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Crypt of the Necrodancer – PC

Crypt of the Necrodancer – PC

coverPlatform: PC

Developer: Brace Yourself Games

Publisher: Brace Yourself Games, Klei Entertainment

Release Date (WW): April 23, 2015

Genre: Action, Music and Rhythm, Role Playing Game

Nerd Rating: 7 out of 10 – A Good Game

When you think of rhythm games, what usually comes to mind are things like Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero, or maybe Elite Beat Agents if your tastes go a bit more into the obscure. It comes as a surprise when someone goes beyond the norm with a rhythm game, of all things, but for those of you that can keep a beat, there’s the musical roguelike Crypt of the Necrodancer.

The story of Crypt of the Necrodancer starts following Cadence, a young woman who went out to seek the eponymous crypt despite the warnings and criticism of all around her. Why? Because her father had gone missing there, trying to find a golden lute after her mother’s death. Now, Cadence is searching for answers, and whatever may lie beyond them.

Fighting to the beat of your heart.

There’s not a lot of time devoted to setting up each character’s personality, with only a handful of cutscenes and a large amount of their time dedicated to setting up the plot, but what’s there sets Cadence up as a determined and dedicated hero, with enough humor to avoid a flat characterization despite the time crunch. Other characters have their little quirks, but as with Cadence their roles are largely what define them.

When Cadence arrives in the tomb, the Necrodancer himself finds her. An old, lich-like bard, he cursed Cadence and stole her heart—quite literally—forcing her to follow the tempo of the music to stay alive. This translates into gameplay by requiring you to match your button presses to each beat for the input to be read. At first this may seem bad, but since enemies are also bound to the beat it works out fairly well.

Sometimes things can get a little crazy.

Sometimes things can get a little crazy.

As a roguelike game, it takes a long time and a bit of luck to get deep into the game, but the fun of it is in seeing what you can find and how well you do, improving a little each time. You’re able to buy upgrades, both permanent at the in-game main menu and temporary in-level, and as you progress you’ll unlock new zones and characters to play with.

The big thing to make Crypt of the Necrodancer stand out among its peers is the presentation. The graphics use pixel sprites, and while the comparison may not be exact the game gives a distinctly SNES-era feel visually. Brace Yourself Games managed to take advantage of this fact, as well as the prolific spread of pixel artists across the internet, to expand their game’s appeal with relatively easy-to-mod character sets. If you want to play as your favorite characters from other media in this game, it’s not as far-fetched as you might think.

Where rhythm games live or die, however, is the music. So how does Crypt of the Necrodancer manage in this regard? Fairly well, honestly; the tracks are fun and keep a fairly exploratory mood while being distinct enough in the beats to keep players on track. Some characters might not have to follow the rhythm as Cadence does, but for those that do an indicator is placed at the bottom of the screen to also help players follow the music. Once again, the developers opted to open their game up to modding by allowing players to plug in their own song files to play to them in-game.

Crypt of the Necrodancer is the first roguelike I’ve played with any amount of seriousness, and if this game is any indication, it’s a genre I might find myself getting more and more into. It’s always a joy to find a fun game in a new genre, and this one’s right up my alley.

Written by Nerd Bacon

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