Crawl Review (Early Access)

Crawl

This isn't the basement of the Alamo.

This isn't the basement of the Alamo.

QUICK GLANCE:

  • PLATFORM: PC (Controller, Mouse, and Keyboard Playable)
  • PLAYERS: 1-4 (Local Multiplayer)
  • ACHIEVEMENTS: No (Early Access)
  • STEAM TRADING CARDS:  No (Early Access)
  • CONTROLLER SUPPORT: Full

High Level Premise – Roguelike Beat-em-up where one player controls the hero and up to 3 friends or bots control the monsters.  Killing the hero makes you the hero, repeat.  Some RPG elements as you level up your hero/monsters.

Graphics/Style - Retro styling but with greater color depth to satisfy nostalgia while being surprising pretty in simplicity.  

Music / Sound Effects – Reminiscent of Gauntlet with an 8-Bit style soundtrack, featuring some nice scattered voice over.

Story – Conquer Dungeons and defeat bigger baddies as you go.  

Replay-ability – With local multiplayer it is much easier imagining picking this up multiple times.  If you are light on local friends I think a few hours will suffice.  

Time Commitment – Like a classic coin operated adventure like Gauntlet you can play for a short period of time or really sink in some time to go for high scores and unlocking everything.

Value – A bargain if you can get at least one friend to play with you locally.  It is an intense battle that has a real sense of urgency at all times that makes you want to celebrate every victory with dances and punch your friend when they kill you.  Without the multiplayer it is worth checking out, but I think it will be harder to get the same experience against bots.  

Multiplayer - 1-4 Locally. This game is early access and the developer website does leave open the possibility of putting it online.  If you can chat with your friends I think the magic could still be had online.  

Favorite Element – They made every second feel like life or death. You so desperately want to land the final killing blow on the hero so you become him, or on the monsters so you can claim valuable points toward leveling up.  That urgency is a drug, and I can't think of the last game I played that had me amped up like this.  

Pay attention to ME!

Pay attention to ME!

When I first got a review copy of Crawl, I played against the bots and was doing pretty well, but I could tell something was missing.  I made Chris come over to my house and bring another gaming controller so I could see how this game plays with the local multiplayer that it was clearly built around.  It is a whole different experience.  It was more frantic, more frustrating, more exhilarating, and I could finally see the game in its glory.  We played until my computer crapped out (unrelated to the game) and Chris had beaten me pretty badly as the hero, but I had more powerful monsters.  The multiplayer experience is like when you used to battle your friends in Mario Kart on SNES and you get to gloat in each others' faces, but logistically we can't often gather together to play this sort of game.  I really hope they add online multi as they continue to develop the game so I can get to play this with 4 adults and lose my mind.  During the time I was testing the game they made several updates adding monsters and some subtle art changes that have really improved the look of the game.  If you have some passionate gaming friends, especially ones that will like some of the throwback elements of the game this is a wise buy even in early access where they promise early adapters will get all future updates.  If this game is for you I think the trailer below will let you know.  

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