Somehow, in some fashion, in 2015 there was a rouge-like with a small rhythm aspect to it. Crypt of the Necrodancer is a simple idea with simple mechanics which combine to make a damn fine game with a sick ass soundtrack as well. I sat down with some Cafe Bustelo and slew dragons and ghouls with my sword and crazy good dance skills.
Crypt of the Necrodancer is a rougelike rhythm based game developed and published by Brace Yourself Games in 2015. Danny Baranowsky (Db Soundworks) composed the technical and groovy music that accompanies the player in the utter slaughter of spooky baddies.
The game is deceptively easy mechanically. The player monitors the heart at the bottom of the screen and maneuvers Cadence with the directional buttons accordingly. You play the game with only four buttons, that is it. When coming into contact with an enemy, moving in the direction automatically attacks the baddies until they explodes into pixel confetti. This is where the game becomes difficult. There are a plethora of enemies from your standards zombos, dragons and spirits to mushrooms and yetis and they all have an attack pattern that is different. zombies have shields that the player needs to maneuver around, dead fencers parry then lunge while the mushrooms attack on the offbeat, so timing is essential for certain enemies.
Bosses are painfully easy. I ran through the game and never once thought that any of boss fights posed a significant challenge. The design of the bosses are so damn sweet though. King Conga throws a conga line of zombies at you while Coral Riff trains to defeat you with violins and keytars.
Each zone has three levels that also include a boss fight at the end. The levels are pretty short but, again, enemies hit really hard, so dying is integral to the deign of the game. Each zone is entirely different from the previous with different layout, enemy design, music and rhythms to play to. Each enemy drops gold that you can use at the shopkeeper within each level. The man sells any and everything: Weapons, hearts, magic, etc.
Cadence can hold a weapon, magic, armor, helmet, an arm and bracers to combat the horde of enemies in the crypt. There seems to be a lot of options for combat but some seem really dull compared to others. Close combat is fun but the bow puts all that to shame. Armor usually reduces damage. Bracers either increase damage or help with obstacles. Hands carry a weapon and usually a torch and helmets help with enemies in some fashion. All of it is fun and my attempts at trying different builds usually ended up well.
Necrodancer has a system that allows the player to unlock certain vendors within the lobby area that utilize gem that are found through each area. All of these vendors help Cadence with her descent into the crypt. Ability, magic and weapon upgrades and even the choice of taking certain items are able to purchased using currency you find while dungeon crawling.
Crypt of the Necrodancer one hundred percent flew under my radar. How could I miss a game like this? It’s a fun game, no doubt. Brace Yourself Games tried to break the mold and made their own unique rougelike. A lot of the time the beat was easy enough to memorize so you do not need to worry about the implemented mechanic. It’s a shame because it worked so well for me. The tempos are usually the same just a bit slower or faster depending on the zone. It is only on a few boss fights that the tempo was fractured and difficult to keep up with, which was okay because it made some boss fights more memorable. The upgrades work and do not stifle the fun of exploring and murdering the denizens of the dungeons.
The music slaps though. I always found myself getting bobbing my head to the beat of the music and even playing it on Spotify. Danny Baranowsky did quite a damn good job with composing the soundtrack.
Update* Game is $3 on Steam. Just go buy it.