Crypt of the NecroDancer is a roguelike rhythm game, developed by Brace Yourself Games. Releasing in April 2015 on Steam and then later released on PS4 and Vita in February 2016.
NecroDancer is a really unique gaming experience. Every action you take must be in line with the beat of the soundtrack. This includes moving and attacking the enemies. The reward for hitting the beat each time is getting a higher coin multiplier, failing to hit the beat resets your multiplier. Not hitting the beat does not deal any damage to your character, it is just a pain as sometimes your multiplier can often be the thing between successfully completing a level and not. There are a handful of different enemies in the game, which you can learn their pattern of movements if you pay close attention. They all have a predefined path which you should learn to do damage to them or avoid them completely.
Throughout the dungeons, you will find loot; these can be weapons, Armour, and usable items such as bombs or potions. The coins you earn can also be used in the dungeon’s shops to let you purchase upgrades on the fly. The game also has a central hub; this is where you can purchase upgrades that will stay active throughout your play through, such as unlocking an extra chest to spawn on each level for example. One of the ways in which the game forces you to keep moving, is the hidden time limit on each level. Once the song ends you will be forced to move onto the next zone, which may result in you missing out on the reward of more coins or upgrades. I think this is a nice addition as it stops people from using a slow and methodical method and force you to keep up with the tempo and beat of the song.
Graphically, NecroDancer uses the 8bit pixel theme very well. It looks really pretty and very vibrant with colors the majority of the time. The UI is clean and clear with all of the relevant information, especially the Heartbeat sensor at the bottom, which after an hour or two, you won’t need to pay any attention to as you will be so in tune with the soundtracks that you can move on your own. Of course a game that revolves around rhythm needs a half decent soundtrack, NecroDancer certainly delivers there thankfully. With some original music composed by Danny Baranowsky.
As with most roguelike games, the more you play the easier they get. Since NecroDancer requires more skill than anything else, this is more so the case than ever before. Once you get the beat down, you can conquer pretty much anything the game throws at you. Throw in a few permanent upgrades and you really won’t have any problems. The game has a handful of really unique boss fights too. The end one is probably the most memorable of them all though as it adds some very unique game play mechanics in which I thoroughly enjoyed.
All of the levels and stages across the game are randomly generated, so you will never run into the same dungeon layout twice. This of course adds to the replay ability of the game already; but NecroDancer doesn’t stop there. In the main game hub, you will also have access to a daily challenge, in which every player who plays the challenge will face the same map, and your aim is to get the best score possible at the end. This definitely makes the game have plenty of longevity and gives you a reason to load the game up every few days to take part in this daily event even after finishing the story mode. The main story took me seven hours to complete which I think is a decent amount of time; where you will get the most content is from re-running the stages unlocking new characters, playing the daily challenges and working your way up the leader boards.
I really wanted to play the game using a controller, but I couldn’t get my 360 pad to work sadly. Whilst the keyboard controls are fine, I feel the controller would have been that little bit better to use. Everything else works as intended in the game. A neat little feature is that you can import your own music collection to the game too, having you match the beat of your favourite tunes!
Crypt of the NecroDancer is an absolute god send a roguelike game. The originality of the gameplay is something which every other developer should take note of. The gorgeous pixel graphics art style is really well done too. This game just screams of character and pure fun. I cannot recommend this game enough for roguelike fans, and fans of the indie scene. I urge everyone to pick this game up for the low price of £10,99. It will not disappoint.