Crypt of the NecroDancer

aka: Crypt of the NecroDancer: Nintendo Switch Edition, Crypt of the NecroDancer: Pocket Edition
Moby ID: 77143
Windows Specs
Buy on Windows
$14.99 new on Steam

Description official descriptions

Crypt of the NecroDancer is a roguelike dungeon crawler with a pixel art visual style and shown from an elevated, almost top-down view. While it has classic elements such as exploring, gathering loot and defeating enemies, the entire gameplay is based around the concept of a rhythm game. Using the game's soundtrack or custom music, all the actions become much more effective when they are matched to the music's beat. The basic controls consist of four keys or buttons for movement, but optionally even a dance pad is supported. These move the character around and attack when next to a creature. Enemies move and attack according to the beat as well and they each have unique patterns that need to be identified. Moving ahead of the beat is not possible and while the opposite (skipping a beat or not reacting) is allowed, it takes away a coin multiplier bonus that is important to collect the basic currency. That way the character always need to move or attack and in that way it resembles a very fast version of a turn-based game where turns are executed simultaneously for both the character and enemies. Often, the song also acts as a time limit and when the song is over the character is taken immediately to the next level, leaving the rewards of the current level behind. Movement is only horizontal and vertical, not diagonal.

Typical roguelike elements include permadeath, randomized environments, and weapons and items that are often different for each session. Next to the basic coins currency used in a single session to buy items at a shopkeeper, diamonds are a second currency that are gathered across sessions and can be spent at the lobby to access permanent perks. There are many different characters to unlock, each with their own abilities, different zones and multiple game modes. Typical weapons include a broadsword with a long reach, a throwable dagger, bombs, and a shovel to bust through walls quickly. After defeating a certain enemy, often a boss, the exit stairs are unlocked to move to a new level. Often there are optional challenges, for instance to find or buy a key to free someone from a cage, or rewards in exchange for more difficult levels. The game has many types of items and abilities for the main character. The character has a number of hearts, representing health.

The PC version has a level editor with integration through Steam Workshop to create and share new levels. The game has a daily challenge with an identical dungeon for all players and supports local cooperative games with a second player on the same screen. There is a story mode and a basic run of the game consists of four zones with four levels each. The story describes how Cadence, the initial character and the daughter of a famous treasure hunter, has gone missing after she ends up in the crypt of the NecroDancer. He steals her heart (which is used to represent the beat at the bottom of the screen) and she needs to defeat him and his minions, while keeping her heart pumping.

Spellings

  • γ‚―γƒͺγƒ—γƒˆγƒ»γ‚ͺブ・ネクロダンァー - Japanese spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Videos

See any errors or missing info for this game?

You can submit a correction, contribute trivia, add to a game group, add a related site or alternate title.

Credits (Windows version)

310 People (132 developers, 178 thanks) · View all

Design
Pixel Art and Animation
Composer
Code
Sound Design
High Res Art
Trailers and Video
Additional Game Design
Producer
Community Manager
Japanese Community Liaison
  • Xepheerr
Voiceover
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 88% (based on 18 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 12 ratings with 1 reviews)

There is nothing inherently "rhythmic" about it.

The Good
+ Crypt of the NecroDancer is notable for having the most comprehensive wiki (at Wikia.com) that I have ever seen for an indie game. The information there is so detailed and in depth, I think it's written by the developer over the course of several months.

  • It's the only notable game written in the Monkey X programming language. This has provoked some philosophical discussion inside my head, like "why would someone create a game engine, when apparently no one will use it". The name "Monkey X" is particularly funny, since there are indeed monkeys in this game.

  • Stylish, inventive use of the four buttons (A,B,X,Y). They are now directional buttons. Even when you're in the menu screen, the A (Cross on PS4) button moves the cursor down.

  • The designer tried to make the game design somewhat consistent with earlier prominent games in the genre -- the "Bomb" button for example, defaults to LB (L1 on PS4), exactly the same as The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. Another example is the monkeys -- they do not deal damage to the player, but rather make them unable to move for a short period of time, similar to the monkeys in Spelunky.

