Indie developer Brace Yourself Games’ upcoming title Crypt of the NecroDancer is gaining a lot of attention from the community because of its charming combination of classic rougelike gameplay and catchy dance music, and eager gamers will get their first chance with it when it arrives on Steam’s Early Access on July 30 for $15.
Crypt of the NecroDancer casts players as the aptly named Cadence, who ventures out to find her missing father. Upon arriving at the crypt, whose monstrous denizens are cursed with an uncontrollable urge to dance to a 4/4 beat, she falls and bashes her head on a stone, and is brought back to life with the same rhythmic condition and must traverse the dungeons, killing everything in sight without going off-tempo.
CotN is essentially a top-down 2D dungeon crawler comprising four zones, each with a number of levels and bosses at the end. True to its name, gameplay and music are fused together in a unique way; players can only move from tile to tile and attack to the beat of whatever song is playing in the background, and damage and other penalties are incurred for making an action that doesn’t land on a rhythmic pulse.
Similarly, enemies only move and attack to the pace of the music. Players must take care not to get complacent, as some of them vary their tactics, such as moving or attacking every two beats instead of one.
The game’s catchy soundtrack was composed by Danny Baranowsky, although CotN will allow players to load in their own music. No word on how the game will deal with songs with odd time signatures.
Controls are quite simple, consisting only of four-way movement, with attacking being done by moving into an enemy at the right moment. As such, the game is playable on a Dance Dance Revolution pad, although a specialized pad can also be purchased.
CotN was conceived by Brace Yourself as a rougelike game that would be challenging and appealing to hardcore gamers, but fair and accessible to newcomers or casual players. Their press release on the game reads:
We wanted to create a game that is fair (a high win rate among elite players), yet without the onerous knowledge requirements. Crypt of the NecroDancer is our attempt at achieving this goal. It is turn based, but the turns are of an enforced length. Lack of time to think renders impossible the careful study and patience of the expert NetHack player. Instead, skill and experience in battle rule the day. No more random deaths — there is always a way out, for the skilled NecroDancer player!
Even in its early stages, the game has won plenty of praise. Destructoid awarded it its Editor’s Choice at PAX Prime 2013, the Brazil Independent game Festival of 2014 declared it the winner of ‘Best Audio,’ and multiple gaming showcases from IndieCade East to the Toronto Gamercamp Festival 2013 have featured it in their official selections.
The game will be for the PC, Mac and Linux.