Thanks to Tikipod for the review code
Title: Iron Crypticle
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 02/13/2019
In this multiplayer scorechaser, you take control of up to four knights who set out into the dangerous depths of the underground in order to recover stolen treasure! The deeper you go, the more dangerous the hordes and bosses will be, so this will be a very dangerous journey.
At first glance, the game has an art style not unlike the one found in Capcom’s Ghosts and Goblins games, with a similar muted color scheme and choice of font. However, it plays nothing like that platforming series at all, and is instead a top-down shooter akin to Gauntlet. The rooms do have a habit of looking samey as a result of this genre choice, but the four main characters are distinctly color coded in a way that prevents the player from getting confused, and it’s still real easy to tell which enemies will do what based on their appearance, so thankfully the dull backgrounds don’t hurt much in the grand scheme of things.
The music is pretty average and not really enough to write home about, but the sound effects are really good, capturing the Arcade feel they were aiming for pretty well.
Iron Crypticle is a twin-stick roguelike shooter where the main objective is to clear each room of enemy waves in order to advance to the boss of each floor, progressing deeper and deeper in order to get to that final area. Since the controls are so simple, Iron Crypticle makes for an easy game to learn, helpful considering the four-player co-op that’s available, as your co-op partners can eat through everyone’s credits in no time at all.
Starting out, you only have a wimpy dagger attack to use on enemies, but it gets the job done with most basic enemies and waves, and a friend or two helps out even more. However, as you go deeper into the dungeon and the branching paths on each floor, you can buy or find temporary or permanent (for that run) upgrades that range from stronger weapons like a hammer, stat boosts, extra credits, health refills or a powerful fist attack that wipes away enemies.
There’s also a bonus game from time to time, where you have to do platforming in order to gain extra points. Once you reach the final room of a floor, you’ll be drawn into a boss battle, although they do rotate on each playthrough and thus the same boss may not appear on the same floor.
With three different difficulty options to choose from, Iron Crypticle also allows for some degree of tweaking to fit your playstyle. While the game’s easiest setting still won’t exactly make it easier to reach the final boss, it does provide some extra leeway to make mistakes, which make it more preferable for the multiplayer. Alongside these difficulties are leaderboards for each of them, where you can see what your score stacks up against the rest of the world. Combine that with in-game achievements, a catalog for each item you discover, and there’s a lot of replay value to be found in this game, even if you do have to start from the beginning every time.
In conclusion, Iron Crypticle is a really fun scorechaser, especially with a friend or two. (or three) While this isn’t really a game that’s practical or easy to beat, the journey in your attempts to try and beat the game is where the fun is, and I still had a lot of fun just playing for the sake of a higher score, even when I didn’t particularly care about progressing.
The boss battles are fun, the powerups are great, the roguelike elements work surprisingly well, and the online leaderboards are very welcome, but it also feels like you can see everything there is to see in the game after a few hours, with the skill ceiling being pretty high for newcomers or co-op buddies to overcome. Thus, it may not be a great idea to play in four-player unless every other player is as skilled at the game as you are, since a poor player can eat the credits for the rest of the team.
Despite this setback, I did have a lot of fun playing with just one other person, so there’s that at the very least. It may not be the best scorechaser on the eShop, but it’s still a solid shooter nevertheless.
I give Iron Crypticle a 7 out of 10.