With next gen consoles trying to push for better graphics and branch out to VR capable systems, Iron Crypticle breaks this push with a simple but complex twin-stick, bit-style shooter with RPG elements. The bit-style and simple controls bring a sort of nostalgia aspect to the game, reminiscent of the simpler times of gaming. You play as a king’s guard who is on a mission to rescue the abducted Cryptonia’s princess and the king’s royal treasures. Are you up for the task?
The gameplay is top-down style, where before each level you get a lay out of the level and you must pick a path to get to the end, hopefully making it to fight the boss. The path you pick changes how the game plays out. One path may be easier, while the other could be more challenging. The twin stick shooter style fits well, letting your character throw axes at the monsters. You also have some special abilities, one being a turbo boost that lets you avoid enemies if they get too close, as well as a sort of mega blast that charges up and kills enemies within a short 360-degree radius around your hero. There are various weapon pick-ups that randomly drop from killing enemies or simply appear. These weapon pick-ups give you a timed amount where it swaps out your main ax throw with other various weapon types. Some include a hammer throw, ninja star throw, or even rapid-throw arrows. There are many different weapon types that help you clear out the monsters, as well as lots of treasure to compliment it.
Randomly strewn through the maps are treasure chests that have various pick-ups from gold to food items that add to your overall score. The gold that you collect throughout the levels can be used in two ways. One is spending them at the stores that are typically in the middle of the levels but change up with the constantly varied level patterns. In some spots there is a mini arcade game where you play as a king’s guard in a platformer style level. Here you can collect even more gold to spend in the store. The store is where you can upgrade your king’s guards speed, fire rate, damage and weapon pick up length. You can also upgrade those abilities by picking up food in quick order that is dropped from enemies. As you go through the levels you gain experience points which add to your amount of health bars and speed of your hero. You regain health by either randomly picking up health hearts or by leveling up. As far as the monsters go they vary from beetles, Frankenstein like zombies, to plants that spit fire or poison. Each level is not like the other and they switch up randomly. The bosses also change randomly throughout the game but are always at the end. The boss fights are where the game gets very difficult with little to no health drops you must attack wisely and defend even better.
Overall Iron Crypticle is a great throwback style game that is both challenging but easy to pick up and play. With 4-person Co-op you can have a few friends over and easily play together. The learning curve is very slim. I really enjoyed Iron Crypticle. The gameplay can be fast paced and it is always fun to slay enemies nonstop. There is one issue that I had with the game where once you die, it is literally game over. You must restart all the way from the beginning which can be very frustrating once you get to the higher levels. But that is how it goes with old school inspired titles. Much like SMASH TV, permadeath is real, and it always hurts. There is also another gameplay mode called endless like a horde wave style fighting, which only adds to the replayability. Iron Crypticle is a great pick up and reminds me a lot of the good ol’ days of gaming.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purpose of the review
Final Score: 8/10
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