Crown Trick Review: A Cool Little Turn-Based Roguelite

by David Sanchez November 6, 2020 @ 9:15 am

Crown Trick story.

Reviewed on Switch

The roguelites just keep coming in 2020, and thankfully, a bunch of ’em are really, really great. Just to name a few, we’ve recently been treated to Hades, Neon Abyss, ScourgeBringer, and Windbound. One of the latest to join that list of awesome titles is Crown Trick, though this game takes a decidedly different approach. Rather than offering up fast-paced hack-and-slash action like, say, Hades, Crown Trick is a turn-based roguelite, flipping the genre on its head and offering something quite unique.

Dreams and Nightmares

In Crown Trick, you explore a nightmare world filled with monsters. Your guide is a helpful (but kind of rude) talking crown that explains how things work in this dream realm. The setup is fine, but it quickly takes a backseat to the action. You’ll enter tile-based rooms filled with enemies and eventually bosses. Regardless of the type of enemy, the game flow is the same: You and the baddies take turns moving around the room and performing attacks. It’s a simple premise, but there’s an added depth thanks to the wealth of items you can find and unlock.

Crown Trick combat.

As you explore, you’ll pick up stronger swords, axes that cause area-of-effect damage, spears that can attack a couple tiles in a row, and even firearms that have all kinds of effects. On top of that, some weapons are boosted with elemental and poison damage, so you can hurt enemies over time — perfect for those moments when you’re outnumbered or low on health and you need to stick and move.

As you’ve come to expect from the roguelike genre, you’ll lose all of your currently equipped items and abilities if you meet your demise at the hands of an enemy. Like Dead Cells or, well, the plethora of rad roguelites that have popped up in recent years, everything you unlock in Crown Trick has a higher probability of appearing in earlier areas.

There are characters you can rescue in the dungeons that will appear in your hub area. These offer permanent buffs and increase the likelihood of special events while exploring. For example, you can boost your health potion’s effects and number of uses. You can also increase the amount of gold enemies drop when defeated. Or you can raise the chances of chests and other items appearing during runs.

Crown Trick exploration gameplay.

Crown Trick is a pretty tough game. That said, unlike ScourgeBringer, which is tougher at the start and has an introductory barrier that’s hard to break through, this game is actually kind of easy at first. You’re likely to explore a lot of rooms before you die for the first time. That changes after a while, though, and the game raises the challenge quite nicely the deeper you get.

Like Run-DMC Said, It’s Tricky

There are plenty of little things that make Crown Trick a great deal of fun and a bit deeper than other roguelites. For starters, all the abilities and weapons you can choose from and juggle make for some fairly difficult decision-making, especially later in the game. As you defeat bosses, you’ll be able to use their elemental abilities in battles (so long as you have enough mana), and because you can equip multiple abilities, deciding between the best ones depending on the dungeon and elemental environments can be tricky — tricky, but a great deal of fun.

Crown Trick boss battle.

It’s worth mentioning that Crown Trick is a slower burn than a lot of its roguelite brethren. Aside from taking a bit to really deal out a serious challenge, it’ll also be a while before you truly master all of its intricacies. That’s not to say that the game is esoteric — it’s actually quite intuitive. But like a traditional turn-based RPG, there are a lot of little systems to pay attention to. Thankfully, once you get all the inner workings of the weapons and abilities, using them all becomes second nature.

The art design of Crown Trick is very much aesthetically charged. The hand-drawn look of the game is gorgeous, with dark outlines, colorful character models, and varied environments. It all looks like a beautifully drawn storybook

Crown Trick art style.

As you explore the procedurally-generated dungeons in Crown Trick, you’re treated to a catchy and alluring score of epic-sounding themes. The whole thing has this fairy tale vibe to it and is just wonderfully composed.

It’s a bit easy at first, but Crown Trick is filled with deep little systems that will keep you enthralled for dozens and dozens of hours. The turn-based roguelite gameplay is enhanced thanks to some truly brilliant upgrades, weapons, abilities, and bosses. And the flow of the game’s turn-based battle is just awesome. If you like roguelites and could go for a bit of a change of pace, don’t sleep on Crown Trick.

Score: 8 out of 10

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