Gotta say, I came in expecting basically just NecroDancer with a Zelda skin, which would have been good enough, but it really feels like they put in the work to make it feel like a Zelda game. It's still more or less NecroDancer, but it feels different too?
Lots of Zelda specific items to find, puzzles to solve, heart pieces to collect, etc. It's still a "roguelike" or probably more a "roguelite" but for better or for worse it's NOT randomly generated, so when you die you will be going through some of the same screens again. But there are also checkpoints every few screens or so, so when you die you can just pick whichever checkpoint you want to on the map. Not totally sure how I feel about this. I guess I'll have to see how the whole thing works out overall, though it does feel like I'm cruising through the map pretty quick. Sort of. Like, there doesn't seem to be any real barriers to just moving around? Will I need specific items to access specific parts? Maybe?!
It's a pretty big map though, so I still have a ways to go, regardless.
Apparently there is an option you can turn on which randomizes things more though? Hmm. If so that is an interesting decision, letting the player decide if they want randomization or not? But there are puzzles and such, would it randomize those too?
To be honest, I'm not even totally clear on what I'm supposed to be doing. Just explore? Am I supposed to fill out the map? Is there something specific I'm supposed to be looking for? MAYBE they told me in the dialog, but I sure don't remember any clear instructions on my goals.
The music! The music switches up a lot and it's like they picked all of the best Zelda songs to remix. Sooooooooooooooo many good songs already!
Anyway, it's a good game. If you liked NecroDancer, and you're obviously a Nintendo fan because you're here, this is an obvious one to get. If you didn't like NecroDancer but like Zelda, it could possibly win you over. If you never tried NecroDancer well, now is the time.
The music alone was making me really excited for this game, and the art style is gorgeous! Unfortunately... It turns out the particular screen shake effect they use on an almost constant basis makes me sick. I can't look at it more than twice without feeling dizzy. So sadly it appears this will be a game I literally can't play, even if I want to.
Screen shake adds so much to game feel, but so often developers seem to forget that for some it causes illness. One of those challenge to game dev I suppose!
I just checked, you can definitely disable screen shake, so don't let that hold you back from checking the game out!
Also thanks for mentioning this, I have it in my game (I think subtly, but subtle is relative) and never really thought about adding an option to disable it. Should probably add that. Accessibility is important and I should be looking more into it but there is always so much to dooooooooo.
I don't see any options about making gameplay more randomized though like I read is possible, maybe that is some mode you unlock?
Anyway I didn't play any more since last night but I was reading up on it and it seems like (duh?) it uses the same format of most Zelda games, where there is an overworld but also dungeons you need to find and defeat. And it doesn't seem to tell you where they are, so you have to explore the overworld to find them? Neat! I suspect the dungeons are a bit less free with the regular save points, maybe a bit tougher (though the overworld is by no means easy), have bosses, all of that.
Another thing I forgot to mention last night, it's not a huge deal but it's pretty neat, some screens have treasure chests that you need to do certain things to unlock... some are just beat every enemy on the screen, but others will be like... don't miss a beat or get hit while beating every enemy, etc. Adds neat little extra challenges interspersed with the main gameplay.
So yeah, definitely feels like they really tried to make it feel like a Zelda + NecroDancer game, not just a skin of NecroDancer.
I definitely need to try this. In fact, I think it is my sworn duty to buy every game by an indie developer that has been entrusted with a Nintendo franchise. I condone this activity. That's how we get our next F-Zero.
I've played through the game twice now: once with a friend in co-op, and again on my own. (Beware: co-op is kinda wonky if at least one of the players lacks rhythm!) It took us about 5 hours to finish the game in co-op, missing a handful of items, and my solo run was about 6 hours where I think I found everything except one bottle...
- It's more of a Zelda game than I expected. A full overworld! Puzzles with one or more clever solutions! Items with multiple uses! Towns! Minigames! And I think they did a great job capturing that LOZ charm in the characters, dialogue, and general presentation as well. And while you start the game as Cadence, you'll switch to either Link or Zelda after a few minutes and have to unlock the other two characters through the adventure, at which point you can switch among the three at save points. It's also way less punishing and more inviting than the first Necrodancer game.
