Crypt of the NecroDancer: Review - Games Weekly

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Crypt of the NecroDancer: Review

Crypt of the NecroDancer is not the first game to fuse dungeon crawling and rhythm action the rather charming Sequence (Now known as Before the Echo thanks to a copyright claim) did it a few years back but it most definitely the most polished mashup of genres. Rather than the obvious differentiation of styles as seen in Sequence dungeon crawling followed by button matching rhythm action, Crypt of the NecroDancer instead integrates rhythm and music into every aspect of the game and is an absolute joy to play as a result.


The entire game is played with nothing but the arrow keys (or a dance pad if you have one and don’t mind looking like an idiot) but by no means does this render Crypt of the NecroDancer simplistic. It’s a remarkably deep game that not only contains some really wonderful dungeon crawling action, it also features a pretty great story that can only really be appreciated through exploration and multiple playthroughs. The beat is all important when it comes to action, as players and monsters alike can only perform an action on the beat. There’s a visual indicator of the beat down at the bottom of the screen but players will quickly find and flashing icon unnecessary as the flow of the music takes hold.
Integrates rhythm and music into every aspect of the game and is an absolute joy to play
The arrow keys control both movement and combat, with equipped weapons specifying the range of attacks. Like a traditional Rogue-like game, attacks are carried out by simply moving into an enemy but thanks to the movement being based on the beat there is an element of strategy in attacking, as knowing where an enemy will be on the beat is more important that where they are before the beat. Special attacks as spells are triggered by pressing two or more keys at the same time on the beat down and left to throw a bomb if one is equipped, for example. Knowing when and how to use special weapons or spells is key to completing the four distinctly different zones or mastering the fantastic boss battles. In addition to the offensive abilities, players also have a shovel that can be used to dig through certain walls and sections of the floor to reveal treasure, shortcuts and hidden areas.

Completing challenges and goals within the zones unlocks extra character that radically change the way the game is played. The Monk, for example, takes the whole ascetic lifestyle so seriously they die if they touch gold. Considering that the crypt is littered with piles of the shiny stuff and that most monsters are constantly spewing it out on death, the lethality of gold really changes up how the game is played.

There are some frustrations to be had with Crypt of the NecroDancer, mostly those that come with any procedurally generated game coughing up the occasional awkward layout, but any irritation is quickly forgotten when you give yourself over to the beat and start boogieing your way through dungeons, killing monsters, collecting treasure and dispatching bosses.

9/10

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