Now Playing: Crawl

Well, this was disappointing. Oh, Crawl is fun enough to play and all, but there just isn’t much to do in terms of single player. I suppose I should have read more closely about it, but the game blinded me with its cool retro graphics and extremely well done presentation.

Crawl takes a very different approach to the rogue-lite formula by involving 2-4 players in a strange versus situation, where one player is the hero and the others play as ghosts that can float around activating traps and summoning/controlling monsters. If a ghost kills the hero, that ghost becomes the hero and the previous hero becomes a ghost. Also, the better a hero does, the more wrath points the ghost players get, which they can use to make their summoned monsters more powerful. Getting your humanity back with a full complement of players, whether real or computer-controlled, can be a bit chaotic and feel like random luck when you have 3 ghosts rushing the hero at once and whoever’s shot happens to hit the hero’s last hit point gets the victory.

The main goal of the hero is to reach at least level 10 so that he can enter the big boss portal on each level and try to kill the big boss, which will end the match. So whoever gets to that big boss and kills it first is the winner, but of course the ghosts can also help control parts of the big bosses, making things even tougher on the hero.

It’s a really interesting system that sounds like it has the potential for many hours of fun, but there are a few problems here. First, there is no online multiplayer, so you will have to play with real live people or bots. This isn’t a gamebreaker, as the bots actually work pretty well and the game is all perfectly playable against them.

No, the bigger issue is the severe lack of content here. As well-presented and well-made as just about every aspect of this game is, there isn’t actually much of it to play. The dungeons are randomly generated, but there isn’t a whole lot of room variety so things get repetitive looking rather quickly. There are also only 3 bosses. They’re great boss fights, but once you’ve beaten them all, there doesn’t seem to be much point in returning.

You can unlock some more monster, weapon, and item types, but nothing that really feels like it changes the game enough to bother grinding away at the same levels for over and over again. No, this is a game that was made with playing with a group of friends in mind, and I can tell that it would be quite fun that way, but that’s just not the kind of game I was looking for.

Again, that’s on me for not doing my research. For a couch deathmatch game it’s pretty great, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a game like that, but it’s just not for me and my hermit lifestyle. After 2 sessions of it, it’s already time to move on to something else.

6 comments on “Now Playing: Crawl

  1. Yeahhhhh. They gave me a Switch copy to check out and review since I covered their original PC early access launch and I just never got enough time in to cover it. As you mentioned, there isn’t much to do alone and there is no online component. I don’t have enough controllers or local friends to actually check it out so I’m at a stalemate. I even took it with me for family Christmas time and couldn’t find time for 3 other people to play with me. It’s a shame since the game has a great look, plays well, sounds good, but it’s WAY too situational to make that happen without online play.

  2. Red Metal says:

    The concept of this game kind of reminds me of that multiplayer Pac-Man game originally released on the GameCube – including the fact that the ghost player becomes the hero if they catch them. It’s interesting that this game would have a similar feel to it.

    Either way, I’ve found it annoying whenever a game has only online multiplayer or only local multiplayer; it seems to really violate common sense not to let players choose for themselves.

  3. No online means I would have to play this solo, so I will give it a miss. Shame because the concept is cool.

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