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


Yes, that’s the one.


I finally ‘groked’ how to use shields. Somehow I understood how they worked wrong and was being foolish with them. Now the game it’s a bit easier. In my last attempt I almost beat the stage 4 of Rogue mode.

But in general terms, I actually would prefer if the game was less roguelike. The game is short, replayable and designed to be played in one session. I would like a Rogue mode with 8-9 stages instead of just 5, a bit easier or at least with a smoother difficulty curve (the first three levels are difficulty 1->3->5, I would prefer 1->2->3->4), and with the ability of saving the game between stages (how this isn’t an option :S the last two stages can be pretty long!).


Unfortunately for me, this is one of those games that, while I love watching other people play it, I would suck horribly at it if I tried to play it myself.


It’s only scary from the outside. I have two left hands with unresponsive wrists and the reaction time of something that was reanimated by the doctor Frankenstein, yet I still manage to not suck totally at it, because it is mostly about your planning (be it the gear, the priorities, or even on what front the fight needs to be lead) and the game gives you all the info you need to make the proper decisions. On that front, a lot of let’s play are probably giving a biased impression, because watching somebody excruciatingly thinking about what to do for 30 minutes before actually starting to play might not be very interesting.
That said, I leave every session with an unusually elevated heart beat. So, if an exicting game sounds scary: stay away!


That’s part of it too. Games that I find stressful, even ones I like, I tend to not go back to. Darkest Dungeon is a great example. I like it, but barely played. Kind of hoping to pick up the iOS version. A lot of changes have been made since I played it.


I was snarky, but you are totally right: I avoid stressing games as well, because that sort of excitement tends to turn to anger when I lose in my case. For some reason, I haven’t felt any rage playing Cryptark. I can’t really explain why that is. Maybe because the game doesn’t go into game over right in front of you: you foresee the end coming (usually, I quit failed campaigns on my own because I can see the death-spiraling in front of me).


I completed Rogue mode, yay! The gods of randomness gave me a relatively easy configuration for my last two stages, otherwise I think I wouldn’t be able to do it.

Salamander is my favorite suit. Not because the starting flamethrower, but the shield + gauntlet combo is super good. I prefer much more the gauntlet than the spike. And I like the sprint with the burning effect, it’s pretty good too.


Congrats! I wanted to say that I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the game yesterday but… I can’t seem to see your longer post anymore. Did you delete or edit it?


Uhhh… what the hell, you are right! Did the forum eat my post?

I have a copy somewhere…


My first impressions of this game are good!

Nice graphics, with a fairly distinctive art style, the colors combined with the black outlines reminded me of comic line art.

The game works very well as an action game. Controls are tight, there is a good variety of weapons with different pros and cons (70 of them counting items!) and importantly, it isn’t superfluous. Do you want to have a second mmg to kill things twice as fast, or do you equip a shield and play more conservative, or do you equip a weaker energy weapon that in exchange don’t use up ammo. And if you equip a shield, what type, etc.
There is a good variety of enemies too, and fighting each feels different. It isn’t the same a small zippy enemy that wants to ram you, that a bigger enemy that attacks after a spinup phase, that a tough enemy with shields you have to avoid to damage him, that a enemy that uses cluster grenades, or another that has a beam able to push you around. Each one needs different tactics. Same with the ship systems, I really liked the idea of somehow converting them in impromptu static mini bosses, each one with a unique mechanic (avoid the rotating laser fire, or do a qte or hit the weak points or whatever).

But the variety doesn’t stop here.You have the different suits you can unlock with different perks. The suits together the variety of loadouts allow enough freedom to allow different gameplay styles. You can play fast and aggressive, melting everything with 4 weapons installed and trying to do quick runs to get the time bonus, or more carefully, trying to advance in a way that you don’t attract many enemies at the same time, trying to block all the damage with the shields.
Each spaceship you explore have a different ‘theme’ going on depending on their type, so some have fewer but tougher enemies, another is full of traps and laser trips that trigger alarms, and another is full of small drones and maybe it has a bigger chance of finding new types of items; each type also usually have similar ship systems.After that you have the roguelike facto, obviously the layouts and enemies in each levels are random.

