Crypt of the Necrodancer
Developer(s): Brace Yourself Games
Publisher(s): Klei Entertainment
Platform(s): Windows, OS X, Linux, PS4, PS Vita, iOS, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Release date(s): April 23, 2015 (PC, macOS, Linux) / February 2, 2016 (PS4, PS Vita) / February 10, 2017 (Xbox One) / February 1, 2018 (Nintendo Switch)
Links: Website | Steam | Facebook | Twitter
Early into 2018, the Switch has handily proven to be the modern champion of console indie gaming. With a low-cost dev kit and strong first-party support, indie developers have flocked in droves to Nintendo’s newest platform. Games like Celeste and Dandara have popped up alongside indie veterans like Super Meat Boy and Crypt of the Necrodancer
Much like Super Meat Boy, Crypt of the Necrodancer has found its way onto multiple platforms, thanks to its accessibility and replayability. While the game hasn’t drastically changed by porting onto the Switch, the mobile console might just be the perfect home for it.
New Console, Same Great Taste!
Y’know it. Y’love it. It’s Crypt of the Necrodancer and now it’s available on your Super Nintendo Switch. First released on Steam back in 2015, there isn’t much more to say about Crypt of the Necrodancer that hasn’t already been said. Its unique blend of rhythm-based and roguelike mechanics continue to provide immensely satisfying gameplay.
For the uninitiated, Crypt of the Necrodancer is a dungeon crawler where you perform all your actions to the beat of the music. You take on the role of Cadence (unlocking other characters along the way) as you delve into the depths below.
Similar to Enter the Gungeon, Necrodancer adopts a playful and cheeky tone for its morbid content. The story behind the game is played rather straight, but it never takes itself too seriously. While Cadence may be on a quest to find her father, sassy skeletons and gorilla-led conga lines are natural parts of the world.
The gameplay aspects of the Necrodancer are simple and straightforward. Moving, attacking, and using items require the player to perform button inputs timed to the beats of a level’s track. Add to that a wide variety of enemies and attack patterns, and a simple rhythm game quickly takes on layers of fast-paced strategy.
Composed by indie veteran Danny Baranowsky, Necrodancer‘s club-funk tech soundtrack rejuvenates a tired genre into a uniquely addictive experience. Tunnel vision takes over as your thumbs pulse to the beat, desperate for one more floor, one more attempt.
Like every dungeon-crawling roguelike to come before it, Necrodancer emphasizes dying and retrying. Multiple attempts allow the player to learn and grow, in ways that are obvious and not-so-obvious. While you can purchase better items between runs that will have a chance to drop in-game, every attempt drives the player to improve.
Switch Things Up
The Switch version of Necrodancer features all content previously released on other platforms, including the massive DLC pack “Amplified”. In addition, the Switch version adds an exclusive character: Reaper.
Reaper’s gimmick is an interesting one: he accumulates souls with every enemy slain. These souls surround Reaper and will deal damage to anything they come in contact with, as well as soak up damage. For Necrodancer veterans, this character functions ostensibly as a better Cadence.
While the Switch may not really bring anything new gameplay-wise to Necrodancer, it offers a fantastic mobile platform. Plenty has already been said about the Switch’s portability and indie support, and Necrodancer is another fantastic addition to the quickly growing roster.
As a roguelike, Necrodancer is perfect for quick bursts of play. Since each level lasts as long as the track does, it’s easy to pick the game up for a few minutes at a time.
The Switch’s D-pad also feels utterly fantastic when compared to alternatives, like the PS4 or Xbox controller. Nobody does D-pads quite like Nintendo, where the tactile sensation of pushing down on a button simply feels good. Especially in a game like Necrodancer, where quick inputs are necessary, the Switch’s controls are arguably the best way to play.
In addition, Necrodancer features co-op gameplay that, once again, eases perfectly into the Switch. The built-in joy-cons and portable nature allow for on-the-go Necrodancing with friends. While seemingly minor, Nintendo’s emphasis on cooperative play means that games like Necrodancer have new dimensions thanks to the Switch’s capabilities.
- Great soundtrack
- Interesting spin on the roguelike genre
- Extensive replayability
- Massive depth and variety in characters, items, and modes
- Veterans will enjoy the portability and ease of co-op that the Switch offers
- Highly challenging gameplay, especially in the later levels
- All the potential downsides of roguelikes (unsaved progress, heavy RNG)