• Jesper Ingemansson

Review: Crypt of the Serpent King.

The people over at Rendercode Games released a neat little dungeon crawler game a while ago, and I managed to receive a review copy for it. I've played through it and I definitely have some things to talk about. Platform: Xbox One S.

Introduction Crypt of the Serpent King is a hack'n'slash dungeon crawler set in the medievel age, that also has roguelike element. The dungeons that you'll be exploring, are completely randomly generated, which means that every level will be different for everyone, basically. It uses a first-person perspective and if you're afraid of snakes, you shouldn't really play it, since you'll meet snakes and all kinds of different monsters/creatures in it.

The game starts off quickly with a simple menu that fits this kind of game (as in a game that doesn't really need a too advanced menu). First off, you'll have to choose what difficulty you want to play through the game with (easy, medium and hard), what weapon you want to use and what skills you want to improve. Later on, you'll be greeted with a loading screen (a very quick one, too) and after that, you're set to start killing and exploring.

Performance and visuals

Crypt of the Serpent King actually runs very well despite the game's price and budget. The only time I saw a dip in performance was in only one of the seven featured levels, where I suddenly stumbled upon this weird framedrop looking bug/glitch(?). It wasn't welcome, of course, but it didn't bother me at all due to its duration and small impact on the game experience. Visually, though, the game could've looked better but I honestly can not expect too much when a game only costs roughly the same as a cheeseburger from McDonald's.

So, in terms of the graphics, it's definitely entirely OK. The sound design, however, is a bit off. Not to the extent of bad audio design in general, just when there's this weird and very off-putting sudden (as well as extremely loud) audio cue accompanied by the game's theme (I guess?). It actually happens pretty often, too, so at least for me, it was a bit annoying. Maybe I was just having my audio a bit too high, though. The game seems to be running in a native resolution of 1080p, at a solid framerate of 60fps (at least it really should). Generally speaking: the game's performance is great, the audio design is good but they could've toned that weird sudden audio cue down a bit, and the graphics are OK. Gameplay

In Crypt of the Serpent King, all you do is basically exploring randomly generated dungeons to find a specific amount of hidden (well, not really) keys scattered throughout the level, all while trying to survive the level's harsh enemies and enviroments. After finding all the level's keys, you're tasked with finding the exit (which shows up as a cage/gate on the map), where a boss fight is waiting for you. In each level there is also chests scattered around that has a chance of containing either health or gold, each being vital to the game's core gameplay (health obviously gives you more health, which in turn increases your chance at surviving the level, and gold let's you buy new weapons). The enemies (each level features a different enemy) can actually be pretty hard but frankly, they're super predictable.

Nearly too predictable, to the point where it's actually close to being laughable. I struggled a bit at first but after a while I learned that each enemy has its own predictable move, that you pretty much just have to remember to master. It's that simple. The only slightly difficult level was the last one where I had to meet snakes, but that's only cause I tried to speedrun the level (which is definitely a thing since you can move around rather fast). There's different weapons to choose from, that you purchase with gold (sword, mace and such like), and each enemy gives you XP that you can use to upgrade your skills (agility, health, for example). You can upgrade a skill 10 times. One downside to the game is that it's VERY Short (you can complete it i less than an hour if you know exactly what to do), but again, you can't expect too much when a game is this cheap.

Though, it actually has a sense of replay value due to the three difficulties featured, so if you think your first playthrough was too short, you can play through it again but with tougher enemies (come on, it's worth it for the gamerscore!) 

All in all: Crypt of the Serpent King is a very affordable but greatly short hack'n'slash dungeon crawler experience that'll at least TRY to entertain you, as well as test your skills, to the max. The game might be very basic and simple, but I actually really enjoyed every second I spent playing it. If you're picky about a game's visuals, it might not suit you but don't forget that it's only $2, and with the replay value it has, you can test your might even more (at least for the sake of achievements).

Crypt of the Serpent King is available digitally on the Microsoft Store for Xbox One, and is priced at the affordable price of $2. (A review copy was provided by Rendercode Games for review purposes) This review is written by Jesper Ingemansson and is based on his honest opinion about the game.

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Website created by Jesper Ingemansson, founder of I Fuzion xPro I.

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