Independent developers increasingly tend to experiment with new solutions to create products that are as interesting as possible. Ryan Clark of Brace Yourself Games has succeeded perfectly in the purpose, creating a mix of genres that is truly unthinkable. His work, Crypt of the NecroDancer, is a roguelike with elements borrowed from the rhythm games genre. The result is something incredible and that has managed to really amaze us a lot. But let's see why together.
Version tested: Windows PC
Beat, beat, beat
In Crypt of the NecroDancer, the player will take on the role of different characters on his journey through a crypt populated by monsters. In a rather particular way, you will advance by facing numerous enemies until you get to the boss on duty. Your character (as well as the creatures that haunt the dungeon) will dance to the rhythm of the music, to which the movement itself is linked. While the enemies will advancea formula that manages to convince
freely along the maps created in a procedural way, you can do it following the rhythm marked by "beats" (which can be displayed, fortunately, also on the screen). This peculiarity means that the time available to weigh one's moves, less and less as you progress with the different levels, is reduced to the bone. The purists of the genre may not appreciate this move by the developers, but the result is without a doubt a formula that manages to convince and that is capable of offering a high level of challenge and different from the "usual". The various characters give access to different styles of play. For example, the Bard will allow you to play without taking into account the beats described above, with rather traditional mechanics (highly recommended for newbies). As you progress, you will unlock new characters and new NPGs that will enrich the game HUB and help you master this one-of-a-kind gameplay. Between daily challenges, level editors and modes created ad hoc for the most experienced, Crypt of the NecroDancer manages to guarantee a remarkable longevity, without ever becoming boring. Unfortunately, however, the initial level of challenge could frighten many players, making it a title not really suitable for everyone.
A lot of practice is good
The level of challenge offered by Crypt of the NecroDancer, as mentioned just before, is high, but with the passing of the hours of play it could easily diminish. Some of the NPCs that you will unlock will allow you to have an advantage in every "run" you face. Furthermore, the incredible variety of enemy monsters you will encounter follows a very precise movement pattern that you can memorize by spending a few hours in the different training areas. In this way, as they say, the practice will be able to make you perfect, leaving the little time available to think about your moves as the only real difficulty.
Crypt of the NecroDancer also offers a very high level of customization. Through the Steam workshop it is possible to download numerous additional Mods and Dungeons created by the users themselves, further increasing the already vast offer of the game available. You can also use your own MP3s, although this is not always an advisable choice. Although it is possible to specify a minimum the speed of the beats relative to your MP3s, audio that does not follow a fairly linear and precise rhythm will only end up confusing you, making everything more difficult and unpleasant. This is because the beats are not relative to the rhythm of the soundtracks used, but are standardized. The same audio available by default seems to have been made specifically to match the rhythm of the beats present.
A unique style
On the artistic side, Crypt of the NecroDancer is a masterpiece. Made in pixel art with a wonderful style, the game manages to offer a very high level visual aspect. The settings are suggestive and the “dancing” monsters are beautiful and funny to see. Moreover, being able to follow the rhythm, the map will be colored as if we were in a disco, making everything a real group dance. It goes without saying that the audio sector is also excellent, with soundtracks that never tire and that perfectly fulfill their purpose.
From a purely technical point of view, however, Crypt of the NecroDancer is suitable for anyone, thanks to very affordable system requirements:
- OS: Windows XP, service pack 3 / Steam OS / Ubuntu 12.04 / OS X 10.6 (10.7 to have all the features present)
- Processor: 2GHz
- RAM: 1000 MB RAM
- Video Card: 512MB VRAM
- Available disk space required: 1600 MB
✓ Difficult and long-lived
✓ High rate of customization
✓ Artistically fantastic x Not suitable for everyone
x Some unsuccessful features