- While the game is much more structured overall than Necrodancer (and most roguelikes in general), I think there's still some randomness in where certain items, caves, enemies, and upgrades show up. And the dungeons seem to be randomly generated each time as well, and they feel a lot like playing the original Crypt of the Necrodancer, which is neat. They do have a Zelda twist, where you sorta have a hub in the dungeon with little shortcuts for backtracking that you unlock as you go through it (not that there's much reason to ever go back to an area after you get through it) and with some clever item use you can even skip entire sections of the dungeons. While backtracking around the overworld can get a bit tedious (enemies respawn each time you complete a dungeon, and in more powerful forms), I do think the overworld/dungeon pace changing is pretty cool overall.
- Speaking of the original Necrodancer, a LOT of the enemies' patterns are pulled straight out of the original game, just reskinned as Zelda enemies. Skeletons are now bokoblins, armadillos are now lizalfos, the blobs are chuchus, bats are keese, et cetera. There are a lot of fun callbacks to Necrodancer as well. Obviously some of the music has familiar segments, but I especially liked near the end when you start seeing cardboard cutouts of zombies, skeletons, and other enemies from Necrodancer.
- The differences between the characters are few but cool enough to make them each fun to play around with. Each character has at least one weapon type that only they can use (Link's two-handed swords, Zelda's rapiers, and Cadence's great-shovels) and while short swords and daggers are functionally identical, only Link can use short swords and Zelda/Cadence use daggers. Likewise, Zelda can't use shields like the other two, but Nayru's Love is arguably a much better alternative. And each character has one exclusive special attack: Link's spin attack is powerful and easy to use, Zelda's Smash-esque Din's Fire is versatile and fun, and Cadence has some kind of shovel shockwave move that I haven't really used at all.
- If you give Tingle twenty Deku seeds, you'll unlock a hidden character: Yves the Deku Scrub. This is definitely the "ridiculously hard mode" character of the game, with only one health an an inability to equip new weapons (there were a few such characters in Necrodancer). They're not defenseless, though: Yves does have a standard attack akin to a dagger, can fire Deku nuts, and can hide underground.
- The music is, obviously, fantastic. I hope the soundtrack gets released on Spotify. The original Crypt's OST is up there, but this is Nintendo, so it seems unlikely...
Overall, I really like the game! I hope we get some added content to the game: the original Crypt got a lot of new characters and a new world added well after its original release, so I could see this one getting some DLC eventually. It's also very replayable, with a randomly generated Daily Challenge leaderboard like the original game, leaderboards for lowest-steps and traditional speedruns (someone finished the game in like 29 minutes already!), single-character modes, permadeath mode. I don't know if I'll dig into it quite that much, but it was fun for a few runs, and I'll definitely be back if there's new content down the line.
So I started a third playthrough (single character, Cadence) and I'm just noticing this time that the overworld regions are in completely different locations each time! On my first two runs, the Lost Woods were in the west, but this time they're in the northeast. Makes for some extra variation I hadn't realized was there before.
I'm also trying to avoid too many side distractions this time, and the game is definitely tougher when you're just beelining for the dungeons not scooping up items all the time. It definitely brings back some of the tension that every Necrodancer run had when your health is lower and you're only holding a few weapons. Still, with the plentiful checkpoints a Game Over is obviously not as devastating as it feels in a true roguelike.
Also, I want this entire soundtrack in Smash. It's so good.
I've been enjoying this! To me, it's a Zelda game that plays in an unintuitive way that ramps up the difficulty and forces you to learn a new system, just like when you played your first Zelda game. It's hard and it's great, the enemies are scary!
I had a chance to try out the original game yesterday, because a friend bought it on Switch while it was super cheap during E3. Interesting concept! The tutorial felt a little... brief, I think, and we mostly had no idea what we were doing. It kept saying "Do you want to spend your diamonds?" but we had no idea HOW to spend them, lol. And mostly we just died over and over and over. I think with more time maybe it would get figured out, but it seemed like we needed someone who actually knew how to play to walk us through how to play.
