Video Game: Crypt of the NecroDancer

Those monsters driven mad by music, their twisted souls bound to the beat. And at the bottom... God only knows. You think you're ready? Well... you're not.
-Crypt of the Necrodancer early access trailer

You're digging up a grave when suddenly the ground opens up. You fall to wherever, and land on a rock. Unbeknownst to you, a mysterious and sinister figure known as the Necrodancer rises from the earth and steals your heart. Unsure as to what happened, as your heart beats like a drum, you set out to find the answers.

Crypt of the Necrodancer, created by Brace Yourself Games and published by Klei, is an Indie game that uses the almost unrelatable aspects of roguelikes and rhythm games to create a rather unique combination. The game was released as an early-access on June 30th, 2014 and prior to then had limited beta testing. It uses music by Danny Baranowsky (Super Meat Boy, The Binding of Isaac, etc.)

In the Crypt of the Necrodancer your character can only move and fight to the beat of the music. The goal is to fight and dance your way through a procedurally generated dungeon, slaying monsters as you go along. You're encouraged to maintain the rhythm to obtain a coin multiplier and missing a beat or taking damage resets it. Though enemies travel through predictable patterns the fast paced action of the game causes it to be surprisingly difficult.


Crypt of the Necrodancer contains examples of:

  • Actual Pacifist: Dove, who has no weapons in her item pool. Her only means of self-defense is a flower which confuses enemies. Even her bombs do nothing more than teleport enemies.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The shopkeeper is one of the friendliest shopkeepers in the roguelike genre. You can shoplift and destroy his store and he won't even be phased. However, if you attack him directly (with a fireball spell or a bomb), he'll quickly turn from your best friend to the toughest enemy in the game, with nine hearts of health, diagonal movement, being able to move every beat and having attack power that would make even bosses weep.
  • Blade on a Stick: Spears are one of the many weapons available to the player. They can attack an enemy 2 tiles away.
  • Blackout Basement: Using the Shrine of Darkness causes every wall torch in the dungeon to disappear, at the benefits of being given a compass, 3 bombs, and a map. You also lose your torch, and you're given a Ring of Shadows, which will replace and destroy any ring you might currently be carrying. note 
  • Boring but Practical: This applies to most of the cheapest dungeon shop items (most of which can also be obtained as random loot from chests). Torches light up blocks that are 2 tiles away from you. Packs allow you to carry an extra consumable.
  • Breath Weapon: Red dragons breathe fire; Blue dragons have a cone of freezing breath. Green dragons don't have one.
  • Bullfight Boss: The Minotaur, naturally. When the player is in an orthogonal line from them, they "charge" straight in that direction, and if the player gets out of the way, they'll eventually hit a wall or another enemy and be stunned for two turns.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: If Cadence is aware of the presence of monsters, but they're not close enough to a light source, they appear as black silhouettes with glowing eyes.
  • Cartoon Bomb: One of your most useful tools. They destroy almost any wall in a 1 block radius (including diagonally), and hit enemies for 4 hearts of damage. Just be sure to run away after lighting the fuse.
  • Chest Monster: From typical chest mimics that drop loot, to wall mimics and even cauldron mimics.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Black chests contain weaponry; Purple chests have magic and magical rings; Red chests cover torches, healing items and the like. Blue chests always require a key, which is hidden somewhere and the same shade of blue.
  • Death by Materialism: Quite literal in the Monk's case. Having taken a 'Vow Of Poverty', he will die if he collects any gold. (However, the shopkeeper has mercy on him and will let him have one item per level for free.)
  • Difficult but Awesome:
    • Rhythm Shrines fall under this. In exchange for a large coin multiplier, you're threatened with instant-death if you miss a single beat on the next floor. Also, every 8th beat is removed.
    • Whips also fall under this. Players can attack any enemy one square in front of them, one square caddy-corner in front of them, or one square forward and two up or down (in a knight's L-shape), but it's difficult to remember which button must be pressed to attack them as opposed to move towards them. In addition, the whip only hits one of the enemies in those five squares at a time, unlike the broadsword.
    • So can Shrines of Darkness. The whole dungeon becomes incredibly dark, your vision is reduced to 3-5 tiles, you lose your torch, and any ring you might have had, but on the plus side you get an exit-finding Compass, a map, three free bombs, and the Ring of Shadows, which allows you to rob shopkeepers with no repercussions.
    • Since only the four cardinal directions are used for controls (with using two directions at once to use items/spells), this game can be played with a Dance Dance Revolution controller. Dance Pad difficulty gives the player a few bonuses, which will be needed.
    • Boots of Speed allow (but thankfully do not force) you to perform actions twice as fast. If used to their fullest potential, it becomes rather difficult to maintain your focus, keep track of who is about to attack, and generally makes you more accident prone.
  • Difficulty Spike: Zone 3 falls under this.
  • Double Unlock: Shopkeepers in the lobby can sell you items that'll appear later in the dungeons, and furthermore some of the shopkeepers must be rescued in the dungeons first.
  • Doppelgänger: Palette Swaps of your hero appear in Zone 2, and move whenever you do.
