TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Evercrawl’

Boy, I HATE weeks like this. There were numerous really good games released this week, and across a wide variety of interesting genres. Some bigger, more complex games alongside some more simple quick-hit kind of games, but the bottom line was there were lots of good things to play. How am I supposed to pick just one? Like I said, I hate weeks like this, but whenever a situation like this occurs I generally go with my gut as well as the game I seem to keep reaching for everytime I unlock my phone, and this week that game is Evercrawl.

I know, I know, a pixel art roguelike dungeon crawler. BIG surprise you liked that one, TouchArcade! But honestly Evercrawl is kind of the epitome of what I consider a perfect iPhone game. Portrait-oriented and one-hand friendly? Check. Simple inputs that work just fine on a touchscreen? Check. Gameplay that’s easy enough to bust out for just a few moments at a time, but deep enough that you could play for extended periods as well? Check and check! Tons of unlockables, both big and small, and a progression system that ensures you always feel like a run is meaningful even if you get wiped out in two seconds? That’s another check, friends.

Evercrawl is not a complicated game on the surface. You move square-by-square through a hallway-like dungeon that’s 5 squares wide, and you can only ever move forward. Either straight forward or to the left or right, but always forward and never backward. Pretty standard roguelike battle mechanics are in play, so if you move adjacent to an enemy you get the first crack at them in turn-based combat, and if they make the move that puts them adjacent to you then they get first attack instead. There are crates and treasure chests with helpful items like health, shields, or additional weapons, and sometimes not-so-helpful items like enemies waiting to attack you.

You goal is to move forward (since that’s the only way you can move) collecting items, collecting coins, killing enemies, and eventually making it through all 4 biomes in the game to claim victory. That is, of course, easier said than done. You will die a lot, but thanks to that wonderful progression system, you’ll just about always be unlocking some cool new item, or color palette, or even an entirely new class. And thanks to the coins you collect you can upgrade most of these things too. Each run in Evercrawl feels meaningful in a couple of different ways. First is that progression system I just mentioned, but you also gain valuable lessons by dying and it’s with this enhanced wisdom that you can try again next time and perhaps make some better choices and make it just a bit further than last time. That, to me, is the heart of a roguelike game: The experience of playing and dying and learning.

Oh, the classes! Yes those classes I just mentioned are another huge draw in Evercrawl. There are 7 in total, and you’ll unlock them slowly through play. Each one, naturally, plays quite differently from the others and each have unique attacks and abilities that can completely alter how you approach playing the game. The class that’s unlocked from the start, the Fighter, is probably the easiest to understand but also probably the least interesting to play with. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Fighter a lot, it’s just kind of a tough class to be forced to use for the early parts of the game.

You’ll also need to beat your head against several runs to kind of level up a couple of times and get the ball rolling, and to get a feel for the game in general. This means you’ll likely have quite a few games where you die within a few minutes, or seconds, and coupled with the way the Fighter plays I could see some people sort of giving up. Don’t do that! Persevere, play at least a dozen runs or so, unlock a few things, and I guarantee you’ll be hooked. Also the next class, the Archer, comes pretty quickly and that’s a much different style than the Fighter and the change of pace is really nice.

Gosh, what else? I’m sure I’m forgetting some stuff, but I’ve talked long enough. I think you’ll know by now if this is the sort of game that’s for you or not. I cannot stress enough just how easy the core mechanics are, but just how deep the strategy really is given all the items and classes and everything. It really has made Evercrawl an easy go-to choice when pulling my phone out to play something, and that’s at the expense of some other very excellent games released this week, so it must be doing something right. Go on, spend the three bucks, you’re gonna like this one.

Post a Comment