Crypt of the Necrodancer

By Rachel
on Apr 29, 2015
Filed under:
Game Reviews

Crypt of the Necrodancer is a fast paced top-down 2D dungeon crawler. Gameplay is solely based on the arrow keys. You go through dungeons and fight a mess of different monsters and bosses, much like Diablo and Fate. But in this game, you have to do it to a beat; dancing your way through levels in sync with the electronic dance music played all throughout the game.

Now, this isn’t the first game of its kind. There are lots of rhythm based games out there and it’s not the first to have rhythm and fighting in the same game. The game Rayman Legends, for example, has a very addicting musical level in which you fight trolls and avoid obstacles to the beat of various pre-picked songs. And Melody’s Escape has an interesting hook with its running through the map in sync with any mp3 song you want.

But there is something Crypt of the Necrodancer does very differently. Unlike the other few rhythm based games out there, Crypt of the Necrodancer gives the player full, free range of the space. In most rhythm games you upload or are given a song to play in sync with, and all you do is press one button over and over in time with the song and thats it. There isn’t any creative freedom and it’s very limited, just mindless button mashing. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. I personally love rhythm games and find them a great way to play a game without having to think too much about it, especially if i’m trying to work on another project in my head. But in this game, you are given complete creative freedom, no limits of where you move as long as it sticks with the beat.

crypt_of_the_necrodancer_2.jpg

At first, I tried to play the game with mindless button mashing as you do with typical rhythm games. I found it frustrating and tiresome. I kept dying over and over again, and since when you die it sends you all the way back to the first level it was very discouraging. Once I realized I had to really be thinking about it, the game suddenly made much more sense.

Let me explain. The game has randomly generated levels. You’ll never see the same ‘level 1’ more than once and there’s a good reason for that. If they had made level 1 the same every time you would just learn the level. You would start to memorize ‘Right, right, up, left’ sort of patterns, and never learn how to fight each individual monster. It’s clear the game wants you to learn how to fight and not just sit there memorizing the patterns of the map itself.

Learning how each monster moves is actually very important to the gameplay. Each one gets its own rhythm and pattern. If you don’t bother learning that pattern you can easily jump aimlessly into the path of one, losing you the game. And sending you all the way back to the beginning.

crypt_of_the_necrodancer_3.jpg

This game also has a very short tutorial. Most games walk the player through every little thing, but since the entire game is played with only the arrow keys, it doesn’t need to explain everything to you. In fact, it leaves the player to discover most of its content through gameplay. The tutorial doesn’t explain anything except the very basics, because it doesn’t need to. The game is intuitive and it doesn’t fail to follow its own rules.

The game is very punishing. Every time you die you get sent back to the beginning. But it rewards perseverance heavily. As the game goes on you begin getting better weapons and neat random bonuses. The rewards, gameplay wise, are borderline cheating. Most of them you get for free as the game goes on but because the game is punishing, it all feels deserved. You feel like you earned that upgrade rather than in some games where it feels like the game is babysitting you, or in others where you feel unrewarded for your hard work all together.

Honestly, Crypt of the Necrodancer does something a lot of games don’t, and it’s not the rhythm fighting. It manages to balance Challenge VS Punishment VS Reward, and not only does it do it, but it does it well.

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  1. shpelley says:

    Gotta say, this makes me want to play the game. It’s really a great game to watch/listen to on Twitch while working as the rhythm can get you into “the zone” quickly (at least for me). Dun dun dun dun dun dun…

    ——————————–
    The Review Itself:

    Really good review, Rachel! It seems you have a good grasp on how to convey ideas into actual text, which a big skill all in itself. I can see you share a bit of your writing style with your father, too, which is a good thing while still having your own flow.

    If I had any criticism, I’d say there is a bit of a “clunk” between the last two paragraphs. Namely: “The game is intuitive and it doesn’t fail to follow its own rules. The game is very punishing.” Just feels like it needs a better segue between the two. Aside from that, everything looks awesome!

    Honestly, I doubt many others could have written it better (myself especially!) Good job!

