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Review: KryptCrawler (PC)By Chris125 At 09.02.2018 06:15

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Fundamentally, KryptCrawler sticks largely to the well established formula of the genre with the sense of movement and overall tone. Of course, this is a grid-based system of movement with rigid directional attacking. However, this is syncopated with a number of modern introductions. On the movement, firstly, this will generally split opinion. There is a lot of debate within the VR community around restricted movement and, of course, in this case there are many voices articulating the viewpoint that there could have easily been free-movement here.

This is debatable, and arguably the system as it is works well in conveying the tone of being lost and alone, and the anticipation for what is around the corner is better than the alternative. It is also a great throwback to many of the classics, such as Might and Magic and Ultima Underworld. Of course, the first-person perspective in any VR title is great at adding a whole layer of atmosphere and here it is no exception. The lighting stays very much in the palette of dark with lots of greys and browns. This enhances the impact of a lone torch leading the way in the distance; but means that getting lost in the mess of corridors that all look alike, tends of happen on a regular basis, albeit with a handy map to guide the way.

What ties everything together is the story. The introduction is striking as a creepy narrator guides the protagonist through a large door into the great unknown, all the while his voice echoing among the chamber. Working through the crypt and the puzzles and items gives insights into the madness and terror of the emperor Lodric who was banished there. It isn't the most engaging tale, nor is it anything particularly original, but it does the job in setting a context that enhances the overall feel of the environment. This certainly is not a vibrant world and it is hardly the setting for it, with an abundance of spiders being the main enemies and some skeletons and other undead foes to match. Even still, there is a case to say that environmentally KrpytCrawler tends to feel a bit 'samey' after a few of the five-six hours of gameplay. Even in a crypt there is still room for difference and the levels could have been broken up with more outside based areas.

What works very well in conjunction with the environment is the sound quality, which is built in with environmental-based sound. That is to say that sounds appear from the direction they should from within the headset. The impact this has when a floor creaks or a spider scuttles along is perfect in conveying the ideal mood. It is easy to feel physically trapped and alone with danger all around and this is a powerful feeling. With such danger, being able to utilise combat is a necessity. There is a light RPG element in that new weapons such as swords can be found and shields can be picked up alongside a bow to indulge in some archery. Combat is basic in the sense that it follows the direction the player is facing, but also uses the Oculus Touch controls to give it more impact. It is a pity that the use of archery is also not tied to the Touch controls as this seems a little bit of a missed opportunity.

What KryptCrawler definitely is, is challenging. Be prepared to die a lot, as although combat is simple in its approach, the execution requires a good deal of strategy and forward thinking. The starkness in the real-time combat, mixed with step-based movement can be a little jarring at first. This obviously rewards patience but can at times feel frustrating when death is so ample and the save points are not. The puzzle solving also matches this with some quite challenging ones, albeit generally based on environmental things such as buttons, movement blocks, and so forth. More variety in these would have been welcome as, by the end of the main story-based crypt, it begins to feel a tad repetitive.

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Final Score
[i]KrpytCrawler[/i] is a more than decent title with enough going for it to justify its existence, especially at the price available. There are a number of hours of fun to get here and after completing the story there is an endless dungeon mode. The visual presentation is good and takes advantage of the perspective to build atmosphere. It can feel frustrating at times, as well, with tough combat and puzzles, plus the feeling of being lost. Additionally, repetition is inevitable and it does not seem to be the kind of title that people will generally be continually returning to. Overall, however, it is definitely worth a buy for nothing else than enjoying an old school dungeon crawler within a unique style.

7

/10

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