I just finished cupcake mode and time trial, and I have to say that I enjoyed this game. First off, It was difficult, which is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the castlevania series. Well, at least the first game. It was difficult in both a good and a bad way. The restrictions of the character's movements together with the layout of the castle made it hard to forge on ahead without planning your moves beforehand. That is, when you aren't thrown into a piston right after you dash into the next room, or into Dracula himself, right after a cutscene. Dying because you can't see into the future is not an enjoyable experience, but It can be appreciated as a nod to the era where 4 hours of gameplay could be stretched into 4 months of trying, dying and crying. At least ironically. I also enjoyed the jibes at the castlevania series as a whole. For instance, everywhere you go you are assaulted by invisible walls, which I presume are a reference to the nonlinear nature of the metroidvania games. There was a wall chicken (sadly inside a painting) but I'm dissapointed that there were no unfairly placed stairs with enemies next to them that made it impossible to pass without taking damage.
The game was simply a joy to speedrun. The dash mechanic made it feel so good to zoom through the level, and unfair obstacles weren't really a problem since you're expected to memorize the layout in a speed run.
All in all, I loved it, but the artificial difficulty was a problem for me. I mean, taking away all but one of my hearts and expecting me to beat Dracula? That's reaching the meatboy simon says boss in hell levels of frustration.
Ps. What is up with the tower on the right path, the one you can take before reaching Dracula? The tower is just empty.