It’s been so long since I last played a turn-based roguelike that I kind of forgot they existed. I feel bad about that too, I’ve enjoyed nearly every single one of them I’ve played, so now I’ve got this weird parental guilt like I’ve forgotten my cat’s birthday or something.
Anyway, Crown Trick is a turn-based roguelike where you have to fight your way through the nightmare realm in order to kill the baddie. I’ve paraphrased here, which is a little unfair to the rather good writing, but also it’s a roguelike, and I didn’t even think they could have stories until recently. That one was hyperbole.
Both the writing and the story are good here. You first meet the Crown, who I assume is, at some point, going to trick you, sitting on a throne (of lies?). Before they plant themselves on your noggin, they wax lyrical about how foolish humans are and generally talk down to you. They’re a bit of a condescending tool, but also they’re magical, and I can’t say for certain I wouldn’t be condescending if I was magical. Anyway, this is when you get stuck into the tutorial, which does a very good job of explaining everything you’re going to need to memorise, as all good tutorials should do.
There are a lot of cool mechanics in Crown Trick, but my favourite might just be the Blink. Traditionally in a game like this, whenever you take an action so does everything else, hence, you know, turn-based. The Blink, however, doesn’t give a damn about tradition, and it lets you teleport around (a limited number of times per room) and doesn’t even count as an action, so you can mess around with the timing of things as a result.
The other cool mechanics in Crown Trick is the familiars. These beasts are special monsters that you have to fight against, and if you beat them, you can then add them to your arsenal of skills. Each one grants you two abilities, and you can have two on you at a time.
To be honest, I’ve found it hard to break away from the first one I found, which is a firebreathing dragon which also carries around an infinite supply of exploding barrels. I’m not saying I like fire, but I don’t not like fire.
and that’s not all…
You’ve then got a wealth of other mechanics to learn, relics to find, and weapons to favour, all of which makes up the gameplay of Crown Trick.
You’ll be unsurprised to learn, having waxed lyrical about everything so far, that I quite like Crown Trick. The visuals are stunning, the combat is good, and it’s a nice change of pace to play a roguelike where I don’t need to summon up the reaction speed of a person half my age to be good at it. I can do that, but it’s tiring and I’m old, so having time to chill out in-between movements it’s much appreciated.
I’m confident that if you like the challenge that roguelikes offer then you’ll find Crown Trick to tick all of your boxes. It’s fun, beautiful, and challenging enough to keep you trying harder, but not so much that you want to delete your PC. It’s going to be a game I keep going back to, and on that note, I’m going to go and play it some more.
[Reviewed on PC]
Jason is the Editor of The Indie Game Website. He’s a lover of roguelikes, soulslikes, and other kinds of likes. He basically spends a lot of time getting beaten up in games and seems to enjoy it.