    • AileTheAlien says:

      I too, have some constructive feedback, Rachel. In a couple places, your clipped phrases and short sentences make it feel a bit like…somebody who’s telling you something, but pausing every couple of seconds to huff on an asthma inhaler. Still, I’d much rather read too-short sentences, than overly long. Keep up the good work! :)

      • Dt3r says:

        I noticed that too, the short declarative statements make it feel choppy. Later on you start using more complex sentences and the article starts to flow better. The content is good though! I’d say it just needs one more editing pass.

        • Syal says:

          Also, a few marks off for reviewing a rhythm game without using iambic pentameter.

        • MichaelGC says:

          Although, I don’t know if the short-stuff should be dropped entirely!: it can be a good thing to have a nice mix of punchy short statements and long rambly complex sentences that seem to go on and on, with plenty of subclauses (and somewhat-relevant bits stuffed into parentheses*). Then BAM!

          I tend to think such a mix gives things a nice balance, and the short-stuff can be used for comedy and/or emphasis, amongst other things. (I’m not sure if he does it intentionally, but Rachel’s Dad is extremely good at that sort of thing!) Doesn’t have to be comedic/emphatic, though – e.g. the “Let me explain[,]” above isn’t really either, but the brevity works really well there amidst the medium & longer sentences, and is a great bridge between the two paragraphs. Nice job! :D

          *Or even footnotes.

  2. Mersadeon says:

    I don’t know if it is just because I know that Rachel is your daughter, but I feel that you can really see the similarities in writing style. Might just be me.

    • keldoclock says:

      Very much so. Its like Shamus with a high school essay sort of vibe.

      • Supahewok says:

        Don’t be so insulting! This is way beyond the average contemporary highschooler! It has above 300 words and 3 paragraphs, and is grammatically correct and actually knowledgeable and informative!

        Weep for your public school system, America.

        Also, last I knew, Shamus and his wife homeschool all of their kids, so he most likely was the one to teach her how to write critically. Only makes sense they’d have stylistic similarities.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          Teenagers of above average intelligence (such as I assume Rachel is) can write like this even if they came up through the American public school system.

          Her art, is quite exceptional (I clicked on her name). Her style shows clear influences but she’s doing her own thing with it. I feel like she’s coming up with her own style.

          Here’s a homework assignment, Shamus, write a webcomic and let her do the art. If she’s not comfortable with backgrounds, you could use a screenshot and have her draw the characters into it.

          • Tizzy says:

            agreed, but intelligence alone is not enough. A good writer needs practice and useful feedback. I can tell you that I’ve seen many reasonably bright and ambitious college Freshmen whose writing was substantially below Rachel’s.

            • Supahewok says:

              It helps if students read a bunch, too. You can’t help but have a good idea of grammatical structure if you’ve spent a substantial amount of time reading.

              But dear God, reading as part of the class was the worst in school. Because the only way to guarantee that the lazy ass students are reading is if somebody is reading out loud. But since most students don’t read on their own time… it was painful. Horribly, horribly painful. Especially Shakespeare.

              I hated high school English. I’m thankful that I had really cool teachers so that there was something redeeming about those classes. And also that I had a pre-existing interest in reading and writing, because if I hadn’t had them before I’m sure they’d been quashed by the time I started college.

              • Aldowyn says:

                I was in a high school college-level English class and a classmate (a friend of mine, actually) volunteered to read the ‘to be or not to be’ soliloquy from Hamlet and then proceeded to deliver it in the near monotone one often sees from people reading aloud.

                It was… bad. I was pretty annoyed, actually. Shakespeare was written as a spoken medium, I literally can’t read something like that without falling into a rhythm.

                • tengokujin says:

                  Man, I just re-read that out loud to myself and I fell into a natural-sounding rant. It really is much better than I credited it in high school. Especially since I tried to mimick original pronunciation and my voice is a bit hoarse and thick from talking all day yesterday.

        • guy says:

          Uh, my American public highschool basically never issued writing assignments shorter than 5 paragraphs, 500 words and usually demanded coherence and grammatical correctness.