  • Dummied Out: The Teal Scroll, which sent you to the next floor without having to fight the miniboss, was removed from later versions of the game for making speedruns too luck-based, though it's graphic, as well as voice clips for a "Descend" spell, can still be found in the game's data folder.
  • Dungeon Shop: Every non-boss floor has a shop in it, and the vocally-gifted shopkeeper is the same person. If somehow the shopkeeper dies, he stops appearing in that dungeon run.
  • Epic Flail: Features flails as an unlockable weapon. Enemies attacked are knocked-back.
  • Equipment-Based Progression: Every run has your character traveling through a dungeon, and as you move along, you come across chests and shops filled with items that give your character an advantage. Played straight in Hardcore mode, where your character starts off brand-new.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: A number of enemies can seem to fall under this, the main examples being Golems, and Yetis especially, only needing a single hit.
  • Flawless Victory: Don't miss a beat during a boss battle in Hardcore Mode, and you'll get to choose from one of three treasure chests to open before you advance to the next stage.
  • Frictionless Ice: Zone 3 has this; you can't change direction until you either hit an obstacle or leave the ice.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Taken quite literally with glass weapons, which do 4 times the damage, but shatter when you get hit, leaving you with glass shards as powerful as the starting dagger. You drop the glass shards when the glass weapons shatter, leaving you unable to attack until you can pick them up. You're in deep if the enemy that hit you then blocks you from said shards.
    • You can also receive glass shovels that will dig through almost everything as well. They also shatter and get dropped after being hit, which can leave you trapped at a moment's notice.
    • Glass armor functions in much the same way. It negates the damage from a single blow, but shatters afterwards — and unlike other glass items, there's no shard left behind to provide some defense afterwards.
  • Hailfire Peaks: Zone 3 has two sides, one of which is Slippy-Slidey Ice World and the other of which is Lethal Lava Land. The music even changes appropriately (hot metal tunes for the fire side, and cool techno beats for the ice side) when you cross from one side to the other.
  • Hand Cannon: The Blunderbuss counts as this.
  • Handicapped Badass: Eli, who has a shovel for a hand, but can kick bombs, which he has an endless supply of, toward enemies.
  • Harder Than Hard:
    • Made it through Hardcore mode? Congratulations! Now you can play through as Cadence's Grandmother, Aria - who can only use the dagger as a weapon, and only has one-half heart and can't collect any more. In addition, missing a beat will kill Aria. You can also play through as Bolt, who forces you to traverse the dungeons twice as fast. Best of luck!
    • In development is the ultimate challenge character Coda: who has Aria's half-heart, death to a missed beat, and can only use the dagger; Bolt's double-time speed; and the Monk's Vow of Poverty which makes touching gold fatal. Oh dear.
  • Heal Thyself: From healing spells, food (see Hyperactive Metabolism below), blood magic and other magical objects, there are a number of ways to find HP.
  • Heart Isan Awesome Power: When you slay an enemy while wearing the Ring of Courage, you immediately take that enemy's place (or move forward a square towards where that enemy was). The real surprise comes from the fact that if taking that step would put you in a position to get attacked by enemies, the attack is stopped by your courage.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Each of the bosses has their own punny name and theme music:
    • Deep Blues plays his blues while sending his fifteen chess piece minions after you.
    • Death Metal looks like the Grim Reaper and has a real fast theme as well.
    • King Conga has his zombie minions dance in a conga line before taking you on, and is a gorilla.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Healing items come in the form of food. You can choose between apples, cheese, drumsticks and ham.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Averted for the most part. Cadence can only carry one shovel, torch, set of armor, helmet, and pair of boots. (And she starts with just a shovel and a dagger.) She also starts off with only being able to carry one weapon (which can be increased to two weapons if she picks up a holster) and one consumable item (that goes up to two if she picks up a backpack, or an infinite number of consumables if she picks up a bag of holding - playing the trope straight.)
  • Interface Screw:
    • A banshee's shriek deafens your heroine, rendering the player temporarily incapable of hearing the song they need to keep moving in time with.
    • When fighting King Conga, or if the Shrine of Rhythm is active, every eighth beat is dropped.
    • The Ring of Shadows greatly reduces your vision range.
    • Stepping on a confuse trap temporarily reverses your controls.
  • Life Drain: All blood weapons are known for this power. For every 10 foes defeated, half a heart is restored. The Crown of Thorns shares this same ability with blood weapons, with the exception that upon being equipped, damage is dealt.
  • Losing Your Head: When a skeleton is down to its last heart, its head goes flying off its shoulders. They start running away when this happens.
  • Macrogame: The diamonds you collect throughout the dungeon are used to unlock upgrades and additional items that can be found in subsequent runs.
  • Magikarp Power: Obsidian items start off only as powerful as your starting gear, but increase in power the bigger your groove chain gets. That said, they also reset to minimum power if your groove chain gets broken.
  • Money Spider: Every enemy drops coins upon being defeated.
  • Money Multiplier:
    • Each enemy killed adds to the coin multiplier. note  In addition to this, permanent money multiplier bonuses can be purchased from the lobby shop.
    • In the game exist items which can increase the amount of money enemies drop: this can range from golden weapons, a ring of gold, and a crown of greed.
    • This is taken up to eleven if you activate the Shrine of Rhythm, which will further raise your multiplier. At the cost of your life if you miss a beat.
  • Meaningful Name: Several of the playable characters, whether by having a name related to music or one that hints at their playstyle.
  • Musical Assassin: Melody's weapon is a golden lute, which damages any enemies ajacent to her each time she moves.
  • Musical Theme Naming: Cadence, our heroine, her mother Melody, and grandmother Aria.
  • Power at a Price: Nearly every shrine in the game is this one way or another.
    • A Shrine of Blood will give you blood weapons, at the cost of nearly all of your health.
    • A Shrine of Glass turns all of your equipment into glass, making them more powerful, but also ensuring that they'll shatter if you get hit.
    • A Shrine of Risk offers you powerful weapons and HP items, but you're dealt damage when traveling between floors.
    • A Shrine of War gives you some kind of telepathy item, but evolves all enemies into their strongest versions.
    • A Shrine of Peace refills your life and gives you an extra heart container, but takes away all your equipment and replaces it with your starting gear.
    • A Shrine of Rhythm can increase your maximum coin multiplier, but you're forced to play the rest of the game dropping every 8th beat and dying if you miss a beat.
    • A Shrine of Sacrifice can offer you powerful weapons, but requires that Cadence slay monsters right in front of the altar. Killing a miniboss before it fills it up the fastest.
    • The hidden Blood Shop does this as well - offering you items in exchange for taking 1-2 hearts worth of damage. If you don't have enough life when you make the exchange, this will kill you (and give you a death by "Blood Debt".)
  • Power Glows: Obsidian items glow visibly brighter as your multiplier and by proxy, their strength, increases.
  • Power-Up Letdown: Several slot items have more downsides than they do upsides.
    • The Ring of Phasing, while looking like a rather cool item, has the very negative side-effect of rendering your character unable to dig. This not only keeps you from getting treasure inside walls, but monster closets can't be accessed either unless you also have the Dagger of Phasing, because you can't attack from inside a wall without it. And if you're traveling through walls without a torch, you better hope there's no enemy on the other side waiting for you.
    • The Mining Helmet allows your character to immediately move into walls they dig out. Great for quick digging which is good for saving time on a floor, but not much else, or escaping enemies that are as fast as you and don't go down in one hit (of which there is exactly one, the shopkeeper, who must be goaded) and completely negates your ability to 'tactically dig', as in dig nearby walls to skip beats and achieve better positioning through rhythm. In a rhythm game.
  • Royal Rapier: One of the weapons available, is a rapier, which does double damage on a successful attack on any enemy 2 tiles away. Your character will also step forward on such an attack.
  • Simple Yet Awesome: The Dagger of Frost does 3 damage (the same as an Obsidian weapon when the coin multiplier is maxed!) and freezes whatever it doesn't instantly kill, rendering even minibosses completely helpless. Its only downsides are that it, like all daggers, has a range of only one space, and that fire or a bomb blast will melt it into a regular dagger.
  • Single-Use Shield:
    • Glass armor plays this straight. It completely stops any attack, but shatters as a result. The Crown of Teleportation also does this, except when it shatters, you're teleported to somewhere random.
    • Some skeletons will carry shields. These shields have a defense that's as high as the health of the skeleton using it note  and can stop any attack that couldn't 1-shot the wielder. If your attack matches or overpowers the defense of their shield, they lose their shield.
  • Shoplift and Die: Zig-Zagged. The shopkeeper is a carefree guy who sings along with the current music and will only attack you if you attack him first. Not only can you shoplift without consequence when wearing the Ring of Shadows, but you can even knock down his golden walls for some free gold. Should he die, not only can you take all his goods for free, but he'll drop the Crown of Greed, which will double all gold received (at the cost of causing your total gold to tick down along with the beat) and is essential to a high scoring hardcore run. However, if you do attack him via hitting him with a bomb, he immediately charges you, able to move diagonally and hitting like a truck.
  • Slice-and-Dice Swordsmanship: Averted. Piercing and stabbing weapons tend toward long range, while slashing and bludgeoning weapons tend toward wide range instead, making them feel very different to use.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: The shopkeeper sings along with the music, and you can hear him outside of his shop.
  • Sprint Shoes: The Boots of Speed allow you to move twice as often per beat.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Unfortunately, you can't pick up the skeletons' shields for yourself.
  • Variable Mix: The shopkeeper will sing along to the music when you get close to him. Additionally, the third zone has two different tracks that it segues between depending on whether you're in the hot or cold area.
  • Video Game Stealing: Wearing the Ring of Shadows allows you to steal from shops.
  • Whip It Good: Features whips as a weapon. Whips attack in an L shape, like knights in chess. Also available is the Cat o' Nine Tails, which allows one to attack while moving.