Crypt of the NecroDancer follows Cadence through the deepest levels of the crypt. At the outset, Cadence has her heart stolen by the NecroDancer and must battle the hordes of monsters under his control in order to retrieve it. The player must time their movements and attacks to the beat of the games soundtrack. The game makes use of only the four arrow keys as a means of controlling the character, and can be played with a dance pad as well.
The game has four zones that the hero must fight through in order to claim victory over the NecroDancer. Zone one is an underground catacomb. Zone two is a forest. Zone three levels are split between fire and ice. Zone four is still under construction in the game's early access.
There are multiple characters, each changes the way the player interacts with the song, what items may be accessible, and the starting gear for hardcore mode. There are 10 characters on the character select screen, however in early access there are only a couple available.
|Character||General Information||Items||Hardcore mode|
|Cadence||The main hero, responds to the beat normally||All Items||Starts with two hearts|
|Aria||She can only use the dagger for a weapon and cannot gain additional hearts. Missing a beat with Aria instantly kills her. Unlocked after beating hardcore mode with Cadence.|
|Bolt||The player must respond to the beat in double time (everything moves twice as fast including the monsters). Bolt is unlocked after beating hardcore mode with Cadence||All Items||Starts with a spear and 2 hearts|
|Bard||The Bard is unaffected by the NecroDancer's magic, he can move at any beat he pleases, however, all the monsters will also move when he moves.||All Items||Starts with 2 hearts|
|Monk||The Monk is killed upon touching gold in a level. They get one free item out of free from the shopkeeper in each shop (excluding the heart shop).||All Items||Starts with 2 hearts|
At the end of each zone there is a random boss encounter. Each boss functions in a different way, each having it's own gimmick for the player to understand in order to defeat it. Each boss also has a legion of other enemies alongside that may stand in Cadence's way. Once the boss is defeated all other enemies disappear. In some there is a flawless victory bonus where the player cab choose to take one of three chests.
Each boss will function slightly differently when fought in each zone with new minions.
King Conga - The king of the undead conga line, he sits atop his throne in amusement. King Conga will only get off his throne once his conga lines of zombies is defeated and cannot be hit on the throne. There are two conga lines of zombies that will follow the leader, if a zombie is separated from the conga line he will be enraged. King Conga moves on every beat and can also move diagonally. He also has the ability to teleport away to a random space upon taking damage.
Death Metal - A reaper of death that holds a scythe, a shield, and dances to a fast paced metal song. Dealing some damage will remove his shield and Death Metal will teleport upon getting hit and also use fireballs to attack the player.
Deep Blues - A chess board, defeating the king will clear the board. The king has more health than the other pieces and will run, castling with a rook at first chance. If attacked the king will teleport away and will only attack if all of the other pieces are bested
All shops sell items 3 at a time and accept a variety of currencies including gold, diamonds, and health. Gold is used as the score for the runs and is reset every run. Gold is dropped by monsters, can be found on the dungeon floor, and in some dungeon walls. Diamonds can't be found in hardcore mode and must be spent in the lobby immediately after the run they are found.
Coin Shop - the standard shop that sells any item for gold. There is one on every floor and the walls are made of gold.
Glass Shop - A shop that sells glass weapons and armor for gold, accessible from travels runes that lie under some dungeon walls.
Heart Shop - Any item can be sold here, but for the price of some of the hero's health.
Transmogrification - A chamber that accepts gold to replace current equipment with a random new piece.
Dungeon Master - Sells permanent upgrades like heart containers, coin multipliers, and the amount of chests that appear in dungeons. Like all lobby shops he accepts diamonds as currency.
Hephaestus - Sells accessibility to open weapons, armor, and food in chests. After buying an item it will always appear in the next dungeon.
Merlin - Sells accessibility to spells, rings, and scrolls. After buying an item it will always appear in the next dungeon.
Beastmaster - Allows access to practice against all enemies the player has fought in dungeons before.
Bossmaster - Allows access to practice against the games boss fights in all of the incarnations.