          • Tizzy says:

            The quality of Public schooling, in the US and elsewhere, tends to be extremely variable. Location tends to be a big factor. This is especially true in any system like the US where schools are funded by LOCAL taxes.

          • Supahewok says:

            I went to one of the best public high schools around, (I did check once, it was 283rd/~26,000) but in the non-Honors classes, teachers could demand all they want, didn’t mean they wouldn’t get crap. Most of the shit I had to peer edit looked like writing on a 5th or 6th grade level. Native English speakers too, I make that distinction. Still made C’s.

            I can only imagine what the writing of the students of surrounding public high schools, whose grades have been falling year after year, looked like.

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              You’re right. I’m realizing reading this that my standards for high school students are normed off the kids in the honors and AP classes because thats mostly what I took. In those classes at Rachel’s age, there were plenty of kids who could write at or around this level. But they were the smart kids who took their education seriously-ish.

              I’m remembering when I became a complete slacker senior year and had to finish out in a couple of general level classes. The thing that sticks out is our teacher trying to teach us to balance a checkbook. The worksheet we had broke it down into discrete instances of addition and subtraction problems. A grade schooler should be able to do this sheet without help (at least work through the numbers, I wouldn’t blame them if they didn’t have a firm handle on what those number were supposed to mean in a real world context).

              But the teacher made it one step easier by reading the sheet to us, doing the math for us and telling us what numbers to write in the blanks of the sheet. And still, about halfway through students were complaining about being confused and the teacher gave up and put on a movie.

              I was dumbfounded because while they were failing arithmetic, I was failing calculus. I think some of the students were being willfully lazy but wow. My impression of our school system was only a little better than Shamus’s by the time I left.

          • Aldowyn says:

            That’s the general expectation in HS, but whether or not you actually get that from your students… yeah.

        • keldoclock says:

          Woah, brutal! I myself only graduated highschool a year ago,but while I was there, those of us who cared about writing pirated some books (most prominently The Elements Of Style) and tried pretty hard to break out of the mold high school writing put us in.

          American public schooling for pupils 14-18 (and I guess, also private and homeschooling? I confess I have no experience with either) has this very difficult to pin down effect on the writing of the students. I’d best summarize it as

          1. Wasted words (caused by grading for length and vocabulary, not quality)
          2. Lack of grace (understandable for those who lack talent but have not yet developed thoroughness)

          I’ve read quite a bit of the work of my peers or those a year older or younger than I, and it reads just like this post. The transitions between describing the subject itself and the author’s thoughts on the subject are lumbering and ungainly (because revision is often skipped entirely or neglected) and there is a glaring lack of structure in the prose: the author simply begins writing until all topics have been covered(sometimes writing a conclusion which says nothing insightful, simply because they have been told to do so for 10 years).

          I can furnish you with a few examples if you desire, but before you reply, I urge you to understand this not as an argument but a clarification. I didn’t mean to be insulting with my observation at all! With so many assignments given to the students and the lack of time for the teacher to give each their full attention, the typical response of the student is to sit down and hammer out, in a single session, something just barely good enough to meet the grading criteria. Too often, a mediocre piece of writing gets perfect marks. It’s difficult to grade style fairly, but I feel very strongly that prose does not become good simply by not being bad.

          • Abnaxis says:

            I had similar thoughts about the essay. As I was reading the review, I felt all the hallmarks of reading a homework essay, where it’s almost as if there is padding in places to reach the desired word count, and the “flow” isn’t there–though I’m not sure whether it’s a problem with paragraph transitions or with an overall lack of thesis development.

            I don’t know how the essay compares to other students Rachel’s age, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but from my own perspective I always appreciated truthful criticism a lot more than encouragement. If I never got any feedback other than “good job!” from people who gave me criticism on a piece like this I probably would have been more annoyed than anything…

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              I suppose a game review could try to hold and defend a thesis (Shamus often does) but in general, you’re just describing what the game was like and what your experience with the game was like. She did that.

