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Don't Crawl (Early Access)
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This is Don't Crawl, a punishingly difficult platformer that evokes the spirit of the classic 8-bit games of the 1980s. It's the kind of game where timing is everything and a single hit will send you right back to the beginning. This curious multiplayer game recently hit Steam Early Access and I know you have a lot of questions about it, so let's crib this.


So is this the sequel to Powerhoof's game Crawl? No, it's not even the same developer. This is a game so inspired by what Powerhoof was able to do that they came up with the name Don't Crawl. Backing up a bit, the name came out of Ludum Dare #33, where it was used in an ironic way. Apparently there came a point where the developers realized it was too late and the name stuck, so we're left with this curiously unrelated game with a very similar name.

But let's try to get beyond the terrible name and actually talk about Don't Crawl. This is a punishingly difficult platformer where our hero avoids deadly traps and collects valuable gems. If you can make it through the challenging obstacle course without being hit by spikes, lasers or roving enemies, you'll complete the stage and move on to an even harder set of traps. In other words, this is the type of game where you'll die dozens of times in an attempt to memorize the many complicated levels.

Is there a reason you're picking up gems? Actually, there is. Instead of losing everything when you die, our hero will keep his collection of gems. This he will use between rounds to buy single-use power-ups that will make traversing the deadly stages a little easier. The shopkeeper sells rocket shoes that will send our hero soaring, a top hat that gives us an extra hit point, a special dash move and more. But remember, these powers cost money and only last until you die, so be careful. The good news is that there are a lot of easy gems to collect, so you won't run into a situation where you run out of money and can't grind for more.

Isn't this supposed to be a multiplayer game? You bet it is, though I didn't have a lot of time to play around with that. Don't Crawl supports local split-screen play, as well as online fights. The idea is for one person to try to beat the level while the other players are laying down traps and taking control of the various monsters. This is a cool concept that I will definitely need to spend more time with. The same can be said about the level creator, which is a lot more robust than I expected. There's a lot of potential to create incredibly detailed stages and use them in multiplayer battles.

Conclusion: Don't Crawl is an insanely tough platformer for people who love an old school challenge. While I'm not a big fan of the single-player experience, I did find a lot of potential in the multiplayer modes. The game officially supports up to four players at once, though six can get in on the action if you fiddle around with some of the files. The $9 asking price is a little more than I was expecting, but I can see it being a good value if you get into the multiplayer battles and create a bunch of levels. This Steam Early Access release seems solid, but definitely know what you're getting yourself into before downloading.
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