Coin Crypt Review – Take a Penny, Leave a Penny

A crypt full of troves upon troves of treasure awaits a team of adventurers.  Can they possibly brave hordes of thieves, ghosts, monsters, magicians, and more to get to the bottom?  Will it have all been worth it once they discover the treasure in question is nothing but… coins?  Yup, coins.  The catch is, in Coin Crypt, you either live or die by the coins you carry.  Is it worth doing some dungeoneering of your own between your couch cushions to pick up the miniature rogue-like?

Coin Crypt is a short game with a simple premise.  Players explore a dungeon to find a variety of coins which double as currency and actions in battle.  Each coin represents different types of typical RPG actions in real-time battles.  There’s standards such as attacking, healing, and defending, as well as more complicated ones which might hurt both the player and enemies or attack an enemy while simultaneously slowing them down.

Battles end when either the player or enemy dies, or either runs out of coins.  The coins are randomly drawn out in battle and honestly boils down to luck-of-the-draw twitch actions rather than any strategy.  More fights will be won if you focus on either keeping yourself healed or maintaining an onslaught on the enemy.

The unique battle system evokes the feeling of a board game with its luck-based combat.

The unique battle system evokes the feeling of a board game with its luck-based combat.

It’s a rather creative and unique battle system and feels more like playing a tabletop game with coins and dice more than a computer assisted game.  However, its only really fun when it works, and on the first few of the game’s dozen or so floors, I found myself constantly being screwed over by having too many of one coin that I didn’t need.  Your victory and progression will really be determined by what mix of coins you get and, unfortunately, the more interesting ones that offer more use don’t turn up until past the halfway mark.  Players should just push on until this point is reached and not even bother with battles to begin with.

Exploring the floors themselves are pretty simple and intuitive.  Players can play with either a combination of keyboard and mouse or simply the mouse on its own.  Playing the game on a Surface Pro, I tried using only the touch screen, and it worked incredibly well.  Pointing in a direction will cause the player to move that way and treasure chests and locked doors open automatically when touched.  It helps to maintain a speedy and casual pace to the gameplay, especially when paired with the fast battles.

Walking around the overworld can be a little awkward, but the simple controls help to allieviiate that

Walking around the overworld can be a little awkward, but the simple controls help to alleviate that

The game takes a three-dimensional blocky approach to its visuals which look great in character art and in battles, but is extremely clunky in the modeled overworld.  It can be difficult to discern or identify what some objects, and the lighting moves very harshly, putting a bit of a strain on the eyes.  I think a full 2D approach would’ve suited the entire game better instead of just in battles. Although, for how small the game is, it’s a minor complaint.

Coins not used in gameplay once the bottom of the crypt is reached or the player dies are then used to help purchase new explorers.  Each character has their own set of strengths and weaknesses, changing the balance of values of coins in battle.  One character for instance increases the value of coins in battle, but the recharge time between hand is extended.  Another character is especially weak in battle but constantly recharges the entire time.  There’s a different character to suit each player’s playstyle, but due to the twitch gameplay of the battles, it may be a little hard to pick up on the little nuances of each strength.

It's not uncommon to find yourself dead after getting a bum hand of coins.  There's a bit of a curve to figuring it all out.

It’s not uncommon to find yourself dead after getting a bum hand of coins. There’s a bit of a curve to figuring it all out.

The game can be beaten in matter of minutes, having the scale of a score-attack style arcade game.  Once the game is beaten once, it can be a little hard to feel enticed to return with the main reward awaiting players is the ability to purchase more characters to play the game again.  There’s a bit of a challenge in seeing how many coins you can accrue or how quickly you can beat the game, but the game lacks the mysterious depth and allure of many other popular roguelikes that help to give those games life past completion.

Coin Crypt is a cute diversion that never overstays its welcome with its simple, yet creative, premise.  It’s engaging enough to keep players involved until they reach the end, but can be frustrating due to its incredibly randomized nature.  All the same, I definitely found myself wanting to best the game at least once to get to the end, and hopefully other players feel the same way too.  By the time it ended, I did find myself wishing it were just a bit longer, so that’s never a bad sign.  If anything about this game sounds interesting to you or you just might be interested in seeing a new take on real-time RPG fights, then Coin Crypt might just be worth flipping a coin on.  The game is still in Early Access Beta, so there’s a lot of room for it to grow.

Final Breakdown

[+Really creative battle system][+Intuitive and simple controls][+Cute in game artwork] [-Most playthroughs come down to luck][-Incredibly short length][-Not much reward for finishing the game][-3D graphics look a little rough]


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