Played a bunch more of this last night, I'm getting to the point where I'm really starting to "get" the game! Most of the map is filled in, I have a bunch of chests to clean up, I know where the final dungeon is... I'm digging it!
Anyone else still playing this, or has Mario Maker 2 taken over? What are you guys' favorite items to use? I almost never use any of them lol, classic sword for me with an occasional boomerang throw for distance. This seems like it'd be a really rewarding game to master! Apparently there's a double-speed mode too!?
@Secret_Tunnel I played a bunch more a few days ago. Somehow I filled out like 2/3 of the map without finding a single dungeon and was getting confused but then I found a few dungeons after that so... I'm probably more than halfway through now?
I have this mace? weapon I use as my main because it hits pretty far from you at weird angles so it's fun to use. Other than that the only secondary stuff I use much are Bombchus when I see a big group a ways off from me or fire arrows because uh... they're fun?
@Secret_Tunnel I just beat this game last night. Had a lot of fun with it. I typically swapped between the Broad Sword and the Spear, though I would occasionally use the Flail because of its unique play style.
I was terrible about using the non-weapons during combat though. I barely ever used a bomb, bow, boomerang, etc. I never used the stat-boosting items. Throwing those into my rotation probably would have led to a lot of fun scenarios, but I didn't feel like complicating the combat system even more. I think the Fire and Ice Rods were the only items I used with any frequency in combat.
Not sure if I'll go back and try out any of the other modes. Maybe I would enjoy using the tools in Fixed Beat mode where I could take my time with them. But double-speed, perma-death, and impossible mode? I might go back and dabble in them, but since I got everything I could in the game, I'm not super motivated to do so.
I really liked the game's story too. It was a really interesting idea that hasn't shown up in a Zelda game before that unfortunately didn't get the depth it deserved.
Just beat the game! As far as story goes, yeah, @V_s is right, that kinda ended on a wet fart. Don't get me wrong, I didn't by any means play this game for the story, but it started doing some cool stuff towards the very end that it... just totally dropped! How did Octavo know Ganon would show up? What specifically was his plan? How does defeating Ganon in the future accomplish anything!? It seems like they were hinting at future Hyrule being the world that Crypt of the Necrodancer takes place in, but I don't have enough context from the original game to know if that was the case or not.
But whatever, the gameplay and music were both awesome and I'll totally play through this again. It looks like the world record is 13 minutes? How is that even possible!?
@Secret_Tunnel There's one cave that has a bunch of Deku Scrubs you have to defeat, and they each give you a seed, so you probably missed that. IIRC this cave is always in the Lost Woods, but don't quote me on that.
13 minutes is nuts! I wonder if that's in normal mode, or if the 2x speed or even beat-less modes are put on leaderboards for that. People speed through Necrodancer crazy fast, but that game doesn't have a randomly generated overworld where you need to find the dungeons before you can blast through them.
I don't know about that ending idea, I didn't catch any hints about that. But yeah, those other questions about the ending, those are legit and I don't know, haha.
And yeah, I tend to neglect the items as well, which was also true in Necrodancer. It's just tough to even think about what junk you've got in your inventory when you're concentrating on moving to the beat, let alone putting it to use.
@Secret_Tunnel The only potential answers I have to your questions are: We meet Ganondorf in the present, so maybe Octavo noticed something in the young man that told him he needed to keep an eye on his future to see how he turns out. And Octavo was surprised when that portal to the future appeared, so he likely didn't intend to wait that long to have his army attack Ganon, but yeah, we still don't have an explanation about how Octavo knew about Ganon or where that portal came from.
...Unless Ganon was manipulating Octavo to bring him the pieces of the Triforce. (This game also did a poor job of explaining why the Triforce was split, who had the pieces, and why they had them...) Maybe Ganon in the future gave Octavo in the past a vision of his rise to power to inspire Octavo to build an army, knowing that Octavo building an army would cause the land's Triforce holders to try to stop Octavo, and then when all three of them were together, Ganon would pull them to the future to steal their Triforce pieces from them.
But none of that was ever made explicit enough in the game. I read somewhere that the future section takes place 25 years after the present section, but I never ran into any dialogue that revealed that, so maybe I missed some important dialogue somewhere...