Designed to put your strategic skills to the test, Crown Trick is a roguelike that challenges you to think creatively about how you’ll tackle each randomly generated labyrinth.
You play as Elle, who mysteriously wakes up in the Realm of Nightmares. An omniscient crown informs you that you have been chosen to save the world and that the future of humanity rests on your shoulders. You must venture into the chaos of the dream world dungeon, battle with monsters and restore order.
Within the Realm of Nightmares, time works differently than it does in reality. It doesn’t flow in a straight line, but rather moves only when you do. This offers a clever explanation for the turn-based combat system in such a chaotic existential plane, tying the mechanics of the gameplay into the lore.
The roguelike structure is similarly explained by the dream world’s unique physics. To access it, you must fall asleep and you wake up each time you are defeated. The attention paid to the game’s internal logic is a really nice touch.
The maze is different with each run, with the layout changing at random with every fresh attempt. The weapons, skills and power ups you acquire along the way will also change, so you have to be creative in your approach. The boss battles for each floor stay the same, but the equipment you’ll have by the time you reach them won’t be. This allows you to work out a strategy through trial and error, but you’ll still have to think on your feet.
The design of Crown Trick is lovely. It has a cutesy art style, with bold colours and silly characters, combined with an amazing attention to detail that draws you into the mythical world. This is complimented by a brilliantly spooky soundtrack and very visceral sound effects that make the grim triumph of battle feel all the more satisfying. The items scattered throughout the dungeons are creative and fun, bequeathing a quirky sense of humour on classic fantasy weapon classes.
It’s very easy to pick up the controls. Your equipped items and spells are clearly indicated in one corner, with your health and power in the other. All the information you need is presented quickly and efficiently so you can get on with wrestling with the maze. There are some really nice details such as the little pop ups that appear whenever you unlock a new achievement that generate a sense of progress even when you’re replaying the same stages of the game. It’s easy to see everything you’ve unlocked and the blank spaces you need to fill to complete the inventory as you explore further.
Crown Trick is a great fantasy roguelike. It’s very cleverly written with an impressively consistent internal structure that makes it easy to sit back and appreciate the chaotic silliness every time.