Dungeon crawler games are no new thing in gaming. VR dungeon crawlers however don’t exist that long. CryptCrawler is a dungeon crawler in VR, so you jump right into these dark, cold corridors, peeking around the corner and get really close with your enemies. But VR-technology is on the market for some time now, so the breathtaking ‘WOAH’-moments are coming to an end. So a simple teck-demo isn’t enough anymore. Is CryptCrawler also a good game?
The story is rather short and actually not really explained at first. You enter a dungeon where an old emperor lays who has been cursed by the gods for being bad and you the fearless adventurer could free him. That sounds 0815 and I think it is 0815. The main focus is on the gameplay, you just needed a reason to enter the dungeon. There are scrolls and stone panels with text to get a bit more details, but don’t expect the most complex storyline ever here.
To be fair, the few scrolls and panels give a away at least a bit of story and sometimes there are even voiced lines, so the story is thin but at least most of the time present.
KryptCrawler because of the VR thing you move differently than usual. Instead of just roaming freely through the dungeon with control keys, the entire level is seperated into tiles and you move one tile by selecting with your device, in my case the Samsung GearVR controller. For a short overview, that thing is pretty much like an oldschool Wii-Controller, but more acurate. You control everything with this device, the headset of course is just to look around.
The controller has enough keys for selecting stuff, opening your inventory and fighting. Well, to fight you don’t need a button, because you swing your ancient sword with motion control. But don’t expect to do your own masterly sword combos, just swinging the controller into any direction will trigger the animation to attack. It doesn’t even matter from which angle you swing, just shake it around. Problem is, if you shake to fast (because you panic for example) the game won’t register your swings good enough and your character will do nothing. This happens of course mostly when you are in stressing situations, where it’s even more frustating that you die because of the controls. That brings me to another control issue in mostly the same situations. By clicking a button you move one tile forward, to change directions you have to swipe right/left on your controller (small touch panel on it) to look that way and then move forward again. So it takes almost as long to change your direction or dodge something as it takes to read this sentence. However there is a faster way by looking left and right and point with your controller at the tile to move, but you have to really turn your upper body so that the game registers to don’t look at the front tile. I was playing this game while sitting and there this hardly worked. Of course, with an Oculus this might have been easier and while standing it is better as well. Again, moving like a chess figure has it’s advantages in a VR game, but also lacks fast movement.
The game reminds of those oldschool dungeon crawler games and similar genres. You solve small riddles, avoid traps, search for keys and buttons to open doors and fight on of the most typical dungeon creatures, spiders and skeletons and more of that. But even though you have seen pretty much everything before somewhere, all those well-known dungeon ideas are put together well and everything works and is fun. I mean, there is a reason why these kind of games still exist. Plus, for the first time I really was in the dungeon the skeletons where right in front of me. Just because of the VR it is a reason to try this game. Another reason is it’s difficulty. Sometimes it challenges you, but overall the fights and riddles don’t take that long and even younger players should be able to crawl trough the krypt.
The graphics are comic-like and rather simple. Good enough to not destroy the immersion but I’ve seen better, including mobile. I wouldn’t really complain though, it was enough for me. I only had blurring effects when it got really dark, that kind of blurring that shouldn’t be there. Here, I have no idea if my device couldn’t handle the darkness of if that is an issue of the game. I got used to it, but it always looked like my goggles steam up or I had sneezed against my phone. However that was the only graphics issue I had.
Another aspect I want to mention especially because not eveyone is familiar with VR that good, I couldn’t play as long as I would normally play a game, because after a while you really feel the gear on your head plus your eyes need to rest. In this case I would say the levels where a bit too long to play through everyone in one sitting getting tired of playing (because of the technology, not because of the game!).
KryptCrawler doesn’t bring anything really new to the genre and as I said, the times where a game is just amazing because of VR are over. Nevertheless, for a mobile title (even though the main game was developed for the Oculus Rift) it’s fun to play and actually quite long. And you don’t have much games on the GearVR right now, so if you are looking for something to really test your GearVR I can suggest this game to you.