Developed by: Brace Yourself Games
Published by: Klei Entertainment Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 (also available on Steam and Vita)
Have you ever wished while playing a dungeon crawler exploration game you could also jam out to some good beats? Then incorporate them into the game somehow? Well the people at Brace Yourself Games has done just that with Crypt of the NecroDancer. Crypt of the NecroDancer takes both dungeon crawler exploration with a rhythm based gaming and brings it all together; it’s a great combination of brilliant roguelike 2D gaming with randomly generated dungeons that keeps the game challenging.
You start off as the main character, Cadence, and later unlock more characters and game modes as you progress. The game has four zones, each with several stages, to complete. At the end of each stage, there’s a mini boss to fight. These are usually stronger and bigger versions of a regular enemies. Each zone has three stages to complete and then a boss battle, which can be pretty tough if you’re not paying attention or are not listening to the beat of the music. You can only have your characters move or attack if they perform the action to the beat of the music. If you successfully move to the beat of the music, you gain a multiplier that increases the amount of coins you earn.
When exploring you will run across enemies that will also move along to the beat of the music in certain patterns. If you step into an enemy pattern or pathway, it will cause damage to you. Defeating enemies will drop coins uses for buying weapons and items in the shops within the dungeon. Along the way you also find diamonds which can be used to buy more permanent weapons and items from vendors in the main lobby. This will help you have advantage over enemies. For example, every time you start a zone you enter the dungeon with just a knife and a shovel. By visiting the shop or finding treasure chests, you obtain weapons and items. Swords have wide range attacks. Bows use long distance attacks. Spears also have long range attacks. Some items gives you abilities such as seeing into the next room, moving faster, spells like fire and ice, digging through walls faster, or displaying everything located in the stage.
Going into the game I thought it was going to be a cakewalk going from zone to zone. I was proven wrong as I let my cockiness get the best of me. One of the thing I like most about this game is that you need to use strategy to plan out your next moves while staying on beat. This includes factoring in your enemies movements, too. At times the game can feel frustrating when you think you got it down and start getting deep into a zone…just to get destroyed by a strong enemy in a few hits. The game difficulty level feel just right for what the game is and it’s really fun trying to get further and further into a zone. Since each new stage is randomly generated, you never really know what enemies you’ll encounter or what weapons and items you’ll pick up. This is all part of the fun and why this game works so well. After unlocking more characters you’re able you unlock more modes and to even challenge yourself more. There is a daily challenge mode where you can try your luck and make it through all four zones without dying to get on an online leaderboard.
Crypt of the NecroDancer has being out for a while on Steam. It’s a different take on dungeon crawlers and has a great soundtrack. The soundtrack is so good that the people over at Harmonix took the song from Zone One Stage Two and featured the song in their latest game, Amplitude. Bringing the game to the PlayStation 4 and Vita was a great decision and works great with controller setup. It’s still a really fun game. If you missed it the first time around, I would recommend giving this game a try.