Iron Crypticle – Review

Iron Crypticle is an update of the popular twin stick pc shooter Iron Fisticle which was released a few years ago on Steam.

Tikipod have said “We have updated the game heavily to make this new version for console and pc. We accept the original was not as good as it could have been, and hope you will agree this new version is far superior (if you try it out).”

I didn’t play the original so I can’t say if this version is better or worse.

What I can say is that it is fun (ish) and, with time invested into playing, could be rewarding.

A mysterious, malevolent force has abducted Cryptonia’s princess – along with the king’s royal golden treasures (shaped curiously like large foodstuffs…).
The King’s washed-up knights must suit up and descend into the ancient palace crypts on a rescue mission!

That’s the premise for you doing what you do in the game. After a short ‘cutscene’ in ye olde pixel art style graphics you are thrust into the first floor of your adventure. It’s a twin stick shooter so you move your character with the left stick and you shoot in whichever direction you’re aiming with the right stick. Now because it’s in the retro style your dainty little sprite character only has eight directions in which to shoot as opposed to the more modern examples of the genre such as Demons Crystals and Action News Heroes to name just two.

This feels like a hindrance at some stages as when you are surrounded by enemies it can be quiet cumbersome to mow them down, you are provided with a special ability for such situations, the Iron Fist, which freezes time and delivers a devastating wave of power that kills all in it’s limited field, but the freedom to shoot in all directions fluidly would be so much more useful. There is also a dash ability that can be used to escape hairy encounters and that too is useful.

You do have the option to plan your route through the various floors via a handy map.

The route you take is important to plan if you want to make the most of your time playing this game. There are rooms where you get a couple of waves of baddies to deal with and there are also rooms where there is a small side game to play (costs you some in game currency) in the pursuit of coins and power ups. The most important room though is the the one where you meet the cat merchant and use the coins that you have collected to increase your health/damage etc.

Various weapon powerups and score multipliers are available to you as you progress throughout the different rooms and last a short time before reverting back to your standard damage giver. The weapons themselves range from Shurikens to daggers and grenades, hammers and flamethrowers too. The baddies are varied too and whilst some of them only walk menacingly towards you and deal damage if touched, some of them have weapons too and deal a good bit of damage from range.

There is a ‘ledger’ which can be viewed from the start up screen which gives a brief description of everything found in the game should be interested in what each thing benefits you.

After you have worked your way through the rooms on each floor then you are faced with a boss level and this is where your twin stick shooter skills are tested to the max, also this is where my major bugbear with the game is most apparent. If you die there is no checkpoint……………….. die and you go ALL the way back to the beginning !!!! WTF ??  If you’re a mediocre gamer like me then you’re not going to happy about that. Imagine getting through to the 4th floor boss and dying……….would you want to go through it all again?  I ploughed on because I had to get a good feel of the game before reviewing it but seriously!!!!!!    Checkpoints people, it’s a staple of pretty much all games. If you die then you should go back to the start of the last room conquered……not all the way back to the beginning!!!!

There are high score tables so you can see how you fare against your friends and the world.

If you’re playing solo and you’re not a twin stick shooter God tier player, then prepare for lots of frustration.

There is the option for 4 player local co-op should you have the requisite number of controllers and friends on hand, and I imagine it would be more fun and easier with more people dealing damage. Solo players though…. I believe the time that is spent on the game will be limited and frustrating.

Graphically, Iron Crypticle is a nod to yesteryear and whilst there is a market for retro gaming I am in the camp that says ‘Why are we playing games with graphics like this on a Next Gen gaming console ?’

Sound wise too, I just don’t get it.

So in conclusion……..Iron Crypticle is a game that is probably better played with 4 people. Solo players will struggle to get anything out of it except frustration with the lack of checkpoints. If there were checkpoints then I believe the solo playthrough would be better, maybe I just need to ‘git gud’.


Code provided by publishers and as always we thank you.