Review: Iron Crypticle (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Iron Crypticle
Format: PSN (85.2 MB)
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Tikipod Ltd.
Developer: Confused Pelican / Tikipod Ltd.
Original MSRP: $9.99 (US), €8.99 (EU), £7.39 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 7
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Iron Crypticle is an arcade twin-stick dungeon shooter that, to be honest, did not look all that appealing when I glanced over the game description and watched a snippet of the trailer. The story is about the abduction of Cryptonia’s Princess and all of the King’s golden treasure by a mysterious force which is bizarrely shaped like giant food.

I’m not sure what the king is most upset about, but that’s not my problem. Up to four lazy knights can dive into the crypts and attempt to save the Princess and food-shaped gold. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it. After this review, I’m taking my family out to dinner.

Gameplay:
Iron Crypticle is like a perfectly formed lasagna that serves one to four people. My family sat around the tantalizing dish, able to tuck in at any time. For now, however, I will just talk about the times I enjoyed the sumptuous meal on my own.

It doesn’t look like much but once you break through that first layer you quickly realize you are in for a treat. I was moving the analog sticks around like a ravenous diner whisks their cutlery around the plate. Expertly devouring everything dropped by the fallen enemies like a scavenger bird at a hanging. Okay, that one was gross and put me off eating for a while.

The game looks and plays like an old-school, single screen, twin-stick shooter viewed from a top-down perspective. There are a lot of enemies littering the screen and most are mindless opponents that aimlessly move through the area while some follow any nearby attackers.

With a variety of weapons and abilities that are slowly unlocked with each playthrough I initially thought the game lacked some of the more interesting weapons but found that once they’re unlocked, they eventually appear upon my knight’s death, if I managed to get far enough in the game.

Food and weapons can appear randomly or be dropped by a fallen enemy. Food doesn’t restore the health of the knight, only hearts achieve that, but it does increase the score and experience. If grabbed in a quick succession the score multiplies and can even allow for an upgrade to appear.

If certain requirements are met bonus items appear at the end of a room, such as a smattering of fruits, vegetables, or shiny trinkets falling from the sky like a chef scattering some toppings on a pizza. I could go for a pizza right now.

A map for the floor might also appear which can be extremely beneficial. Planning the best route to take you through or around tricky areas is always a good idea.

Iron Crypticle evokes some fond memories of an old-school favorite of mine, Smash TV. It feels like an homage to the classic game and I cannot get enough of it. What makes this game even better is the random level layouts and bosses.

Oh, and how could I forget about the awesome little arcade game that tasks you with outrunning a gigantic crusher and collecting cake and coins along the way. With only one life and the exit a long way off, it can be tricky for some younger players but it’s always a good laugh.

For those of you who strive to attain the ultimate prize of a Platinum Trophy you will be happy to find one here, and like a person devouring a monumentally sized burger to get their picture and name on the wall of the establishment, it will take some doing to get it. But, rest assured, you’ll love every minute of it.

Visuals:
Iron Crypticle has a classic look with some fancy effects and it reminds me of Ghosts and Goblins, another classic game from my childhood, although I preferred Ghouls ‘n Ghosts. You might even see one or two characters make an appearance from another game from the developers at Tikipod.

Zombies and the like explode into several pieces leaving behind body parts and a nasty substance on the floor. It isn’t as gruesome as it sounds but you might want to check out a video or some screenshots if you are considering playing with young kids. If there is only one health slot remaining then that character will spurt out blood until they are either hurt again and die or find some health.

Some levels are quite dark and foggy making it difficult to find the enemies. Their eyes can give their location away if they are looking in the right direction or a character gets close enough as each one emits a small soft glow. Some rooms have torches or candles that help illuminate the dank surroundings but you might still run straight into a small wall.

Audio:
Screams of pain can be heard when some health is lost and a thumping heartbeat when it becomes too much. The sound effects and music are perfectly matched to convey the audio cues from my younger gaming years.

They’re great and the whole family copies the end of the track when it winds down, which usually signifies the undefeatable Golems are coming.

Online/Multiplayer:
The game features four-player local co-op fun with drop-in play. A word of warning as once a game has begun, any players joining use one of the credits so it’s a good idea to have everyone join at the title screen.

You do not share gold, experience, or health so every knight becomes a little sneaky and ruthless, all in good fun. It’s a good idea to let the player who desperately needs a bonus letter to have it as that benefits the entire team.

Although friendly fire is off I did accidentally destroy an explosive barrel when two team members were standing close enough to feel the full effects of the blast, killing them outright. Oh, how I laughed. This is where I have played the majority of the game and all four of us have had a great time playing it.

Conclusion:
Iron Crypticle is a dish best served repeatedly. It has become a family favorite, although having to share the limited continues with the kids means the wife and I struggle to get past the third floor.

We have become obsessed with the mini arcade game ‘Castle Crushers’ and always aim for that when we see it on the map. I would love to see an evolution of it in the sequel.

I adore this game and play it each and every day with and without the family. I urge anyone who even mildly likes this genre to grab it and tuck in, you will not regret it. Oh, and sorry for all the food analogies, I’ll try to not write on an empty stomach again, but Iron Crypticle is partially to blame.

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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