goth style.
  51. Core game play remains largely undeveloped from Symphony Of The Night, and, despite the additions, is aspirational rather than inspirational. It’s certainly the best handheld Castlevania game, but Igarashi’s team is too dedicated to the framework he masterminded for this to be anything innovatory. [Nov 2005, p.108]
  52. 70
    Perhaps it is time for the series to evolve again rather than looking inward, just as it did nearly a decade ago when SotN was unleashed on an unsuspecting world. [JPN Import]

Awards & Rankings

#6 Most Discussed DS Game of 2005
#2 Most Shared DS Game of 2005
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 189 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 14 out of 189
  1. Sep 16, 2010
    If you love Castlevania, you'll love Dawn of Sorrow. Not a whole lot has changed since the switch to 'Metroidvania' in Symphony of the Night-If you love Castlevania, you'll love Dawn of Sorrow. Not a whole lot has changed since the switch to 'Metroidvania' in Symphony of the Night- but how is that a bad thing? Dracula's castle is as exciting as ever, with some impressive DS visuals presenting players with a wide variety of different areas to explore. It's possible to level up and equip a wide array of different weaponry and armour, giving players a perfect amount of customisation for their character. The classic Castlevania formula works flawlessly on DS and will be sure to have you coming back for more. Full Review »
  2. JayG.
    Dec 8, 2005
    This is what the DS was waiting for. A perfect side-scroller with huge environments,lots of weapons, and amazing bosses. I'd recomend This is what the DS was waiting for. A perfect side-scroller with huge environments,lots of weapons, and amazing bosses. I'd recomend this game to any DS owner. Full Review »
  3. MahebruH.
    Oct 9, 2005
    Yes. a "10". it's that good.