Crypt of the NecroDancer Review

Step carefully in this superb dungeon crawler.

July 8, 2016 by Morgan Shaver

Crypt of the NecroDancer introduced one of the most ingenious game design twists. Part roguelike dungeon crawler and part beat-matching music game, Crypt of the NecroDancer’s gameplay has an odd synergy all its own. On the surface, the game can appear simple as you move your character through randomly created dungeons by timing your movements to the song’s beat and light-up floor tiles. However, each run provides a series of complex puzzles to solve.

Each step you take brings your enemies closer to you, which ultimately forces you to think carefully about where and how you step. Taking out enemies requires you to learn their various movement patterns, as you avoid stepping on the same tile they occupy. If you step on the same tile you will take damage, and once all of your hearts are depleted you die and are forced to start the randomized dungeon all over again. Through each level, you’ll accrue diamonds that can be spent to unlock new levels, weapons, and items for you to find when you hop back into the game.

In a nutshell, Crypt of the NecroDancer is all about manipulating your enemy’s movements to allow your character to safely attack. While each death restarts your level progress, you do have the benefit of unlocking various stages upon completion that remain unlocked. For example, if you successfully defeat the first stage and die at the beginning of the second, you won’t have to return to the first stage, merely the beginning of the second. Even better, each failed attempt teaches you more about your enemies that in turn gives you a better opportunity of defeating them the next time.

The large randomized bosses can be tricky, but Crypt of the NecroDancer added a feature that allows you to practice attacking the bosses prior to jumping into a level. Thus, you won’t be left trying to decipher how a boss like the dragon (who can take you out with one fire blast) moves around the stage. Each stage increases in difficulty by introducing new landscapes, new music that shifts tempo, and new enemies. No two games of Crypt of the NecroDancer are alike, and the game presents you with an incremental difficulty level that won’t make you want to tear your hair out.

In addition, the game provides mod support with a level editor, and the option to input your own music into the game if you grow tired of Crypt of the NecroDancer’s funky beats. The game provides both solo and co-op options and supports mouse and keyboard, controller, and even a dance pad where you can literally dance your way through the game. If you’re looking for an addictive game with a unique experience, definitely give Crypt of the NecroDancer a shot!

Buy Crypt of the NecroDancer on Steam

Pros
  • Incremental level difficulty
  • Unique combination of gameplay elements
  • Plenty of options to choose from
  • Fantastic soundtrack
Cons
  • Collecting and spending diamonds quickly becomes unimportant