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Iron Crypticle Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Although it covers a lot of familiar ground, Iron Crypticle is a fun little shooter that is even better with friends. It's occasionally repetitive and the levels aren't varied enough, but this four-player shoot-em-up offers a staggering amount of loot to collect and hours of roguelike fun. Best of all, this is one of the few modern dual-stick shooters that truly understands what made those old arcade games so much fun. Total carnage, I love it! Rating: 71%
Iron Crypticle
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  • Review Score:

  • B
Some games sound great right from the jump. That's certainly the case with Iron Crypticle, the newest release from the makers of Aqua Kitty and Rock Boshers. It's a dual-stick shoot-em-up that pays homage to Smash TV, all while taking elements out of everything from Gauntlet to Ghosts 'n Goblins. The result is the kind of action-packed experience that would have made Iron Crypticle a major hit in the arcades back in the early '90s. But here's the real question: Is it good enough for 2017?

This is the story of what happens when the Kingsguard becomes lazy slackers. With nobody to fight, these brave warriors look the part, but are terribly out of practice and not very good their jobs. This might explain the theft of the royal treasure, which mysteriously disappeared right in front of their eyes. Now it's up to the castle's four knights to jump in the hole and fight through floor after floor of dual-stick action. It's a simple but effective setup that gets you right into the thick of things.


Simply put: Iron Crypticle is a roguelike that sends our heroes through a bunch of rooms with waves of enemies. In a lot of ways, the structure feels almost exactly like a medieval Smash TV. There's a map you can use to chart your course through the crypt and pick up treasure along the way. Fight through enough of these rooms and you'll eventually run into one of the many large bosses. If you can slay the monster, you'll fall down to the next floor and take on an even tougher set of rooms.

To even the odds, our heroes will gain experience points and level up from killing bad guys and grabbing loot. We'll also be able to pocket coins that you can use to buy items and upgrades. But be careful not to die, because this is a roguelike and running out of health means you'll have to start all the way back at the beginning with level 1 stats. The good news is that leveling up is quick, especially when you get used to the combo-heavy scoring system. The developers liken the scoring to games like Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Island, and I think that's an apt comparison. You can definitely see a lot of influence throughout the game.

While it's not an especially original concept, there are a lot of things Iron Crypticle gets right. The game is good about slowly dishing out new weapons and collectibles, to the point where I actually looked forward to jumping back in and seeing if I could complete the set. There's a staggering amount of stuff to find in the crypt, from treasure to food to power-ups. In fact, there's so much here, that I can imagine teams of people working together to located the hundreds of items.

That reminds me; multiplayer is another thing this game gets right. While it's limited to local play-only, I like that you can take up to four people into the crypt at any given time. This captures the spirit of the arcade experience a lot better than most recent dual-stick shooters, and you can really tell that the developers have genuine love for the coin-op games of that era. Best of all, the game is perfectly playable as without others around. I had no problem getting sucked in as a solo player, though it's best with friends.

Iron Crypticle (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

On the other hand, Iron Crypticle suffers from a lot of the same problems that plague a lot of dual-stick shooters. While the leveling up is great and the bosses are fun to fight, I wish the random locations were a little more diverse. The game will occasionally mix things up with a graveyard or stage with a fire pit, but there's a sameness to the rooms that made the floors start to run together after a while. I kept hoping for a little more variety, but it constantly felt like the game was limited by its very specific setting.

Even with new weapons, power-ups and collectibles showing up, there is a sense of repetition that creeps in after a while. I like that you can chart your course through the dungeons, but not enough is done with this idea. The same can be said about some of the role-playing elements. I wish you could do more to customize the characters, especially when it comes to the equipment. The leveling up is cool, but, once again, it doesn't go deep enough.

Although it covers a lot of familiar ground, Iron Crypticle is a fun little shooter that is even better with friends. It's occasionally repetitive and the levels aren't varied enough, but this four-player shoot-em-up offers a staggering amount of loot to collect and hours of roguelike fun. Best of all, this is one of the few modern dual-stick shooters that truly understands what made those old arcade games so much fun. Total carnage, I love it!
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