Your mission in Cryptark, should you choose to accept it...

You know that part in a heist movie where the heisters are poring over a map figuring out how to get into the bank vault? “What if we cut the power to the basement?” one of them suggests. “No, that won’t work,” another says, “because it will trigger the alarm system.” “Okay, then we’re going to have to shut down the alarm system from outside.” “But that will initiate a lockdown and we’ll be trapped.” “Hey,” says another, “what about this sewer line that runs under the bank?” They’ve found the way in! Time to see if they can pull it off. That’s Cryptark.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Imagine Invisible Inc. as a twin-stick shooter that lets you look at the whole level before you started, and that furthermore lets you choose where you wanted to enter.


I had looked at this and decided it was probably too frantic for me, but you make it sound so great.

This was already high on my wish list, but you just moved it to #1.

I want to play every game Tom gives five stars to. But I haven’t played a twin-stick shooter since before they had twin sticks.

You’ve never saved the last human family?

What the hell is the matter with you?

Can confirm this game is great. And difficult. So difficult.

Tom’s stream of the game was pretty awesome. So suspensful, I remember it to this day.

Yeah, that was one of the best Tom’s streams ever. (After Bloody Boobs, of course. ;) ) Totally made me interested in the game.

wow, it is also out on PS4…

I should stop reading Tom’s reviews of good games. This sounds amazing and I want it right now. Too many games etc. I may have to watch that stream too.

I wasn’t wild about The Swindle. Loved the look of it and the idea but, damn, the platforming was just too slippery and loose for me and the inability to look up or down was awkward after you realised guards didn’t move unless they were on screen. I may give it another go though.

Edit: Ah! I thought so, judging by the visuals; it’s by Alientrap, the folks who did the gorgeous Capsized.

Edit edit: It doesn’t help that I’m also on a roguelite shoot 'em up binge at the moment.

I can’t wait to check it out, next Steam sale maybe?

Started playing this a bit and it is much better to play than watch streamed. I am playing the campaign and the difficulty ramps up really quickly. If you like twin stick shooters then get this, it adds a nice twist on the genre.

Oh man, I love The Swindle and this looks pretty cool too. There’s a guy on Something Awful who posted a playthrough of its various modes and it looks pretty short and sweet, right up my alley.

This game is incredible. Exhausting, too. Awesome.
After reading so many complaints online about the finale Cryptark, I was surprised by the (relative) fairness of the challenge, baring RNG going crazy: Tom was absolutely right, you have to amass funds for it, not only because they account for lives (since the layout of your Cryptark doesn’t change, the first life is for scouting), but also because they let you got nuts on the craziest pieces of gears, evening the odds against the terrible foes you are facing.
This game is a gem, that gets my heart pumping like few games ever have.
Thank you Tom for showing us it, and thank you Alex for forcing me to open my eyes through your generosity!

I’m always interested in Heist or Heist-like* games, and this seems to be pretty cool. I will try to search it and buy it.

*: Hell, I always hoped for a good Heist AAA game with gameplay inspired from Deus Ex or from Hitman.
Alas, I’m still waiting.

I started playing this over the weekend and it really is incredible. I haven’t reached the Cryptark yet because I’m a glutton for punishment and can’t help going for the silly bonuses like 3 Max Hull or $80K Max Loadout or Keep Repair Systems or whatever. Factory derelicts are a pain in the arse with all their drone systems too. I just really love the balance here between the planning and the oh-shit-I-done-fucked-up improvisation mid-mission.

I’ll second @Left_Empty though, Tom: thanks for the review of this. It’s another gem to add to a long list of lesser known games (and movies and other stuff) you’ve recommended that would otherwise have slipped straight past me.

I can bet you will find reaching the Cryptark itself suprisingly easy once you free yourself and stop putting yourself through those crazy sub-mission or artefacts requirements!

Heheh, I’ve found that it’s a good way of discovering tricks with certain types of tech because you’re so limited you have to get a bit creative.

Last night I tried a 3 Max Hull (and died, quelle surprise!) but was dinking around with the Recycler tech. Very hard to use but could be handy with the Smart gun or Allure paired with Mines or Turrets (I love that these can be deployed and then picked up again).

Drones are super handy for dealing with tiddlers and Spike for those circular ramming enemies. That Gaunt flail is a fantastic multi-purpose weapon too. Guided missiles are interesting, especially when they can be remotely detonated.

I reached the Cryptark for the first time but only had the funds for one run and got annihilated, sandwiched between a nuclear explosion from a destroyed–and triggered–alarm system and a ton of enemies in the one exit out. The tension when you finally get to the Cryptark is real though. It’s the first time in a while where I’ve thought to myself ‘they’re coming out of the walls’.

I am so proud of myself: I just finished the mission to recover an artefact from a level 5 derelict with 3 max hull. Bragging rights I exert right now.

I love drones as well, because they also sort of serve as scouts, pointing out where the next danger is coming from. I have troubles using the so-called smart weapons. I have issues with any kind of small caliber from level 4 ships downward, actually. I find myself using varieties of explosive shells, or my favorites: the nuke-nade, remote controlled cluster nade and any sort of dumb-fired rockets.
The nuke-nade is fire and forget against about anything, from systems to shielded opponents.
The remote controlled cluster grenade is amazing in flexibility against anything, and even against a variety of shielded opponents.
The sheer power of one-hit-killing even the biggest foe with a rocket is also amazing.
All those weapons come with an heavy cost though.
Because it is oftentimes so difficult to gauge when they are gonna fail you, I find the energy weapons very dangerous. I prefer to not use them in regular runs, but I like them in Rogue mode where ammo is a huge issue.
The Gauntlet is my favorite melee weapon as well. Nothing like pushing away a bunch of baddies (sometimes into hazards), but my favorite way to use it is to instantaneously trigger of those missile nukes with it!

They really are too. I think that’s one of the funny rules you don’t notice in your first few ships, dismissing it as “oh, collision bug probably”. But no, some of them can go through walls.