Crypt of the Necrodancer
Brace Yourself Games
Genre: Roguelike Rhythm
Roguelikes have been increasing in popularity over the last few years amongst indie game developers. In a bid to get attention, most of them put a twist or spin on things that make their game unique compared to the sea of Roguelikes out there. Crypt of the Necrodancer is above and beyond the fact by combining the genre with a daring and risky maneuver, in the form of a unique rhythm game.
When I think of Rhythm games, I don’t usually think of PC gaming outside of games like Symphony. I do think of them in plenty of games, since they have an illustrious history in arcades and consoles, in the form of dance based games like Dance Dance Revolution, pure musical games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band, or strange, quirky rhythm games like PaRappa the Rapper, and Gitaroo Man. An RPG or Roguelike Rhythm game, so far as I am aware, hasn’t been tackled before.
Released earlier this year for PC and Linux on Steam (after being released in early access), along with PS4 and PSVita, Crypt of the Necrodancer boasts a unique mixture of rhythm and pattern roguelike gaming, using the keyboard and mouse, a gamepad or even a dancepad. Multiple players can be on the same computer for a romp down through the dungeons, making for a fun and hectic game session.
The story of the main game is that you play as Cadence, the daughter of a famous treasure hunter who has gone missing. In her search for him she ends up in the cleverly named Crypt of the Necrodancer. The Necrodancer himself steals her heart, though gives her the option to challenge his minions in order to retrieve it. The catch: her heartbeat is tied to the beat of the music you hear, which is tied directly into her actions, thus explaining the gameplay.
Controls wise, the game is simple. You use the arrows for everything (on the keyboard), which allows for easy transition to a gamepad or dance pad. To attack an enemy, you move towards them. Every enemy, and your main character have a certain amount of hearts, and deal a certain amount of hearts in damage. You can pick up items from chests that restore your hearts, new and improved weaponry, rings, boots, trinkets, armor, scrolls, spells and so forth, which can easily help to swing the game into a winning playthrough. Alternatively, you can run into the shopkeeper or other areas for purchase to grab these items.
Enemies all move in a pre-determined pattern, which you will learn through different playthroughs, or practice with a beastmaster you can unlock. The game allows you to unlock new items through diamonds – the more you find in a play, the more things you can purchase. Beating the game with different characters, or unlocking certain achievements, allows the chance to alter the gameplay by picking a character other than Cadence. While playing as Cadence and most of the other characters, you have to think quickly on your feet in order to match the enemy ‘dance’ movements.
So what is it you are dancing to? Probably the single best thing about this game: a fantastic soundtrack. It is the rare game where I will actively be humming it to myself, or listening to the soundtrack when not playing, I love this one. The music was done by a musical wizard by the name of Danny Baranowsky. I try not to build up things for people when I am giving a recommendation… yet I will say, I must say, this soundtrack is phenomenal. It also has a fun variation when you are near the shopkeeper during certain parts in the songs on each level. His weird operatic voice is a great addition, and makes the game feel more fluid and surreal.
Sure, you can replace the soundtrack. I wouldn’t – it’s an option, and it was good of them to put it in the game, but I have never felt inclined to do it. The music designed for the game has a specific rhythm that helps just add to the experience, and I prefer to stick to it.
There isn’t much else to say. If you like rhythm games, you’ll love Crypt of the Necrodancer. If you enjoy Roguelikes, you should give this game a shot. It’s well put together, it’s flashy, it’s catchy, and it’s hard to put down.