guip1408's Crypt of the NecroDancer (PC) review

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Not My Crypt of Tea

Crypt of the Necrodancer is a rhythm-based roguelike dungeon-crawler indie game. Where you move through floors in a grid-based space, and on the beat of the soundtrack. So you can go in four directions, each time the music gives you a beat, you move towards chests, doors, and items to interact with them, and move towards enemies to attack them. If you miss the timing on the beat or don’t hit any direction, the enemies will still move on that beat, and you can get hit for that, as well as losing your gold multiplier, that is stacked by hitting the beat without missing for some time.

You have two currency systems, your gold is only available throughout that run, and your diamonds is what you can spend to use on permanent upgrades. But you can’t save your diamonds, if you have enough to buy an upgrade, you have to spend it before going into your next run, and I hate that with all the bones of my body. It’s a horrible system, dying in each run makes you feel punished instead of making it feel part of the progress, that’s the biggest mistake a roguelike can make, in my opinion.

During your runs you can encounter different characters that are locked in a cage, you can find or buy a key to save them, making so that they will appear in your lobby area to open a training room or another type of shop. The permanent upgrades vary from increasing your health limit to making it possible for an item to appear on your future runs. But again, you can’t save up the diamonds to spend on what you would like to.

The game will give you a variety of weapons, going from broad swords that can hit in an area towards the side you move, to spears that have a 2 tile range attack. You can also dig through some of the walls, with your shovel, and the shovel is also something that you can find a better version of, during your runs.

The player will also be able to play as different characters, I’ll only comment on the first ones you come across. You start with Cadence, which is the main character, she has the standard mechanics. You quickly unlock Eli, Cadence's uncle. Has a shovel for a hand, cannot wield weapons, but has infinite bombs and the ability to kick away bombs. You can unlock him by beating Zone 1. The game has 4 Zones for you to explore, each of them with 3 floors and a boss in the end.

Another character that you have from the beginning is the Bard, which changes the game drastically if you select them. You don’t longer have to move to the beat of the music, instead, you dictate the rhythm, the enemies move when you do, so you can stop and have a moment to think before going into action. In my opinion, it’s the best version of the game, playing as the Bard. You don’t feel rushed all the time, some rooms, especially the ones with the mini-bosses can use a couple of seconds to see what’s going on before you go.

The game presents to you some different modes, like the All-Zones mode and the Daily Challenge, to give you some variety if you want. You can also go into the character select room and go to a Story Mode, which makes no sense to be hidden inside that room and not on the main floor of the lobby. The game can also be played co-op, but I wasn’t able to try it.

A couple of curious points, you have a Custom Song option, where you can upload a music file to a specific floor of one of the zones, and that song will be played in that level, what can be cool if you want to give some twists for the music you’re hearing. I don’t think it’s necessary since the soundtrack of the game is pretty good. The other thing is that, when you’re on a floor and the music that’s playing ends, you get pulled down through a hole to the next floor, since you don’t have more beats to follow and keep moving, I liked that detail.

So, Crypt of the Necrodancer is a game that could have much more enjoyable to me, the diamond system really killed my enjoyment to keep grinding in this game, what’s necessary, in case I didn’t mention, this is one of the hardest games I’ve played in the last couple of years. It’s so punishing, just the gameplay itself, when it comes to the combat and the terrain design, with all the traps and stuff. So for them to also punish you when you die, instead of making a part of the progression, I just can’t understand that. Also, my favorite character being the Bard, that’s the complete opposite of how the game was intended to play, just shows that it wasn’t for me. I think the game looks adorable and has a good soundtrack. But it didn’t grab me to do all that I can to finish it.

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