Name: Crimson Keep
Developer: Iab Atherton, and Ben Rog-Wilhelm
Publisher: Merge Games
Released: 29th november 2018
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PC
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose

I am a huge fan of roguelike games, and traversing various dungeons for loot, progression, and dying and overcoming obstacles through trial and error. However, with this title, I was at a shock on how much I disliked it after my playthrough.

I love games like, Rogue Legacy, Binding of Isaac, and much more which all are made with heart and soul and although sometimes, ( seems unfair) they test your abilities to your limits. With Crimson Keep however, it is another story.

Story

Thirty years ago a curse destroyed the village of larkstead. Banished to the dungeons below, the only hope the player has is to scavenge, explore and fight to push onwards to find the mysterious Crimson Keep.

That is pretty much the story….. it is very basic stuff, and that is not always a bad thing, but seeing how the other aspects of this game aren’t the greatest. I had just hoped the story had more meat on the bone, because right now it is quite lackluster.
3/10

skeletonbonfire

Graphics

Now when it comes to graphics, this game is not the worst to look at by far, it was made by two people, and when you take that into consideration it looks quite ok for the workload they had to go through I can assume. Of course some of the graphical stuff bugs me, and I kinda wish more details wereput into some of the artwork, there was a placeholder logo for a bread food item which was a poorly drawn bread, and when I used it, an apple was used as the item that was being consumed, it might be nitpicking but it annoyed me a lot.

Besides that, the graphics could use improvement, but it is definitely not something that needs to be done.
5/10

sewer

Gameplay

Oh boy, this is the part where I will probably have to be a bit rough. The gameplay is atrocious to say the least when I first got kicked into the game, I could choose between three classes. Berserker, Witch, and “The Drifter”  you might ask what is the third class? I will get into that shortly. My first choice was The Witch since I thought “Magic bro” and wanted to get a head start on things and having ranged abilities would surely help me on my adventure…. except it didn’t.. 

The only form of magic you do actually have as a witch, is a “bad” looking wand that is actuallly a twig imbued with magic, which can shoot “pellets” of magic at your enemies. Besides that I could not break any barrels I came across with the twigs magic during my playthrough, I had to switch to a sword to do so, which I found really annoying at times. I ended up at one enemy who resisted most of my magic attacks and I ended up dying cause it rushed and one shotted me, during the first part of the game, like what?I also had scrolls of magic, which I did not know until I accidentally used one, it doesn’t specify it in the inventory either. But the worst part about dying is how you think there is a progression system in the game, but then you start all over with nothing, I didn’t see the progression here.

The other class I chose was The Berserker, I mean, I expected some badass stuff with this, I had a “one hand ax” to start with and thought “Aww hell yea” then started going off the tutorial place, I picked up the first sword you get there and decide, “fuck yeah lets dual wield” except I couldn’t and all I could ask the gods was “Why?” I am still missing an answer.

The last class “The Drifter” is a class that serves no other purpose than a glorified “Hard mode” button, it starts with no weapon, low health, and as far as I could see it either had reduced experience gain, or none at all, since all the other classes leveled up after the first two mobs at the least. And considering the game is already broken beyond belief regarding hit detection and enemy AI just going in a straight line after you and not really doing any advanced stuff it gets really stale quickly.

If you like broken gameplay, this won’t bother you
3/10

CKswamp

Controls

The controls are something else.

It is your standard run of the mill first person adventure game, WASD to move, left and right click for attacking etc. it works pretty smooth with movement except the dodging mechanic which is on SHIFT and it is really not fluent at all, however, you need to stand still to be able to cast or even swing your sword. You die to unfair bullcrap all the time because the enemies fly at you, also there is no parry or block command, which also makes it really frustrating to play.

You have your standard 1-5 keys for items, food and consumables, so at least it has that going for it
4/10

main menu

Replay Value

It has a lot of replay value for the least if you like self-torture, and that’s fine if you do, however, the lack of “progression” as they promote on their site, really puts most people off as it did with me.However it is randomly generated for each run with the dungeon layouts, so that is pretty neat,to say the least. Not much to say here besides that
5/10

You can check out our review policy right here, if you wonder how we set our scores.

Overall
4.4/10
4.4/10
  • Story - 5/10
    5/10
  • Graphics - 5/10
    5/10
  • Gameplay - 3/10
    3/10
  • Controls - 4/10
    4/10
  • Replay Value - 5/10
    5/10

Verdict

The game has a lot of flaws, considering this was only made by two people, I am holding a bit back since I know it can be tough as an indie developer, this has a lot of potential but it’s holding itself back with some of its core design philosophies, and mechanics

However, you might like this more than I do if you enjoy the roguelike genre in general.

You can at least enjoy the scenery and the great ambient music and sounds, which adds a lot more than the gameplay to the immersion.

Pros

Can be replayed with the randomly generated dungeons

Graphics although not the greatest, pleasant to look at

Cons

Repetitive gameplay.

Difficulty is broken due to game mechanics not being polished

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