I can't imagine playing this on actual hardware. Decent castle layout but really unimaginative Metroidvania design, clunky underdesigned combat, and really punishing RPG numbers. Barely worth it even with save states and as part of the series.
At first, I was somewhat doubtful but when I played the first hour I was playing with a smile and having a lot of fun. If you have played Metroid or another 2D Castlevania you know the drill, unlock abilities, backtrack, unlock abilities and then backtrack some more, this formula still works great in this title. The challenge is good for the most part and the music is on par.
I really liked some characters and some moments that feel truly iconic, like Camila and that feeling that Hugh (your rival character) gives to you that you're racing each other, that being said I have some issues that go in the way for this to be a 9 or 9.5. The first one is that at times, some bosses feel more annoying than challenging, and that goes for the final boss. I didn't need to make any grind till that point because my damage was ridiculous. My second issue comes from the item and card system, I'm not that fan of getting your powerups in easy mode but I also don't like to make like 2 hours of mindless grinding and be luck dependant, it robs the all the fun and transforms the game into a chore.
Putting my complaints aside I really enjoyed Circle of the Moon, maybe is not as iconic as Symphony of the Night but I don't they're that far from each other.