REVIEW: Killer Crypt

Killer Crypt ($1.00) is an ‘old school platformer’. For the uninitiated, that basically means a few reusable mechanics (mostly jumping), a colorful palette of enemies and environments, and frequent, knuckle-gnawing moments of difficulty. To some, that synopsis evokes a warm, fuzzy childhood full of generic platformers. To the rest, it’s a sentiment from a bygone era that’s really better if left extinct.

Our hooded hero is off to slay a vampire, and that’s all the story you’re going to get. Tracing its lineage to classics like Mario and Castlevania, the game borrows some of the best bits from each. Most of the enemies can be head-stomped, and coin collection pays off two-fold here, both as a toll to unlock passageways and earn additional lives (every 100 coins, natch). Temporary items found within the levels, like an axe or daggers, gives you a ranged attack that’s invaluable in taking down the extremely resilient (read: pain in the ass) bosses.

‘Old school’ rears its head in the form of limited health (three hits and you’re done) and lives, with a host of navigational tricks up its sleeve to derail you. Disappearing, reappearing, and invisible platforms aplenty, to go along with an equal amount of timed switches and jumps. It’s a setup that feels familiar thanks to its admitted heritage, that wants to reward you for exploration (hidden relics are required to get the true ending) and skillful maneuvering.

Killer Crypt - Screen

Hey, buddy, what’s with givin’ me the bug eye?

The retro difficulty, on the other hand, is something you either learn to appreciate, or will end up slowly driving you mad. At first, the challenge is used to make you aware of varying enemy types and level design; what enemies can be ‘bopped’, say, or how to cross a pit of spikes without taking damage. It has the best intentions, namely to make you a better player while instilling a sense of accomplishment, at the cost of your stockpile of player lives and patience. Even with the decent level checkpoint system, a lot of people may find themselves replaying the same stretch of stage over and over. Particularly near the end of the game, it can become a perfect storm of frustration.

That focus on timing / placement, and the repeated deaths involved, will ultimately determine your take on Killer Crypt. It controls well enough, and follows the platformer recipe to the letter. Much like The Last Fortune before it, there’s no shortage of challenge. If you favor the road that’s safer traveled, though, it’s best not to disturb this crypt.

10 thoughts on “REVIEW: Killer Crypt”

  1. As the developer, I find the review to be spot-on for the most part. I considered toning down the difficulty, but ultimately I wanted the player continually challenged and on their toes, so that it feels all the more rewarding when they progress (perhaps I was playing too much Dark Souls at the time 🙂 ). At the same time, I wanted to make sure the challenge felt fair, not cheap. Though I’m sure a few parts could be improved in this aspect.
    Anyways, for those finding it to be too tough, there may or may not be cheats at gamefaqs. 😉

    1. Thanks, Tom, for taking the criticism so well. I can understand where you’re coming from with the difficulty, and there’s certainly others that will appreciate the challenge. Too much Dark Souls could be to blame. 🙂 That game is responsible for the resurgence in bone-crushing difficulty, no doubt.

  2. Well, this year I have experience many losses… The end of Spartacus, Dexter, Breaking Bad and now XBLI. The game that have been released so far does not make me even to download a demo. Theres still some amazing games coming, but, this last weeks ugh… although this seems like an ok game. But as science have teach us, boobs give us milk only for a period of time, and is sad to say, but XBLIG tits’ are running out of calcium. I just hope those developers dont lose motivitation, I want to play Ronin and Verge on my Xbox.

    Btw how is the poll doing? I voted for OFDP (my hightest was 4129 or something on blind, I dont think I can do better), I not play if as much as when it came out but I do when Im downloading something, and also I try the survival like once a week. Amazing game, one that shall not be forgotten.

    1. ‘XBLIG’s tits are running out of calcium’ — THAT will be THE title of my farewell article when it happens! Thank you for that. 🙂

      The poll is doing well, given that I never officially acknowledged it or promoted it. I’m keep the results secret, though, as I plan to do a end-of-year article to name the ‘theXBLIG of The Year’, as voted on by the community. I will say, though, that OFDP is currently running second.

      NOTE TO ALL: If anyone reading this hasn’t voted yet, please do so on the right sidebar here on the site.

  3. This was already on my short list to buy and now it’s moved up to the top of it! I enjoy this type of thing and I’m not sadistic at all just like you said it has the feel of what I grew up on.

    1. It’s the 6th (last) stage that even I’ll admit is a little brutal, mostly due to a couple of tough jumps over the pit.
      (I tried to give the player a little reprieve beforehand, with stage 5’s focus on puzzles)

    2. Yikes, I didn’t delve into the last stage, so hearing that, I’m kinda glad I didn’t. I can see both sides of the argument as far as the difficulty goes, I’m just not so sure how many people have that kind of patience these days. I did see a few YouTube ‘Let’s Play…’s for the game, though, and it seemed like they had a harder time with it than I did. Tough to balance a game these days, I guess.

    3. I checked out some of those player-submitted youtube videos, and they were a real eye-opener. It made me cringe to see them struggle in areas that seemed simple and obvious to me (like being able to jump on spiders to easily kill/get pass them). And you’re right, most people won’t have the patience, not for an XBLIG game.
      Releasing this was never about selling a lot of copies, but I was expecting those who did try it to play it in the way I intended. I got some feedback during the XBLIG peer review process, and made a few adjustments, but clearly not enough! At the very least, an easy mode should’ve been added. Live and learn I suppose…

    4. I know it’s not always possible with indie games / studios, as you guys are typically one or two people working on the game in your spare time, but I really can’t stress enough how important playtesting is. Put anyone and everyone in front of your game, and just sit back and see how they approach it and play. That alone is invaluable for finding out what works and what doesn’t.

      Everything’s a learning experience, though, like you said, and all feedback is good ammo to put towards your next project. 🙂

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