Crypt of the Necrodancer Review

Game developers for years have been mashing up two different game genres into one new game. Sometimes the two mesh pretty well. Other times not so much. Then there are the ones that are so fundemtally different from each other that you would have never guess that they could work together. One such game is Crypt of the Necrodancer. Crypt of the Necrodancer is a dungeon crawler roguelike music rhythm game. A dungeon crawler roguelike music rhythm game, let that sink in. Besides being a mouthful to say, out of all of the genres out there to mix together, developer Brace Yourself Games decided to take two genres that have you don’t see cross paths very often to make a game. Oddly enough, the two mix pretty well, to a point.

Do the Monster Mash

Killer soundtrack- I’m not sure what rule is for music in dungeon crawlers/roguelikes, but for music rhythm games you must have an awesome yet challenging soundtrack for players to play and listen to or they will not play the game at all. The music need to make such an impression that players will be tapping to the beat outside of the game. Crypt of the Necrodancer hits all three marks. There’s something about the game’s use of chiptunes and synthesizers that really makes the soundtrack fun and memorable. I guess it might have to to do with the of popularity with EDM, since the default soundtrack does sound something like you would hear at a concert or a rave. And yes I said default soundtrack. I’ll explain in a bit.

Various control options- By default to play Crypt of the Necrodancer, either the WASD or directional arrow keys are used. Playing with the default controls proved to be a bit difficult, but that’s a fault on my part due to being primarily a console gamer. In any case the default setup works just fine and are fully rebindable. But the devs didn’t stop there. They also added in two other options for players. One of those options is using a gamepad/controller. For me, this made navigating the game much more easier and was way more comfortable. The other option also happens to be its very own mode is dancepad. If you by chance have a USB dancepad, then you can hook it up to the PC and able to play the game using the dancepad. I don’t have a dancepad myself, but I have seen videos of gamers using one with the game and it seems fun and gives the game a bit more of a challenge.



Tons of extras- The two things that dungeon crawler roguelike and music rhythm games have in common is the tons of extras that they have. These extras include a daily dungeon run where you can compete with players around the world to see who can get through the day’s dungeon without dying. There’s also co-op where you can bring a friend along to the dungeon dance party. There are also several unlockable characters that you can free from the depths of the dungeons as you play.

Game is mod friendly- In addition to having tons of extras, Crypt of the Necrodancer is mod friendly. By that I mean that there are tons on mods that players can choose from to change the outward look of the game and make it new. Want to play as Link in a Legend of Zelda inspired dungeon with music from the game? There’s a mod for that. Or how about play as Isaac from the Binding of Isaac and keeping the beat to that game’s eerie soundtrack? There’s a mod for that too. Or maybe you just want to beef up the difficulty level? You guessed it, there’s a mod for that.

Use your own music/extended soundtrack- But what if you want to slay monsters to your favorite music? Crypt of the Necrodancer allows for players to import their own music for the game to use. This makes for some really unique beats that the players have to follow. But if you don’t want to use your own music and want more of the original soundtrack, great news. When you buy Crypt of the Necrodancer, you also get a compilation of the game’s original tracks and two remixed versions of the original tracks. Much like the original track these two new remix sets (one melodic, the other metal) sound really great and something that you would find at a EMD concert/rave.


Dead Beats

AI spikes- One of the most predominate features of a dungeon crawler rougelike is that the dungeon is procedurally generated. In other words the layout will never be the same twice. This is to throw off the player and have them think about their next move. This also happens to affect the monster placement as well. Sometimes the level will decided that you don’t encounter high level monsters like dragons or minotaurs. Sometimes the level will decided that you will have to face both at the same time. Three times in a row. The AI tends to randomly spike at times, but that’s the nature of procedurally generated dungeons, you have to learn how to adapt.

For a game that meshed two worldly different genres, Crypt of the Necrodancer actually mixes the dungeon crawler rougelike with music rhythm game very nicely. The controls are pretty simple, with two other options given. The game comes will a killer standard soundtrack and two bonus mixed versions of the soundtrack. And like most PC games, CotND is mod friendlily with tons of extra stuff to keep you boogieing on down till the moonrise. Just watch out for the AI spike that will happen on occasion.




1 Comment

  1. Sel says:

    If you’re facing multiple powerful enemies like dragons or minotaurs (minibosses), that’s not an AI spike, that’s you taking an action that causes multiple minibosses to be spawned. The easiest way for this to happen is if don’t kill the current level’s miniboss before the song ends — then when you get automatically dropped into the next level, you’re stuck into a small penalty room that contains the undefeated miniboss and three other enemies, AND you still have to defeat the actual miniboss for that level.

    Other reasons multiple minibosses might be spawning:
    * You chose an item from a secret arena
    * You blew up a shrine/the shrinekeeper in the secret shrine room
    * You’re fighting a final boss who can summon minibosses

    The number of minibosses you face cannot be altered by procedural generation.

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