              She gave us the genre, the controls, the mechanics, the setting, and the creature types. Then she moved into comparing and contrasting with other games. She highlighted what she thought was unique about the game. She told us about her personal history with such games. She then moved into describing her personal experience playing the game. From there, the organization is maybe a little off. I’m guessing she had some additional thoughts that probably should have been worked into the previous sections. But its all still stuff that belongs in a game review.

              In fact I’m going to recant earlier posts and say I wasn’t giving her enough credit.

              In my defense I read so much of this type of stuff that I’m usually looking for something deeper, especially when it comes to a game that I’ve already read a fair bit about, like this one. But this is absolutely a solid game review and provides plenty of useful information and insight for someone considering buying the game. I wish I’d acknowledged that sooner.

              EDIT: In fact I’ve seen worse from people actually trying to work in the field. Often rookies are overly reductionist in their categories and try to quantify elements of the game while making judgments (see any game review that gives scores on individual aspects of a game that they’ve identified). Rachel’s descriptive and experiential approach is much more flexible and useful than that.

          • MichaelGC says:

            No, “lumbering and ungainly” is way too strong to be applied to this particular piece! – it’s a little clunky at times, that’s all: as is to be expected from (what sounds like) a first bash at writing a review. The whole middle-section, for example, flows absolutely fine.

            I’d also say it’s actually very well structured: we get an intro; an overview of this type of game; and a hint at how this game differs from others in the genre. Then we delve deeply into that difference and how it affects the gameplay experience; both at first, and then over time: this leads naturally to the discussion of power-ups, and that discussion leads straight to the overall, fully-justified conclusion. So, structurally it’s pretty impressive if you ask me! – particularly that final “zoom-out.”

            Thinking back to my own school days, this would certainly count as a top-bracket piece, and the author is clearly intelligent, talented and courageous* – I agree with Abnaxis that just saying “good job” alone is of minimal use, but it is also definitely useful feedback when it is true!

            *Maybe bravery doesn’t come into it for Rachel, but I’d certainly be too cowardly to put up a review on the internet! XD

        • tengokujin says:

          I knew how to write persuasive essays in high school. 5 paragraphs, 30 minutes, got a great grade on my SAT II Writing exam. The thing is, I didn’t learn that in school. I learned that at a cram school, where we got to practise writing 5 paragraph essays in 30 minutes, just for the SAT II Writing exam.

          I can’t weep any more; I’ve run out of tears years ago.

          Also, essay-writing in college was super easy!

    • Mormegil says:

      Nope, not just you. That last bit about balancing reward/challenge/punishment was like Shamus had taken over the keyboard. Is telling a teenage girl she writes like her dad a good or bad thing? Anyway, it’s a good piece, well done.

    • Shamus says:

      If she’s similar to my style then it’s probably more to do with her reading my work than anything else. She usually self-directs her writing, but in this case I wanted to see what she’d do if I handed her a specific topic.

  3. BeamSplashX says:

    rachel’s next step should be hiding jokes in image alt text

    • AileTheAlien says:

      Then her training in the dark side…I mean, videogame reviewing will be complete!

    • ngthagg says:

      Maybe she could work in a complaint or two about DRM? I really felt that was missing from the review.

      • Mephane says:

        I suppose she may be too young to have any memory of the golden age of CD keys*. These days almost anything is either some form of one-time or continouous online activation, or DRM-free altogether, and for someone who grew up with that, DRM is possibly just a thing that exists. Game keys now are just keys to unlock the game for your account with some online service, and not merely passwords that the installer or game demands in order to function.

        I would actually be highly interested what her generation has to say about the topic of DRM. Or anything technology, in fact. These are the people for whom computerization has always been there, for whom touchscreens and powerful pocket computers are entirely normal – unlike those of us who grew up seeing these things in Star Trek. I would even guess that a lot of Star Trek seems especially silly for someone who grew up with tech that is better than some of the stuff in the show (like the now hilariously outdated communicators used in TOS).

        —————–
        *Quite ironic, isn’t it? I remember Shamus raving at CD keys, but from today’s perspective they seem relatively benign.

