Rogue-likes have been combined with many gameplay styles but this one makes use of rhythm mechanics. Is dancing around a dungeon as exciting as it sounds? Put on a suit of armour with matching dancing shoes and let's find out.
Crypt of the NecroDancer plays similarly to your average Mystery Dungeon game except you're forced to move to the beat. I must admit, this concept intimidated me at first because I don't usually enjoy rhythm games but after playing for hours straight without realising how much time has passed, I can safely say that this one has me hooked. Having to play to music feels less like a rhythm game and more like an incentive to keep moving since your enemies move to the beat, too. The resulting unrelenting action from this dynamic is nothing short of exciting. Observing enemy patterns in order to skillfully slay them is oh so satisfying. Considering there are so many varieties of foes, you'll feel like a champion once you're able to cut through dragons, Minotaurs, and skeletons with ease. Overall, the mix of gameplay styles is fine-tuned to create a cohesive package that's almost impossible not to love.
Graphically, environments are generic pixelated dungeons but the characters are quite enjoyable to watch. Their lively animations flow beautifully to the point where it's easy to become attached to the little chums. Of course, you'd hope a rhythm game has some wicked tunes and I'm happy to say that this one does. Additionally, being able to switch the music between a selection of five soundtracks ensures that the grooves never get stale. Thankfully, they're all awesome and will definitely get your toes tapping as you raid.
As I've already mentioned, there's a ton of enemy types, but that's not all. There's also an impressive array of weapons, items, spells, and equipment to discover. Upon beginning a game, you only have a basic weapon, shovel, and bomb. As you progress, you'll discover chests and merchants that provide you with quite the arsenal by the time you reach the boss. Finding these goodies is a ton of fun because you traverse randomly generated dungeons with many destructible walls and hidden areas. You'll also rescue characters that either become playable or unlock new rooms in the lobby (such as shops). Things get compelling once your lobby fills with characters, new modes to play, and training areas. Being able to explore cooperatively with a friend or take on daily challenges are fantastic additions as well. Heck, you can even play with a dance pad! With this much content, you'll keep coming back for days.
One thing I don't like is when games have too steep of a difficulty curve. Unfortunately, Crypt of the NecroDancer suffers from this issue. It took me quite a while to complete the first zone which I was okay with because it helped me learn the complexities of how to play. Upon challenging the second zone, I was surprised to see how much more difficult it was. At this point, I realised that my only chance to progress further was to memorize how to conquer absolutely every single possible situation that arises. I hate memorizing things in games. That being said, learning how to take on a dragon then slaying them with efficiency feels very rewarding. When you factor in how many things you have to end up memorizing, it gets daunting quickly. This is especially frustrating when a handful of tricky foes show up all at once in a confined space which ends up happening way too often. Talk about overwhelmingly unfair.
Crypt of the NecroDancer is one of the best games that I've played so far this year. I can't recommend it highly enough for anyone who's intrigued by this unique concept for a dungeon exploring adventure. Now get dancing!
- + Perfectly addictive blend of rhythm mechanics and dungeon exploring
- + Multiple soundtracks that are all awesome
- + Oodles of replay value to keep you hooked
- - Steep difficulty curve forces you to play until you memorize every possible situation
- - Too many tricky enemies randomly showing up at once is downright unfair