Review by Kieran Sutton
Crimson keep is a action-packed, rogue-like, role playing, dungeon delving descent is brought to you by Ian and Ben (according to the steam page)! A small-time publication that’ll have you fighting fantasy beasties, scraping together whatever gear you can and eating mouldy bread from a barrel to replenish those haemorrhaging hit points.
Without giving too much away the keep has fallen into disrepute with some nefarious magic types and is pushed beneath the earth and cursed. You find yourself cast into the pits delay with only your wits, and maybe a sword to survive (if you’re lucky). There’s little exposition that I found before you’re left to your own loot hungry spelunking but that doesn’t mean there aren’t mysteries to uncover.
The eerie dungeon music sets the tone what at times can be a brutal rogue like torture chamber – with horrific monster growls and maniacal laughter to really creep you out, the clashing of weapons against skulking skeleton thrall and bursting of barrels however can become a bit much with little standing out to excite.
The UI also isn’t perfect, I’m not sure if this is by design but simply switching weapon feels almost farcical and is likely to get you killed. The creatures doing the killing are pretty fearsome; and some of the dungeon rooms are interesting, but often repeated too much in a small space to feel unique. When severely wounded almost the entire screen goes read just in case you were relying on your peripherals a little too much…
Before arriving in the pit that will more than likely become your grave you’ll need to choose a class! You have the choice of mighty fighty barbarian, fancy wand wielding mage or the masochistic “dark souls was too easy” class who literally can’t level up. You’ll then face a randomly generated maze of monsters, loot and lava that will try to destroy your body and soul. Slaying beasts earns XP and you’ll level up to unlock new abilities; as well as discover loot that will aid in your quest. The inventory is expansive over a lot of RPGs with plenty of different gear slots – many items increasing your base health and survivability. Don’t get to comfortable with your gear though: shields brake, wands have ammo, and you’ll be dead soon anyway.
The combat is fairly clunky and will have you dodging around demonic attacks left right and centre. Blocking seems almost pointless early on the trick seems to be learn if the creature does ranged or melee and count the attacks it’ll do before you can dash back and bash it’s skull but each new enemy has a high likelihood of surprising you. This would work out great if dying doesn’t lose every bit of progress and take you back to the main menu.
A fantasy rogue-like that is to Dark Souls what canned spam is to a prime steak. Plain tasting in comparison, little actual meat and just loads of a pinky-red hue that is ultimately unappetising. Some cool ideas but not well implemented: repetitive layouts, tired combat and constant deaths don’t make for a compelling game. Crimson: loads of it. Keep? I doubt it.
Overall score 3/10