What Is Cryptark?
Cryptark is a Sci-fi, Roguelike, side-scrolling, robot shooting, explosive action game with some minor rpg elements. Developed by Alientrap, Cryptark pulls its inspirations from old school arcade pilot games and will take you back to your childhood, assuming you are old enough to remember the "good ole days" of the arcade area. If not, well, here is a great game to help you understand the nostalgia that those of my generation or older tend to have.
During the game, you play as a pilot of a heavily armed space suit that use to jet around derelict space ships floating in space to disarm and otherwise remove the threat of the automated defense systems so that the rest of your team can enter the ship safely to dismantle and salvage what is left over. The goal is to make your way through several ships to gather intel on a much larger payday, also known as, you got it, Cryptark.
Your team is backed by a government contract, so lose to many ships (and consequently the pilot, which seems to get glossed over) and your budget goes into the red, you lose the game completely. Each ship has various objectives that will allow you get bonus payouts. The full game seems to be about 3 hours long, give or take based on your skill level. Mine? well, after 2 hours I was only capable of making it half way through and was not able to complete the main objective during that short time. However the game has amazing replayability if you enjoy this style of game play.
When it comes to the game play itself, it seems to play very smoothly. Similar to its brethren of the genre, you will have several maps to clear out before you can get to the Cryptark. Your mission on every single map is the same, so it is very easy to pick the game up and go with its relatively low learning curve and immersive tutorial. I was able to quickly figure out the game with in 10 minutes. Now, mastering the game on the other hand will be a completely different story.
Visually, the game is quite good. With very bright colors you really get a sense of the action as things explode around with a vibrancy that inspires awe.
Since each map is procedurally generated, it seems like the art pieces are created modularly, which for Cryptark, isn't a bad thing. It gives the game a more sci-fi feel. Makes the units in the game seem less organic and more robotic. In turn, this helps provide more immersion. After my initial playtest on the live stream, I found myself continuing to play even after I was done and at some point my fiancee told me she was leaving but had to tell me several times because I was too deep into the action of this game.
While overall the game is very good for being in an alpha stage with smooth controls and great visuals there are a few gripes that I have about the game. For me, the difficulty of the game ramped up to fast for my skill level. As mentioned before, it took me 2 hours to get half way through the game and still fail, forcing me to start over.
Artistically, while for the most part I like the visuals, including the minimalistic menus, the loading screen looks like it come straight out of the Matrix. If that is what they were going for the, well, cool beans, but otherwise I cant help but to think of Neo everytime I load up the game as if I am jacking into the Matrix itself. You can see an example of this in the title image at the top.
For those who may be new to the genre, this may deter them from continuing to play the game, leaving them feeling like they have wasted their money. However, for those who are veterans to the roguelike, this game may be exactly what they need, so don't let my noobishness <–(real word I swear).
For others, the story itself may seem extremely shallow. As far as I can tell there is very little back story. You are on a salvage team who is contracted by the government to salvage old broken ships. If you drop below budget you lose the contract. Granted I did not get to the end of the play through so I do not know what happens when you beat the game, but there was not much foreshadowing put into what I did play to lead me to believe that the story really gets to much in depth. Some of you may say, why does that matter? I believe that even in the roguelike genre, a deep, immersive story will really help create the next cult classic like The Binding of Isaac, rather than just simply another arcade shooter game.
My Final Thoughts!
So how do I rate Cryptark over all? With the amazing smoothness of the game play, combined with the immersive actions, minor puzzles and some persistent rpg elements, it's a game that can be played through and through many times over and never truly feel like you are playing the same game each time.
In the end, this is is probably the most unique, and most important, aspect of any Roguelike game and since it is only in alpha at the moment, I have high expectations of this game and can only see it becoming one of the more popular Roguelikes among the Sci-fi community.
Below you can watch the first part of my gameplay. Don't forget to subscribe to our channel to be informed when the second part will be available!
So until next time, you stay classy my frens!