Wednesday, 19 November 2014

First Impressions: Courier of the Crypts

Courier of the Crypts is currently indiego-go-ing and unlike a vast majority of crowd-funding campaigns out there, it has a playable demo. Here's a few of my impressions from my short time trapped within the crypts.

It's a 2D dungeon-puzzler, which for me invoked memories of my time playing HammerWatch, however the simple mechanic of looking after a magical torch makes the experience less of a mindless run, shoot and loot. The lingering threat of death should the fuel for your torch run out, keeps you moving with haste, albeit cautiously as scary spiders hide in the shadows. You can extinguish your torch at will to conserve fuel, but the spiders will come for you. You won't be able to hack and slash your way through this dungeon, as being a courier means that you haven't exactly been slaying monsters all your life in preparation. You can throw rocks and fire-bombs as you collect them, but for the most part it's best to avoid enemies and conserve ammo.

The well presented lighting effects play an important accompanying element to the main gameplay mechanic, and the level in the demo seems carefully designed rather than procedural. Each tile placement seems precise and deliberate, a feature that some games with generated dungeons lack. Care has gone to add levels of detail that frankly the developer could have gotten away without doing. In the opening area, the crumbling ceiling and dust effects combined with the simple, atmospheric soundtrack brings the eerie crypts to life, and the animated gravedigger, shovelling away in a brief cutscene, makes you appreciate the world a little bit more.

There is a brief example of a puzzle-based boss-fight, which requires timing your movement to avoid fireballs, spike traps plus avoiding a spider. Despite the simplicity of this, I can foresee bosses becoming progressively more interesting, requiring brain-power rather than spamming the attack button.

So would I recommend CotC based on the demo? I would because I want to see what the rest of these 'hand-crafted' levels can offer. It's time to take a break from running down algorithmically generated corridors, and do some thoughtful, well paced puzzle solving. If you want to find out more check out the indiegogo campaign. -oP

Courier of the Crypts Website
Indiegogo Campaign


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