  4. shiroax says:

    I saw this game and it seems interestingish, but what I don’t get is: There’s monsters, right? How do you beat them? Are you supposed to dance past them? Or do you dazzle them with your moves and then they fall down?

    BTW: The author on Rachel’s site is an email. Is that intentional?

    BTBTW: I like your art, Rachel.

    • AileTheAlien says:

      You attack them with your weapon, but you can only attack on the beat, just like you can only move to the beat.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        You can attack and move whenever you want. So if you panic like a scrub, you can totally button mash and survive in the right circumstances. Buuuuuut… If you don’t keep to the beat you lose your attack multiplier. Monsters move to the beat deterministically, so you’re supposed to synch your attacks with their movements. Attacking out of synch not only sacrifices the multiplier, it actually makes the monsters more difficult to hit and makes you easier to hit because you’re dancing out of step.

        Essentially, it’s improvised dance and fighting choreography at the same time. Better dancing is better fighting.

        You probably can beat the game deliberately avoiding moving to the beat, but it would probably be Ultra Hyper Dark Souls Plus None Of The Developers Got Past Level Two difficult. Sticking to the beat actually makes things easier.

        • Tektotherriggen says:

          The Steam store summary of the game wasn’t particularly clear, so I’m really glad that you and Rachel have given great summaries of how it actually works.

        • AileTheAlien says:

          Not sure if you’re using different settings than me, but in all the modes I’ve tried, you cannot move or attack off of the beat, and you lose your multiplier for trying.

    • KingJosh says:

      I have never played this game, as I have absolutely no rhythm whatsoever. As I understand it, though, the same arrow key that would move you onto a blank space will also attack an enemy if it’s occupipying that space. My iPone will not let me go to YouTube’s website (it auto-opens the app), so I can’t copy and paste the link. However, Super Bunny Hop uploaded a video about this game just a day or two ago. It’s full of gameplay footage, as well as a longer description of the mechanics.

      • MichaelGC says:

        On your iDoofer, if you tap on the video whilst it’s playing you’ll get three icons top-right. Hit the middle one – dunno what that’s supposed to be; looks like an abstract hungry crocodile or something – and it’ll give you various options, including ‘Copy Link.’ You can also use Chrome to play vids outside of the app (although just copying the link from there will mean it’s a mobile one with an m. prefix).

      • Galad says:

        “I have absolutely no rhythm whatsoever”

        Please, don’t let that stop you! The rhythm is er, for lack of a better word, rhythmical, like a heartbeat, you don’t have 1 beat per second, then 3 beats the next second ,then 2 beats the next one. The only exceptions to that is one of the boss fights, and one of the shrines, and both of those simply omit every 8th beat. With a little patience, and listening to the song (the bass line’s speed, in particular), even the most impaired can learn to tap to the rhythm. The greater challenge is learning the monsters and game mechanics, but this happens too with time, and it’s definitely not dark soul-esque

    • Hal says:

      I’ll ‘second’ the art praise. Very nice.

  5. Van Tuber says:

    Shamus, you’re doing a good job teaching your kid how to write. This is clean, structured, and informative. Very nice for a high school level.

  6. Liam O'Hagan says:

    Enjoyable and well written review, I just hate the word ‘Addicting’

    • Background_Nose says:

      Amen to that.

      Sadly it seems “the game is addicting” is gaining ground and the correct “the game is addictive” is losing in common parlance.

  7. John says:

    Oh, this is compelling. As a rogue-like–or maybe a rogue-like-like–Crypt of the Necrodancer’s randomized levels seem perfectly natural, and I’ve never questioned their purpose before. I never thought of the game as a rhythm game or in the context of other rhythm games. (Unless the ballroom dancing mini-game in Sid Meier’s Pirates! counts, I don’t think I’ve ever really played a rhythm game.) This is something new and interesting to wrap my brain around. Thank you, Rachel.

    Crypt of the Necrodancer is not my usual sort of game at all but I have heard so many good things about both the mechanics and the soundtrack that I am sorely tempted.

