Story: The premise here is a simple one, the land of Cryptonia has numerous treasures that are under constant guard. While the treasures have been stolen in the past, it has been a while, so everyone is a little too relaxed. The giant golden cheese, carrot, and other bits of loot just sit in the open, while guards sleep or play with yo-yos and soon, the unthinkable happens. A massive hole opens in the floor and the treasures are gone, taken deep into the depths under the castle. This is where you come in, as a guard of the castle you must delve into the hole and retrieve the valuables. But the depths are filled with monsters, spirits, and other forms of evil, with each floor home to a powerful and dangerous leader. So in essence, you jump in a hole to fight bad guys, win loot, and be the hero!
Gameplay: I had a good idea of what to expect from Iron Crypticle, as I had played Iron Fisticle, another game from the same developer. This one follows the same basics as the previous one, but that’s not bad news at all. This is a twin stick shooter, which means you move with one thumbstick and aim/attack with the other. A time tested and gamer approved genre, twin stick shooters were an arcade staple and now we’ve seen indie devs produce some modern classics. Iron Crypticle is one of the most fun twin stick shooters I’ve played and that’s a real compliment, as it is one of my personal favorite type of games. The core to a good twin stick shooter is great controls and this game has responsive, tight controls that never disappoint. You’ll still die a lot, but you’ll never feel like the controls are to blame for your demise. Aiming is a breeze and even in rooms loaded with enemies, moving and taking them down is a smooth, precise experience that is super fun. The gameplay itself is brisk and addictive, whether you have just a one run session or marathon through the depths for hours. The map layouts are random, so you have to change up your routes and battle different room configurations each session, which adds so much replay value. This concept isn’t a new one of course, but this is a polished, fun take on that premise.
This can be a challenging game as well, as you battle through the depths and when you perish, that’s game over. You have to start fresh at the first floor, which might frustrate some, but is an accepted approach for this kind of game. You will feel the benefits of progress as well, as you might have to begin the journey anew each time, but your previous conquests make things a little different. As you progress, you unlock new items that then become available on each run, which can turn the tide in your favor and open up new strategies for success. For instance, you start with a simple ax to throw each time, but the more you play and deeper you go, you unlock new temporary weapons to use, from flamethrowers to ninja stars to arrows and beyond. This can be a huge difference maker, as more options can mean a lot in tough battles. The game also offers up power ups you can unlock, like speed increasing shoes or shoes that blaze a fire behind you, also powerful tools. Once you’ve gotten some experience, you can aim to collect runes, valuable gems, and even move to a harder difficulty. This includes a New Game+ mode for those brave souls who have mastered the depths. The game’s retro graphics are a lot of fun and so is the music, a fun throwback given modern twists. If you’re a fan of twin stick shooters, Iron Crypticle is a must own game, it is insanely fun and will always have you ready for one more run.