Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
I almost didn’t play Crypt of the Necrodancer [official site]. A roguelite dungeoncrawler with a rhythm action gimmick? Lord have mercy, I thought to myself, what will they think of next. That the game’s music and rhythmic actions are a brilliantly realised and fundamental central mechanic rather than a gimmick is such a delightful surprise.
Crypt of the Necrodancer is a turn-based game about timing and that in itself is such a wonderfully subversive idea that the game would be worth picking up even if it didn’t have such a brilliant selection of music as backdrop to your bopping. The first time I saw a singing shopkeeper, belting out a perfect vocal line to go with the dungeon’s score, I gathered as many people as I could to make them watch and listen to my next attempt. To hell with yer exploding White Houses and deaths in the party, that singing shopkeeper was one of my favourite gaming moments.
Even though it makes me chuckle, I still find the title annoying. It suggests whimsy. The Crypt does contain whimsy, sure, but as Quinns recognised in his Cog Watch video, this is a thoughtful and intelligent take on turn-based tactics. It introduces urgency, along with some funky beats.