Simple but entertaining roguelike that may not be a GOTY but can take a few hours of your time if you are into this kind of games.
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Despite its issues I kept on plugging away at Crimson Keep, not just to review it, but because it feels like if I can just figure out how to work around its shortcomings there's a great dungeon crawl waiting to be found.
Crimson Keep does a terrible job of recapturing dungeon crawler magic. Instead of using randomization in effective ways, it just prolongs its runtime with padding, terrible visuals, and audio issues.
I generally try to give every game, the benefit of the doubt, firmly believing that not every game, is going to be for everyone, others may thrive on this sort of hardcore difficulty, I do not.
Crimson Keep is unplayable.
Crimson Keep is a decent enough title that you'll get some entertainment out of it, however, the story is barebones, the gameplay at its core is bland and basic, and progressing throughout feels like it's done at a crawl. On the positive side though, the design and overall look of the game are definitely noteworthy, being two aspects that help make this title more appealing from a visual perspective. Long story short, it's up to you in this case, I personally would save my money for something else.
I'm sure the developers of Crimson Keep had a clear vision of a fun dungeon crawler in mind but what they actually made is one of the worst games that I've played in a long time.
The focus on roguelike design, letting a relatively small amount of assets turn into a lot of game. The fact that there's no mid-game saves, because that sort of longer-term multiple-session play wasn't needed and would complicate the design. The little touches of things not quite refined, like how I can hear room tone in the relative handful of voice acting clips. Hell, the fact that the intro cut scene only plays the first time you play, with no way I found to start it up again. Or the hidden shield in the tutorial area, just tucked behind a rock without collision detection. If this is the work of newcomer devs, then it's a really interesting first piece. There's a lot of neat ideas here: I like the fact that a lot of the Berserker and Witch unlockables actually require some degree of success with the other class, thus forcing you to differentiate on playthroughs. It just...needs work, as a commercial product.
Crimson Keep is a game that just doesn’t have the right focus on any area it aims for. It’s filled with roguelike mechanics that don’t really fit the genre in a meaningful manner, first person combat that’s partially broken and just clunky, and RPG lite elements that come off amateur and unbalanced. For any of these targeted genres, there are just better games out there on the Switch for this $19.99 asking price.
All in all there may be an audience of some sort for Crimson Keep since there’s nothing quite like it on the system. However, a lack of competition doesn’t excuse the shortcomings and ho-hum gameplay it ultimately offers either. It’s a game you can play for a bit, and perhaps get some enjoyment out of if you’re determined, but it’s ultimately just thoroughly unsatisfying and not much fun in any meaningful way.