This could make a decent action roguelite already, but additionally there is a nice strategic layer going on here. First you have the economic management, where you have to balance loadouts vs money (each bullet fired has literally a cost in the game), and risk vs monetary reward.
And also, choosing what spaceship explore from four options feels meaningful, not only because each one has a difficulty levels and different rewards (in money and artefacts), but I noticed lots of times the extra optional objectives are important. Really, if you want to earn money doing a run you have to try to get a pair of them (with the consequent risk, of course). Can you really beat that ship without destroying a repair system? Can you play with a cheap loadout? If the extra objectives seems hard, would be better to ignore them and instead go for the quick path to victory? You will win less money that way but you surely will use less ammo, items and will get the time bonus. From all the options which is the most efficient one?

Finally, the idea of the ship systems really spice up things. Having to choose what are the ones to attack and the ones to ignore, planning your point of entry, what path are you going to use and in what order are you going to destroy them, it’s all very interesting. It’s the final feature that makes it an unique game, and not just another Enter the Gungeon/Binding of Isacc/Nuclear Throne clone.

What I feel it’s missing, it’s some more options to customize the game, and the same with the difficulty. The game is so rigid. You can’t change the length of the game. You can’t change the difficulty of the game. You can’t save in rogue mode, not even between levels.
I would like to determine how long want a campaign (4, 6, 8 levels) instead of the fixed 6 ships. And for god’s sake put a difficulty setting, I’m so tired of games that think it’s something ‘not for this type of game’ and ‘the game is intended to play as it was designed’. Thanks god it seems it’s very trivial to give yourself more money editing a save game, maybe with 650K it will be ok, with that extra 150K you should be able to max your hull points in all the runs making it a bit easier, as the game is perhaps too hard for more casual players, at least the first 8-10 attempts. And in the other hand if you happen to be someone who love the game and are going to sink 150+ hours into it, the game will conversely be a bit too easy, eventually, so an extra hard mode would be nice.


Ahhh, I feel better now because a) I’m not crazy and didn’t imagine a great post like that, and b) it’s back for everyone else to see! :-)


Another good thing about Cryptark: the engineer character. He’s got a pretty great voice.

“Most rogue-likes [rely] on discovery because they want to create a sense of exploration.”


Yeah, the voice overs are fantastic.


This has been on the top of my wishlist since @tomchick’s review, and now that it’s on sale I went ahead and picked it up. A couple of hours in, it’s just as good as everyone said, with the whole strategy and planning layer really separating it from other twin-stick roguelikes, and I can see how the option to go for bonus objectives can liven up early stages that could otherwise get rote with experience.

That said, my first session ended on a really sour note. I got to the Cryptark with enough money for two attempts at it, died a few minutes into the first, and then stocked up on all the health and ammo I could afford for a final try. Half an hour of desperate battling and multiple close calls later, I was on the home stretch, with only 5 out of 22 systems remaining. I blew up a factory, and… the game crashed to the menu. The message said I could try again, but I was already into negative money from health and ammo refills during the run, so it was just an instant game over. Bleh, hopefully this is just a freak and not something that’s going to keep happening.


I’ve had game freezes on the level loading screen and I think one crash mid game. That really sucks it happened to you on the home stretch of the Cryptark no less. Oof. That’s an incredible result on your first run though Thraeg!


Oh for fuck’s sake. I tried a new run, died once from playing too cautiously and getting overwhelmed in my first attempt at the Cryptark, then loaded up and went back with a better plan. Blitzed in and took out both repairs and two advanced factories before the factories could ramp up. All set to go, plenty of ammo and two big repair packs, headed off to the next system… and got stuck in a wall. Absolutely nothing I could do to get free, and had to abandon the mission.


Aw that sucks. You seem to be finding all the bugs Thraeg.


He is just playing it wrong, which is why he is being so successful to that point.


I experienced a Cryptark run crash once (infuriating, I’d like to say… if it hadn’t been one of the worse setup and I had no hope of clearing it), and I get stuck every now and then, but usually it takes a minute or so of random inputs to get unstuck.


I’ve got a save at the Cryptark but I went on holiday, forgot my situation, got rusty and now I’m scared to load it up and waste the progress. My plan is to start again and use that save after I’ve warmed up.


The aggravating thing is that I’m not! Over several hours of play I’ve seen exactly two bugs. They just have the worst possible timing. Nary a one in earlier levels, or when I’m hard pressed and probably going to die anyway.


Well I hope they’re the only ones you find and, if not, they come a lot earlier in a run or when you’re sucking it up!

Any preferences loadout-wise? Which systems do you tend to prioritise? Are you a sucker for any particular tough objectives? The low hull ones are terrible for me. They’re good practice but super dangerous.