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Crown Trick

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 23 - 2020

The roguelike dungeon crawler of your dreams. Or nightmares.

Most roguelike dungeon crawlers have a gimmick or two to help them stand out in a crowded genre. Crown Trick from NExT Studios is a little different though, in that it throws a ton of ideas at the player, and the best thing is that most of them stick. A mystery? Check. Gorgeous visuals? Check. Turn-based gameplay? Check. An absolute bucket-load of mechanics that are surprisingly easy to understand? Check. Crown Trick is a simple yet complex roguelike that is very easy to get lost in.


The visual style will be the first thing that the player will notice. Crown Trick has a lovely, colourful cartoon-like style that is very appealing, and unusual considering the nightmarish setting. The characters and monsters are all cute and packed with personality, and even the dungeons, which can become a little familiar the more time a player spends in the game, are nice to look at. There is a sense of humour that comes through in the visuals, and the level of polish in the game is reassuring. Straight off the bat, it is obvious that this is going to be fun.

There is fun to be found in the story as well, even if it remains a little cryptic for much of the game. The player takes on the role of Elle who falls asleep and finds herself in a world of nightmares. A talking crown then explains that evil is on the rise and she must save the world. The player doesn’t really get much more than that to begin with, but further details can be found as the player progresses through the game, building the story into something quite interesting.

Whatever the reasons behind all of this, the player will have to explore this dream world that is represented by a labyrinthine dungeon that will change layout with every run. Fail at a run, and Elle will wake up, but be ready to start again, with a different layout, the next time she goes to sleep. It is a very nice set up for the roguelike nature of the game, and one that feels like it makes more sense than many games in the genre.


With a random layout for each run, the player will not be able to get comfortable with the game. This comes across in other aspects of the game as well as most things will change for each run. Most obvious is that the player will start each run with a choice of two random weapons. While a limited selection at the start, the game will quickly add new weapons to the roster and given that each weapon will have different stats or even abilities, the opening weapons can have a lot of impact on the early success of a run. Different weapons can be found as the player progresses in the dungeon, but there is no guarantee that they will be better than what the player already has. The random nature also means that each run will see the player picking up different items and such. All of this does mean that the success of a run does come down to luck as much as skill, which may put off some players.

However, despite the random nature, there are so many ways that a run can go right. Crown Trick is turn based in a clever way that is not seen in too many games. Basically, every time Elle moves, the enemies are also able to move. Stand still and don’t do anything, and the enemies won’t move either, which gives the player time to plan their approach to each room. Enemies will generally try to surround Elle, but knowing this the player is able to prepare for their attacks. With so many different abilities, weapons, skills and items to potentially use, it comes down to using the right one at the right time. There is also environmental factors to take into account, such as barrels to explode, but the player needs to stay aware of the possibility of harming Elle with these things. Elle can even be harmed by her own abilities if the player is not careful.


There is an awful lot to think about in the game, from the weapons to use and the familiar powers that are available once the player has beaten a mini-boss, to the magical relics and the environmental hazards, and even the life-saving Blink action that will make Elle reappear in a potentially safer position, that it may sound overwhelming. However, everything that is available to the player is clearly laid out, including the effects, and as players can take a moment to consider and even read about these different things, being overwhelmed will only happen to those who rush or get caught up in the adrenaline. Considering the complexity, Crown Trick is a very accessible game. That is not to say that it is easy though.

The early game is tricky due to the lack of choice, while the later game just gets harder. But it never feels unfair. Sure, some times the player may have some bad luck with the random nature and know right away that the run will be an uphill battle. But that luck may turn at any point, and roguelike players will already be used to the hand of fate. Another way that the game can be artificially tricky is when things really kick off in a room, as so much can be happening that it becomes difficult to actually see what is going on. This can be frustrating, but is something that players just have to adjust to.


Crown Trick is a very well made dungeon crawling roguelike that gives player a massive amount of choice in their approach to battles. The systems all work very well and are fun to mess around with. There is the obvious frustration of the random nature of roguelikes, and it is a tricky game, but dropping in for another run is easy when the game is this enjoyable. The gorgeous visuals just top it all off. In a genre that is already packed, Crown Trick is another strong contender for Switch-owning roguelike fans.




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Coming later this year to Xbox One, PS4, PC and Switch.


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