'Roguelike' is a word being used quite a bit these days, and now Crypt of the NecroDancer has come along to plant its flag in the genre. It's got generated dungeons, permadeath, stubbornly retro pixels, and dance moves.
No roguelike hero has suffered until they've been enslaved to the rhythm of the beat quite like in NecroDancer, where every thump could be your last. It's a dance off, Dungeons and Dragons style.
The premise is simple enough: A wannabe dungeon adventurer ignores sage advice that they aren't ready yet for such a perilous journey, doesn't listen, keeps digging, causes a sink hole to open up and then plummets to their death. Only the NecroDancer steals their heart, and now we've got to boogie battle to get it back. It's Shakespeare 101.
It's all 2D and presented in simplistic style, but it's the rhythmic beat that keeps you going. It's amazing what a little change to formula can do to reinvigorate a genre that was getting a little stale. Grabbing better loot, wealth and slaying monsters is now a rhythm-based strategy.
What's more is that you don't even need to use the game's own music, but can infuse this insanity with our own MP3 collection. Each beat we keep in step with keeps our multiplier going, but missing them out doesn't hurt us. Monsters have patterns to their moves and attacks, so it becomes a balancing act between keeping up with the beats, and striking at the right moment.
Diamonds let us purchase permanent upgrades, whereas everything else is lost after death. NecroDancer has four dungeon types but you'll be so entranced by the beat and slaying monsters you hardly notice. Other characters can be unlocked which changes the gameplay, like the Monk being more deadly but dies if he touches gold - which drops from monsters.
It's crazy! I can still hear the beat now. Sixteen soundtracks have varying beats-per-minute, so deeper levels can really be mad houses with monsters hopping all over the place. If the song runs out before you reach the levels end, then you proceed on and miss out on all that loot.
If you're one of those
Crypt of the NecroDancer is currently 25% off onfor £8.24.