Crawl Review – Nintendo Switch

Crawl is an innovative and refreshing take on an indie dungeon crawler; your friends are your enemies. Up to a group of 4 players can play together locally (AI replaces the other 3 in single player) and as the human player moves through each room and each level (reminiscent of Diablo), every object/trap/monster summoning circle can be manipulated by your 3 ghostly friends to bring about your demise so they can take your place as the human. The aim being to become the first player to get to level 10 as human so they can tackle the final boss (which is also controlled by the other 3 players).

Mutually inclusive levelling mechanics along with upgradeable monsters and purchasable weapons/items (there is a safe-room like shop on every level to provide some much required reprieve) adds depth to the game so that it’s not simply about who can be human for as long as possible; it is imperative to be powerful both as ghost and human to give you the best shot at making it to the final boss first. There is a deeper level of strategy involved here that I feel would be advantageous to the players who can best exploit them.

From the moment you boot up the game, where it asks you to ‘insert coin’ rather than the ubiquitous ‘press any key’, to the hectic race to level 10 to the exhilarating final boss battle, Crawl is wonderfully retro and a joy to behold. The pixelated graphics brings back memories of classic beat’em ups whilst the cheesy announcer and pumping music reminds of the best of the 90s era arcade games. It is also punishingly difficult; you are supposed to die…a lot, as foreshadowed by the introduction, where you are pitted against powerful monsters with impossible odds of survival.

A typical session may only last 15 to 30 minutes, however with randomly generated dungeons and the frantic moment to moment gameplay, each round is refreshing and getting to the end is often greeted with a sense of achievement and relief at the same time; I beat the boss with what must have been the last sliver of health left on my first try.

I played the review copy of Crawl on the Nintendo Switch (scheduled for released tomorrow – 19th of December), and the game is perfectly suited to the system with the joy cons enabling easy local multiplayer and further solidifies Nintendo’s focus on quality indie games with the Switch system.

Crawl is not a game for everyone, however if you have a few mates around and enjoy a fun retro inspired local multiplayer game (at time of writing there wasn’t any online multiplayer features), then Crawl is an easy recommendation.

Release Date: December 19, 2017
Price: $19.99 AUD, $14.99 USD,  €14,99 EU, £12.99 GBP

*Crawl was supplied for review by Powerhoof


House plays pretty much anything and everything but has almost time for nothing. A devout beat’em up fan, House enjoys a round of captain commando every now and then and can never forget spending hours in dark arcades playing warriors of fate after school. Oh yeah, his favourite console of all time is the original Famicom!