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Crawl Introduces the Retro PvP Bullet Hell Roguelike Dungeon Crawler Genre

Is the AI of traditional dungeon crawls not brutal enough for you? Why not invite some friends along?

By Pete Davison. Published 9 months ago

Never let it be said that independent developers lack creativity. I don't think anyone actually says that anyway, but in case you were on the fence, Crawl might change your mind somewhat.

Crawl is a roguelike. It's also a bullet hell shooter. And a brawler. With a bit of Bomberman. And a twist of Gauntlet. And some Zelda for good measure. Oh, and it's for between two and four players sitting in the same room.

Here's the twist on the usual formula for all of the above genres: one player gets to take on the role of the usual Lone Hero Seeking Adventure, while the others all get to do their best to kill him or her by taking control of the dungeon's traps and monsters. Kill the hero and you take their place, and the process repeats.

The creators Powerhoof say the game will be "semi-roguelike-esque" with randomly generated dungeons, the requisite supplies of loot to acquire and, of course, plenty of magic items and weapons with which to death more and more death to the forces of darkness. However, the game has been designed to be extremely fast-paced rather than strategic -- the devs are going for an "arcade game" feel here in the most literal sense.

The multiplayer aspect of the game allows cooperative control of boss monsters -- for example, one player could control a creature's tentacles while the other controls their head. The devs are also seemingly very keen to include a pixel-art interpretation of Gabe Newell as a controllable boss character, though whether or not that will actually happen remains to be seen. (They have created a sprite for him, at least, which you can see in the header image.)

This sounds like a hilarious experience, and I can't wait to try it out with some friends. Couch co-op is coming back into fashion, it seems, and Crawl looks set to provide a nice blend between cooperative and competitive action for up to four players.

There's nothing playable available in the public domain as yet, but Powerhoof is keen to get an early version into the public's hands "in the next few months." The game will initially be available for PC, but since it's built using the popular Unity engine, the devs aren't ruling out versions for other platforms in the near future.

While you wait for playable code, you can follow the devs' blog and yell at them to hurry up via Twitter.

The best community comments so far 3 comments

  • FatalHybrid 9 months ago

    This game seems really quite interesting I just wish it had an option for online co-op as I haven't played a game couch co-op for years. I will try to give this a go regardless though as it just seems really unique and I like that.

  • pjedavison 9 months ago

    @FatalHybrid They're not ruling online play out altogether -- so says their Twitter account anyway -- but local co-op is the priority to begin with.

  • jtron 9 months ago

    This game sounds great but I wish they'd picked another name; "Crawl" to me and many others means the terrific roguelike Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup (free at crawl.develz.org).

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