  8. Abnaxis says:

    So…uh…should I be constructively criticizing, or would that be gauche?

    I’m usually pretty merciless with the young ‘uns that bring me their writing in my own family (which is why they usually bring it to me) but I don’t want to seem harsh…

  9. Julian says:

    Punishing and frustrating? Welcome to the world of roguelike games. :)

    I ran into this game a few weeks ago, and it’s really designed to be played with DDR pads, rather than the keyboard, which an interesting experience. (I’ve never played DDR, so I had something of a learning curve to deal with.)

  10. Cuthalion says:

    Good review! I like your conclusion especially; you pointed out something I wasn’t thinking of. You were able to tease out something that wasn’t obvious, but was actually very important. What makes the game work is not that it combines rhythm and fighting, but that it strikes a good balance of “Challenge VS Punishment VS Reward”.

  11. lostclause says:

    Aww, I love Macbeth…

    Seriously though, well done Rachel. I also had a look at some of your artwork on your site and it’s amazing, keep it up.

  12. James says:

    Trivia on this game, it is fully compatible with dance mats, and in fact i believe the dev designed they’re own mats to come with the game.

    they come in two styles, the cheaper soft pads like the ones you used to get in old dance games, and rigid ones you might find in arcades.

  13. BitFever says:

    This game looks really cool : D
    I’m happy to see creative projects surfacing.

  14. Alex says:

    I’d heard of this game before, but hadn’t thought more about it than that. Finding out that it really is a DDR Roguelike and not just a generic indy game with the “music!” aesthetic pasted on makes me much more interested.

    On the other hand, I’m a bit disappointed by what I found when I searched for Crypt of the Necrodancer and Dragonforce on Youtube. Dragonforce + any rhythm game is usually a recipe for hilarious madness, but this looked much more sedate than I was expecting.

    • swenson says:

      Same here–I’d heard the name but didn’t know anything about it. Now that I’ve heard more, though, it sounds like something I’d actually be interested in.

      It’s funny, I first bought Chime because Shamus suggested it… now I might be buying Crypt of the Necrodancer because his daughter suggested it! Apparently I get all of my music-based game suggestions from the Young family.

  15. Galad says:

    Yay, my favorite game is finally noticed on this blog! :)
    Good writing start, Rachel!

    I’d like to point out that, should you wish to, you can also play the same dungeon over and over, from all zones mode(seeded). It’s not as fun as when the dungeon is random, however, the option is out there, should you wish to hunt a particular achievement for example.

    The game is quite deep for its price. With around a dozen possible characters with various perks and quirks, and the ever changing dungeons, you are sure to get your money’s worth. Just remember to move to the beat, and not button mash or hit 3 directional arrows per second (unless you’re using the specific character that moves like that). 230 hours spent here, and more to come for me.

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Young padawan lacks rollover text on images.But its ok,you didnt learn that until later as well.

  17. poiumty says:

    A few non-writer criticisms, if I may.

    1. Don’t be afraid of longer sentences: if it seems like you’re using the period too much, you probably are. Don’t be afraid to link your sentences together with a comma, a colon, a semicolon or just a blank space – it creates a state of flow where you can express an idea more fluidly rather than constantly stopping and going. Imagine being in a car where the driver floors the acceleration every time he has to increase the speed, and hits the breaks when he has to slow down. Then imagine being in a car where the driver knows how to accelerate smoothly and you almost never feel the push and pull of inertia until you’ve stopped. That’s the (slightly exaggerated) difference.

    2. When mentioning other video games, try to imagine that some of your readers might not know about them as much as you do – indeed, they might not know about them at all. Adding a few descriptive words before their respective titles ensures that your audience will have at least a vague idea of what those games are and how they relate to what you’re trying to review.

    3. Segue between your paragraphs. If you can’t, try to reorder them so you can. For example, you go from “this game is intuitive” to “this game is punishing” right in the very next sentence, which feels like you have conflicting opinions on it. Adding a “Despite its intuitiveness, ” to the beginning of the second sentence works wonders to clarify.

