Our Review of Crypt of the Necrodancer

Crypt of the Necrodancer is game we shouldn’t like. We don’t seek out rhythm games often (though we have a soft spot for the tremendous Beat Sneak Bandit). The concept of “rogue like” has completely worn out its welcome to the level of an escort mission or a sewer level. And we’ll just say this the controls are hit or miss on the touchscreen interface (yes, we played the iOS version and not the console which likely doesn’t suffer this problem). But we actually had a blast with this one. Here’s our review of Crypt of the Necrodancer.

Odds are your initial impressions of Crypt of the Necrodancer will go something like this. The intro and title screen graphics will underwhelm you until you’re finally deposited into a dark dungeon to start. For a few beats you will struggle to even move since you have to tap the screen on the beat to move. Once you get used to moving you’ll find enemies that will make embarrassingly quick work of you sending you back to the lobby. You’ll dive back in, slightly more agile as you get the beat movement down and more apt at monster fighting until perhaps you encounter the map’s boss which will eat your face off sending you back to the lobby. Slowly but surely you’ll get better (dare I say gud?) capable of taking down the toughest of bosses.

It wouldn’t be a rhythm game without some weird boss fights

Part of the progression is getting better at movement, part of it is learning enemy movement and attack patterns, and a lot of it comes down to what you unlock. Each map comes with one diamond that is the currency of choice back in the home lobby. You can’t keep diamonds round to round but a good run can net four diamonds which you can exchange for some healthy powerups like permanent health or armor upgrades or unlocking better weapons to spawn inside maps on subsequent playthroughs. There’s a general sense of progression here that’s absent in other games like Risk of Rain or are more ambiguous in Binding of Isaac. This means even most every playthrough can help you get one step closer to beating the game.

This may or may not be exactly like every dance club – we really wouldn’t know

It’s worth highlighting that fortunately for game designed around music that the soundtrack is actually pretty damned solid. Composer Danny Baranowsky who also produced the soundtrack for Binding of Isaac and Super Meat Boy scores this game with a pounding house mix that somehow never gets old.

What works

Roguelikes can typically just beat the tar out of you and, yeah it happens here too, but each playthrough can likely yield a powerup that will make your next attempt slightly easier so rarely does it feel like waste of time. And for a music that hinges on its soundtrack, it’s actually quite good.

What doesn’t work

You’re not going to be hooked by the story or graphics but you will play for the challenge.

Overall: 3/5 Good but Skippable

It’s a great distraction for a long line or flight but don’t feel like you need to pause hunting shrines in Zelda to seek this one out.