The themes of the first three zones are also copied from Spelunky -- Zone 1, 2 and 3 are the Mines, Jungle and Ice Caves respectively (with different names).

  • There are a large selection of different gameplay modes, including non-randomly generated puzzles that teach advanced mechanics. -- Whether these modes are actually fun though, is a different matter.

  • Every weapon and item serves multiple functions. For example a healing item not only heals you, but also makes you invincible during the beat the item is consumed. For this reason, high level players can take advantage of the mechanics and use the healing items while they would otherwise take damage. The strategic gameplay is rather deep in this regard.

  • The Electric Dagger! The best weapon (there are other great weapons but this is the best) in the game and a breeze to use every time I find it.

  • The daily challenge leaderboard provides the full replay (and displays the cause of death) next to each player so there's always something to watch and learn from (or laugh at), and cheating is pretty much impossible for this reason.

  • I have a friend who held the world records for a few speedrun categories in this game. Yeah this is some personal bragging rights right there.

    The Bad
    - The various gameplay modes are generally not fun. They are difficult challenge runs such as no damage runs, no gold runs etc.. I know people who enjoy these no-gold runs but I personally don't care for them.

  • The character inventory is limited. You can generally only carry one weapon, one spell, one ring etc. at a time. There are often times when you will want to carry multiple weapons, or multiple rings, to get the combined effects of them.

This is particularly problematic since the bosses can drop rewards after the fight, and since your inventory is limited, it's very common to not be able to collect the reward anyway, so what's even the point?

  • The item pool is rather small. After just a few hours you should be able to see (almost) every weapon and item in the game. There's pretty much nothing new to discover after awhile.

  • The pixel art feels unpolished and a lot of the terrains and monsters look alike -- it's hard to tell which monster is which quickly, and equally hard to tell which direction they are facing. This severely hurts the gameplay.

  • Finally, the biggest problem here is that, while the rhythm/music element is the main hook of the game, there isn't anything inherently "musical" or "rhythmic" about it. The action is standard hack and slash, standard movement across a grid-based board. The action and the music don't mix very well -- to the point that I feel they don't really have anything to do with each other.

The music itself is also not the best work from Danny Baranowsky. There is only one good song in the game, in Zone 4. The music in Super Meat Boy was much better and much more engrossing. Ironically, while Super Meat Boy was not a rhythm-based game, the action in that game felt more "rhythmic" than in NecroDancer, and fit the music better.

The Bottom Line
In truly great games, the different components work together to achieve a singular artistic vision. In Braid, you have the time travel gameplay mechanic, the puzzles, the narrative about dealing with regrets and mistakes in life, and all of these become a cohesive whole. In Crypt of the NecroDancer, you have the rhythm, the music, and you have the hack and slash action, the dungeon exploration, but sadly they feel like two separately created, unrelated things put together by brute force.

Windows · by Pagen HD (146) · 2018

Trivia

Awards

  • Steam Awards
    • 2017 β€” The 'Best Soundtrack' Award β€” Nominated

Analytics

MobyPro Early Access

Upgrade to MobyPro to view research rankings!

Related Games

The Crypt
Released 1982 on Apple II, Atari 8-bit
Crypt Worlds
Released 2013 on Windows, Macintosh, Linux
Crypt of the NecroDancer: Synchrony
Released 2022 on Macintosh, Linux, Windows
Crypt of the NecroDancer: Amplified
Released 2017 on Windows, Linux, Macintosh...
The Dark Eye: Crypt Raiders
Released 2004 on J2ME
Crypt of the NecroDancer (Collector's Edition)
Released 2021 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
A Wizard's Lizard
Released 2014 on Windows, Linux, Macintosh
Pinball FX: Crypt of the NecroDancer Pinball
Released 2023 on PlayStation 4, Windows, Nintendo Switch...

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 77143
  • [ Please login / register to view all identifiers ]

Contribute

Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

Nintendo Switch added by mars_rulez.

Additional contributors: MAT, Havoc Crow, Kam1Kaz3NL77.

Game added February 28, 2016. Last modified January 5, 2024.