Dragon's Crown is a 2D beat 'em up with RPG elements developed by Vanillaware for the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Vita. The game was originally to be published by Ignition Entertainment in 2012, but Ignition eventually dropped from the project and Atlus stepped in as publisher. The game features six different character classes, supports four-player co-op and sees players exploring dungeons and labyrinths full of monsters, bosses and treasure of numerous kinds.
An enhanced port was released for the PlayStation 4 in 2018 with the name "Dragon's Crown Pro." It includes all of the DLC.
The Dragon's Crown, a legendary and powerful treasure, lies hidden in one of the land's many monster lairs. Corrupt magicians who desire the treasure have, in order to make the search easier, used spells to connect the many monster-infested catacombs, caves and ruins, with the side effect of combining the monsters' numbers into a massive nightmare army that threatens the entire world.. A group of adventurers bravely enter the labyrinth of beasts to find the crown before the dark magic-wielders, lest the world should fall into their evil hands.
The game features old-school beat 'em up combat in the vein of Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom or Golden Axe, games that have been cited as inspirations. One to four players can play together, locally or online, with drop-in co-op.
The game has three difficulty modes, which are played in sequence. Normal comprises level 1 to 35, Hard comprises level 36 to 70, and Inferno comprises level 71 to 255.
Each dungeon features a branching point where the player can choose either of two paths to follow, and culminates with a boss fight. After completing a dungeon, the player choose whether to return to town or proceed right into another dungeon, selected at random, for escalating rewards. The more dungeons a player completes back-to-back, the greater their reward multiplier will grow for gold, exp, and loot. Once the player finally opts to return to town, or runs out of lives, they receive their accumulated gold, exp, and loot, all enhanced by their respective multipliers.
After completing one dungeon, there is a chance of engaging in a cooking minigame where all players in the party can cooperate or compete to cook and eat as many food dishes as they can within a minute from a shared pool of ingredients. The more and better the dishes a player consumes, the greater the one-time bonuses they get going into the next stage (e.g. HP refill).
In dungeons, players encounter many hazards, treasures, and mysteries. There are treasure chests, always containing one piece of loot, which must be unlocked by an NPC thief named Ronnie who passively accompanies the player at all times. Ronnie levels up as he successfully opens chests, improving his chances to not set off a trap on the chest. A sprung trap can severely injure or kill any players standing nearby. There are also runes inscribed on the background intermittently, which can be activated and paired with runestones purchased by the player in town to spell an incantation that might confer a temporary buff, or destroy all enemies on screen, or reveal a secret passageway.
Some enemies and wooden crates will drop temporary weapons, which can picked up and used a limited number of times by the player. These weapons tend to be very powerful. A player can also be disarmed of their standard weapon by some enemy attacks or some of their own attacks (e.g. the Dwarf throwing his weapon). Until the player walks over and picks their weapon back up off the ground, they can only attack barehanded.
Outside of dungeon-delving, players spend their time in town, where they can do typical RPG things like buy or sell items from vendors, accept quests, and talk to NPCs. They can also take piles of bones they find in dungeons to the church to be resurrected as optional AI party members, pray for a blessing of their choice (e.g. extra gold, extra life, etc.), and appraise unidentified loot (all items found in dungeons must be identified before they can be used).
Each time a player levels up or completes a quest, he will receive skill points, which can be spent in town at the Adventurer's Guild. There are two categories of skills that can be purchased with skill points: generic skills, which are common to all classes, and class-specific skills, which are specific to the player's class. Generic skills include things like extra health, lowered cooldown on using items, and greater inventory space. Class-specific skills including things like unique spells for magic casters, bonus backstab damage for the Elf, or raining down bombs when triple jumping as the Dwarf.
The game features six character classes. After picking a class, the player can customize their character through color palette options, name, and even per-letter typesetting options for their name. The game also allows the player to choose between English or Japanese voice work.
The Fighter is tank who can face down the strongest opposition while protecting himself and his allies. He has the best defense and can block most enemy attacks with his shield. He can even shield allies stand near him.
When the enemy reveals an opening, the Fighter can unleash a tornado of attacks with his sword.
The Dwarf is a dual-wielding powerhouse who punches, throws, and belly-flops everything to death. He can deliver a flurry of punches and drop-attack enemies, but his most unique and powerful move is hurling things. He can throw barrels, boulders, enemies, and more, producing impact shockwaves for devastating splash damage.
He is also a fire-specialist, capable of producing explosive barrels and bombs to throw, as well as lighting his fists on fire for more damage. The only defensive move he has is being able to charge up to give himself a temporary defense bonus, which he'll need as he dives into combat with reckless abandon.
The Wizard is an offensive casters. He commands a multitude of elemental spells capable of inflicting great damage on his enemies. He can also charge up before attacking to make his spells even more powerful.
The Wizard wields staves, which come in three elements: fire, ice, and lightning. Each type of staff has a unique spellset of basic magic attacks of that element. He has no defensive capabilities, so he must take great care to stay out of reach of his enemies.
The Amazon is a momentum fighter who pairs agility and the ability to block with the potential for enormous damage in an expert's hands. They wield large poleaxes and excel in areal combat and combos. They also rely on building up rage through successive attacks to increase their speed and damage. Despite being a balanced class, the Amazon has the highest skill ceiling.
The Elf is an archer and acrobatic brawler. She can interleave bow attacks with quick melee strikes to create elaborate combos. She can also charge up her bow to deliver powerful shots that pierce all enemies across the screen. If she charges a shot while airborne, she will levitate, keeping her safe above the fry while lining up the perfect shot.
The Sorceresses is a support caster. Her spells allow her to apply buffs, like damage reduction, to allies, as well as debuffs, like slow, to enemies. She can also summon minions and create healing items for her allies.
She wields the same staves as the Wizard, giving her the same set of basic offensive spells. She has low defense, so she must rely on careful positioning and timing to avoid damage.