Multiplayer Roguelikelike Crawl Unleashes Co-op Hydra

These wounds!

It’s a while since we covered the multiplayer roguelikelike Crawl but we’re no less enticed by the concept today. It’s still in Early Access but released its v0.3 update on Thursday.

In case, like me, your brain entered a dungeon last year and never came back, here’s a refresher: in Crawl you and one to three friends take turns controlling A Hero and do exploring, fighting, looting and levelling. You know, Hero Stuff. Meanwhile everyone who isn’t controlling A Hero is setting traps and using various monsters to try and bring the quest to a premature and preferably messy end. And in the game.

So what’s contained within this mystical update? Only a friggin’ hydra, that’s what. The hero needs to lop off its three heads whilst – oh, this is going to be hilarious – the other players control a head each, collaborating on walking the damned beast around. It sounds like Twitch Plays Pokemon in microcosm.

There are also five new monsters, which run from the dull-sounding spear-wielding servant and possessed priestess through to the rather more intriguing gluttonous tentacled abomination and putrid mushroom. Don’t go near that omelette, guys. It’s full of putrid mushrooms and the gluttonous tentacled abomination has fixed about eighteen greedy eyes on it.

The update also includes four new deities to worship and some new interactive scenery to replace all that old interactive scenery you’ve got lying around. If you’ve already been playing the game, you’ll no doubt find the full update notes more useful than my old non-interactive jokes.

Now all I need are three friends. Or for the developers to get round to implementing some netcode. Someone should set up a petition on Change.org or something.

21 Comments

  1. The First Door says:

    I was trying to remember what this game was called a couple of weeks ago! Really looking forward to picking it up for some local player fun.

    Anyone around these parts played it yet? How is it?

    • symmetrian says:

      I have played it and I love it. Certainly best with 4 players, but it’s even playable alone if you don’t mind silly AI and less shouting.

      Seeing it develop is making me happy. It was a damn good game with one boss. Having two, so it’s a little more random, is sweet.

      After Samurai Gun, I think this is my favorite local multiplayer game.

      • The First Door says:

        Thanks for the feedback! I usually play in a group of three, so hopefully it’ll work well with that number too!

        I’ve not got Samurai Gunn either, yet. Must admit we tend to play a huge amount of Towerfall and Gang Beasts. With a smattering of Vertiginous Golf too.

        • Gruzbad says:

          If you like towerfall, you will like samurai gunn. Not as much content, but in my opinion, samurai gunn is the better game.

          I have played quite a bit of crawl as well, and i agree that it is awesome.

      • Agnosticus says:

        Have you tried towerfall already? It is quite similar to samurai gunn, but it has tons of content, many options and a good 2p-coop mode! :D

        • symmetrian says:

          Yes, I have! I really like Towerfall. It’s charming and fast and it makes me giggle a lot (I especially love the dodge/catch mechanic).

          I mentioned Samurai Gun because it’s the one I prefer of the two, but only because I like its simplicity. It has an elegance to it that neither Towerfall (on the polished end) and Nidhogg (of the crazy flashy-bizzaro end) lack.

    • Agnosticus says:

      It is already one of the best couch (semi-)coop games you can get imo, even though it’s in early access. The game offers a whole new experience: in-game friends turn to enemies and the other way round.
      Also it never felt like a beta, it seemed very well thought-out from the get-go and now they are adding new content and balance it a bit more, a flagship early access game if you ask me.

      At our first session we’ve played the game 6 hours straight without noticing the time going by. It is definitely already one of the best invested 10€ ever.

      But before you buy it, you have got to have at least 2 friends who are willing to play it with you (offline ofc). And I’m saying this, because the graphics really put off some people and the start of the game can be a little hard, because eventhough the game uses only to buttons aside from the stick, it can really get confusing. So I’d suggest you’d play it with “gamers”. But if our friends are hooked they are hooked for good and will be as excited about the game as I am.
      Aside from that It’s the most fun I’ve had with a game in a long time. I’ve played it 13h by now and it would have been much longer if I had more people to play it with. Go try it out! :)

    • BobMoron says:

      It’s awesome, but it takes a ‘gamey’ crowd to be played at its full potential. When we tried it for the first time, those among us who were not particularly used to video games found the gameplay too cryptic (hah!). It’s obviously not as accessible as, say, Hidden in Plain Sight. Great, great fun with the right crowd, though

      Sometimes it feels a little underwhelming (say when the hero enters a room with nothing but traps to be possessed instead of pentagrams) but as a whole, it’s absolutely fantastic.

      Also, these guys know how to make spooky music and gorgeous pixel art.

  2. JS says:

    Roguelike, I keep hearing that, but I have no idea what it means. I assume that there was once a game called “rogue”, that was somehow so influential as to have created a whole new genre – “roguelike”?

    • lowprices says:

      Yep. In the same way FPS’s were called Doom clones for a while. Rogue was a top-down, turn based dungeon crawling rpg with randomly generated layouts, permadeath and ascii art. Some very similar games have been made, but lots of games of other genres have been influenced by it. These days games with permadeath and randomly generated levels end up with the roguelike tag.

    • The First Door says:

      Yep, there was an old dungeon crawler called Rogue which led to the term:

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      Roguelike tends to mean procedural generated dungeons, turn-based, and permadeath as far as I can remember. It’s similar to how you can have a Metroidvania game too based on the gameplay mechanics of the early Metroid and Castlevania games.

    • JS says:

      Ok, thanks for the reply guys! I’m actually old enough to have been around back then, but I must have totally missed this game. I’ve never been much interrested in the RPG/fantasy genre, I guess that’s why. The only similar game I remember is something I think was called Dungeon Master, that I played mostly because one of my friends loved it and wanted us to play it.

    • wu wei says:

      I’m always astounded when people ask questions in forums that are a simple Google search away.

      • klops says:

        I’m always astounded when people who prefer Google over communication still bother to communicate with others just to say that they like Google more.

    • Gruzbad says:

      To be honest, Crawl really isnt very roguelike. I think it is really a stretch to call it such.

  3. LionsPhil says:

    >Off-grid and rotated pixel art

    Hideous. Do it right, or don’t do it at all.

  4. Siimon says:

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  5. asthasr says:

    It still annoys me that they used Crawl, since to me the roguelike called “Crawl” is Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup (which is far better).

  6. tonicer says:

    Woah, when they add online multiplayer i know some people who would buy it immediately.