    4. Try to find substitutes for “this game” so you use it less often. It’s probably a bit harder to get used to, but mentioning it by name or finding creative ways to quell the repetition makes for a much better read.

    Other minor gripes that don’t necessarily have to do with formatting:
    – “full, free range of the space”: the space of what? You clearly meant the area of movement, the space of movement or the game space, but just because you can auto-complete in your head doesn’t mean it works the same for everyone else.
    – you need to pay a little bit more attention to the rules of the game. You state that you have full control of movement, but that’s not true – you can’t move diagonally, for instance. You can only move in 4 directions, one square at a time, and if I hadn’t read another review that criticized that, I wouldn’t know it right now. A review aims to be descriptive without being overwhelming in information, but if the information is hyperbolic then it’s failed its purpose.
    – as a follow-up to that earlier point: how are the rewards borderline cheating? There’s no need to describe what each of them does, but a very short description of why you feel this way (even if it’s just “that’s how it felt to me” for things that are hard to explain) serves as painting a better picture for whoever’s reading.

    Right, that’s about everything that I feel can be fixed with personal effort. Now that you’re ready to head into professional games writing, I demand a review of Dark Souls.

  18. Noumenon72 says:

    I was impressed by all the parts that are there to interest the audience. Rather than just setting down your thoughts, it’s like “Let me explain an interesting concept”, “Here’s the important difference about this game”. I wanted to keep reading the whole way through.

  19. Blackbird71 says:

    “I didn’t get how cool Shakespeare was until a few years after graduation.”

    Shamus, I’m not that far behind you in years, and I still don’t think Shakespeare is cool. Frankly I think he’s highly overrated. The man was definitely a skilled poet, but if you’re a curmudgeon like me and don’t have an appreciation for flowery language, once you strip that away his stories become fairly mediocre. Basically I feel his works are a pretty package wrapped around very little substance, and I will always value substance over form. But that’s just one man’s opinion.

    I will say that proper delivery of Shakespeare can make all the difference in perception. A while back I saw Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, and there were a few actors in that (Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker in particular, as I recall) who made their lines sound effortless and natural , and it brought a life to the performance that I’ve rarely seen in Shakespeare. Too many actors clearly struggle with the old English, and it typically makes for a delivery robbed of emotion, meaning, and understanding.

  20. Zak McKracken says:

    Not a complaint with this review in particular, but rather something I’m missing in everything I have ever seen written (or seen on gameplay videos) about this game: I still don’t get how rythm is integrated into the mechanics. I’m beginning to think this might be hard to explain …

    • MichaelGC says:

      I think essentially it’s a turn-based game where you (and the monsters) can’t just take your turn whenever you’re ready. After an action, you have to wait a certain (short) amount of time before you can move again – but you also can’t wait too long. So the turns are on a specific schedule, and the beat is there to give the timing of that schedule (with each beat being one turn). If it’s an up-tempo tune playing, you’ll need to be inputting commands faster; with a slower beat you’d wait a bit longer between each command; etc. etc.

  21. Jarenth says:

    Crypt of the Necrodancer really is a great game. And while I hadn’t really considered that particular angle of it before, you’re absolutely right: the game does except you to learn and understand the patterns of all enemies through nothing more than mere exposure, and then ‘rewards’ you for getting it by way of more progress.

    If you find yourself disliking the cumulative effect of the meta-game upgrades, I’d recommend playing All Zones Mode (previously: Hardcore Mode). That mode unlocks all item-based upgrades off the bat, but starts you off with default equipment and only a handful of health. Sure, it’s even more frustrating to die and get sent back to the beginning if you’re sixteen levels in instead of four. But, keeping in line with the theme, I find that this just forces you to think about your item choices and behaviour in a longer-term perspective.

    Also: Crypt of the Necrodancer has a daily All Zones Modes run, with shared high score and speed run leaderboards. Just for those of you who are into that.

  22. mom says:

    Rachel, I thought you did a great job. The article was obviously written by an adult. Of course that is always a shock to Grandma but also a great delight.

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