GameSkinny

Early Access: Crawl - Friends Assemble!

Crawl is one of the best couch CO-OP games I have played for a long time. It instantly became a favourite among my group of friends.

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Crawl is a steam early access local co-op (rather VS) dungeon crawler, brought to you by Powerhoof. Right now the game supports up to four players, but it is local only. Plans are there for online multiplayer, but as it stands it is not in the main focus for the near-future updates. The devs say that it might happen, but maybe Crawl will stay couch co-op forever.

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

The dungeon is procedurally generated on the run. It is different every time and the generation works well; I haven't seen any unreachable parts, broken levels, or blocked off areas. Sometimes the traps are put into awkward places making them almost useless, but that is really the only complaint I can say about the dungeon generation.

Graphically the game is very pleasing to the eye. It always amazes me how can some games achieve such great looks with 'just' pixel graphics. Luckily every little piece of pixel has its place in the game world, to complete the picture of a cursed dungeon. 

What comes around ...

As mentioned before, you take turns as the hero or the dungeon master. The tricky part is, that you can only earn a lot of money and level up your monsters, if you are playing as the enemy. This ensures, that if anyone would be the hero for too long, they will be extremely underpowered. Soon they will be facing minibosses at every encounter.

This is a neat little twist, that provides a nicely balanced playing field.

Even though the game is focused on local multiplayer the option to add AI to the game is available. Comparing playing versus the bots and your friends is obviously a stupid idea, but the game is actually enjoyable even with bots. The only problem with the AI is they will always rush to the boss, making the endgame very short. 

When playing with friends the game could provide a very similar experience to Super Smash Bros. I know, that the two games are completely different, but the whole experience wasn't really. Smashing the controllers while trying to kill each other is always fun, but Crawl proved to be much more than what we expected.

Is this really Early Access?

It is worth to note how complete the game feels. I haven't found any really big bugs. There are no incomplete features. Everything that is currently in the game is working almost perfectly. For future updates, we can mostly expect more content. A little more from everything. However, as it stands there are already plenty of content in the game. It feels like this could be full release.

Verdict

Crawl is already in a pretty good shape. I could recommend it to anyone who is looking for a local co-op game to play with friends. I would even recommend it to people who loves dungeon crawlers and would just play versus the AI. However if you are looking to play this online, I would advise to wait. Right now online multiplayer as a feature is not guaranteed to happen. 

Crawl is now available on Steam Early Access and the Humble Store.

Originally Published Aug. 20th 2014

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