Posted on July 25, 2013, James Murff Indie Gems: Crypt Run Dies Often, But Doesn’t Stay Dead
Indie Gems is an ongoing feature in which we highlight indie games that are worth your time and attention. Think of this as your weekly Indie Game Playlist.
In games like The Binding of Isaac, death is a permanent inevitability. Once you’ve entered Charon’s realm, you’ve lost all progress, and must start over from scratch. What if that wasn’t the case, though? What if you had the chance to return to life by pushing through the spectral planes towards victory?
This is Crypt Run’s main conceit, and it adds an entertaining new layer to the existing Zelda-like formula.
Developer: Lost Decade Games
Crypt Run follows you as you fight and loot your way through a procedurally-generated maze of rooms. Money earned from collecting treasures is used to purchase better equipment, and you can find power-ups to do all sorts of things – such as heal yourself, point you in the right direction, or give you discounts – in treasure chests, barrels, and even on the corpses of your slain foes. In short, it plays very similar to The Binding of Isaac, with one key difference: you don’t stay dead.
Once you’ve suffered one too many stab wounds in Crypt Run, you are pulled from your body as a ghost. Here, there are no gold pieces, no equipment, and no breakables. Instead, you must beat back waves of ghosts, skeletons, and other undead creatures in order to make it to the next room and, hopefully, to eventual freedom. Plans are in the works to make death more meaningful, including having to switch between realms in order to solve puzzles or complete rooms, but that’s for later versions.
Even though it’s just a simple browser alpha, Crypt Run shows a lot of promise. It hits all the right buttons for a Zelda-like – smooth 2D movement, responsive combat focusing on player skill with given weapons, varied enemies – while layering on some new features. The premise is addicting, thanks to the combination of randomly generated levels, loot gathering, and the possibility to return from death to claim vengeance on your killers, and there’s no doubt that the final release will be full of satisfying monster- and ghost-slaying action.