The reviews on Steam have been, and still are, at Overwhelmingly Positive, 98% positive out of almost 2,000 reviews. It seems like a stretch for a game currently in Early Access. I mean, when you load up the game it says there is placeholder music and art; for a game so reliant on rhythm you’d think that music would be the first thing they would have finalized. I started my first game and realized that you only use the directional keys—that’s it, no other keys are used in the game. This is going to get old fast.
All of my concerns about Crypt of the Necrodancer were almost immediately thrown onto the ground and danced upon. The game really is fantastic, from the opening cut-scene down through all of the floors of the dungeon. The use of nothing but the directional keys works really well for what the game does. Everything you do in the game is tied to the beat of the current song playing, so anything more than the directional keys would probably cause a lot more problems. It really does seem simple on the surface, but the more you play, the more complex it becomes. Not only do you have to move to the beat, every enemy in the dungeon does as well. All of the enemies have different patterns, so you have to sit back (dance back?) and observe the enemies. Alternatively, you can charge them head-on and go for the trial and error route.
Hands down, my favorite part about the game is the music. The music is very good and I often find myself playing the music in my head as I do other tasks. The rhythm gets in your head and you may find yourself typing to the beat as you are doing something completely unrelated. During certain parts of the songs the shopkeeper starts to sing along, too, which I find to be a nice touch. You can use custom music if you feel so inclined; however, once you get used to the beats of each zone it is pretty difficult to switch to a completely different song. I also recommend you use a song that you could normally dance to, I tried using other genres but it was hard to find the beat while playing.
The enemies in the game are varied, but not so much that you cannot learn what each of them does. Several of them are just palette-swapped versions of one another, but a lot of them do completely different things, so you still have to be careful even if you are familiar with all of the other versions . . . looking at you, Ice Dragon; I have died to that thing more than any other enemy in the game.
Crypt of the Necrodancer can be very unforgiving at times, but it is well worth the effort to learn the beats and figure out all of the patterns. I found the entire system to be very rewarding. Of course, all of the enemies drop gold, which is used to buy items from the singing Shopkeeper. You can also find chests along the way to get even more items! They add a lot of variety to the fights and grant various buffs. The weapons also add a lot more flexibility in fights. The dagger you start with only allows you to hit stuff in the squares immediately next to you. Beware the mimics!
Crypt of the Necrodancer is currently in Early Access, but it is a really well-polished Early Access. All of the levels are not yet in the game, but it does have three out of the four planned. I have been having a blast with it, and if you’re curious about it, I recommend you go ahead and pick it up. The developers have also said that if the game is popular enough they will continue adding beyond the fourth level, and it appears to be very popular. It is likely we will be seeing many updates to come for this fantastic game. Delivering beat-downs to the beat has never been so satisfying.