Cryptmaster hopes you're ready to tackle your vocabulary
Genuinely, where do you even begin with a game like Cryptmaster? Long-time readers won't be surprised to hear that learning about Akupara Games' new take on a DRPG immediately piqued my interest in the lead-up to our visit to this year's Day of the Devs, but it feels like simply calling the game a Dungeon RPG is reductive; while the game borrows many elements from indie darlings such as Legend of Grimrock, even a few moments with Cryptmaster makes it clear that the game is shaping up to be something truly special - and I'm excited to see where its adventure will take me.
Moments within stepping into Cryptmaster's world, the game's main gimmick becomes obvious - as a reanimated group of once-dead adventurers, the memories of your adventures and the skills you used while conquering the challenges you faced have been forgotten; it's up to you, the player, to attempt to remind the party of their abilities by typing in words associated with them. In battles, you have to type out the commands you want your party to use - whether to Jab, or Zap, Yell, Soothe or more. At the end of each battle you can choose a letter to test if a party member's next skill contains it, and at any time outside of battle if you can manage to type out a skill one of your units is trying to remember, it will be added right to your list of skills.
Typing really is at the forefront of everything you'll be doing in Cryptmaster. Not only do you type to attack in battles, but interacting with items in the environment and bugs scattered across the Crypt's walls all play a part in how you progress; find a chest on the floor? Type out "Chest" to open it, and then have a guess at the gear inside - asking for hints on what it is if need be. See a gap? Type "Jump" to surmount it. "Attack" a sacred shrine of the Life God to save your game and replenish your health.
Visually, what we had the chance to play was visually striking, with the monochrome artstyle offering a pretty powerful atmosphere while exploring the Crypt itself; while we didn't reach any areas with color in it during our demo, the game's Steam page showcases some screenshots with parts of the Crypt that make use of colors outside of black and white. So, I do have to wonder if the game will get more and more colorful the closer the player is to escaping the Crypt? We'll have to wait and see.
Funnily enough, the demo that we had the chance to play during Day of the Devs is also available on Steam. So if the game has at all garnered your attention, you can download the demo for yourself and see what you think! I'm glad that Akupara has released the demo publicly; not every developer that showcased their games have released a public demo, and it's always nice to load up a game's Steam page and be greeted by one.
That being said - our demo session was rather short, and there's still a ton of questions about the game as a whole. Namely, I am concerned that the constant typing might get old the further into the game you get; there's dozens of different commands you'll be able to unlock, going by each party member's skill trees, so keeping track of them all might end up an insurmountable challenge by the end. As for what we played, I'm excited to see what else Cryptmaster has in store for us next year.