Review: Coin Crypt
There’s a gamble that comes with attempting new mechanics in a game. We’ve all been around long enough that we expect certain things to work certain ways, and cutting against that grain can really turn people off. But nobody wants to fight the same monsters and gain the same levels forever, and so we must give games like Coin Crypt their dues. Easily one of the most unique roguelikes I’ve ever played, Coin Crypt not only forges forth with a bold new concept, but constructs some brilliant strategy around it.
You are a lootmancer, unraveling the secrets of a mysterious island in the Pacific in the search for more loot. And you’re going to find plenty of it in the form of coins, dozens upon dozens of different kinds of coins. The thing is, these coins are how you do EVERYTHING in the game. Attack coins do damage to your enemies, healing coins heal you, shield coins protect you, stealing coins take your foe’s coins, key coins unlock things, and so on. Run out of life OR coins and it’s game over, so you need to be just as careful about spending yourself into oblivion as you are fighting monsters.
If that sounds daunting, then let me assure you it is, at least at first. You start the game with a basic set of coins and find more in chests liberally scattered throughout the levels. Coins can also be nicked off your enemies or collected when they perish, but must be spent to defeat them. Combat is far more complex than just attacking or healing, though. Enemies can also be beaten by running them out of coins, and there are a wealth of coins that can steal coins, drop coins, clone coins, switch coins, and more. You’ll always need to size up your foe before launching a strategy, because armored enemies might be easier to take down by running them dry, or low-health enemies might be better handled through status effects.
I really cannot stress enough how deep the combat system is. It’s real-time as well, with each coin having a cast time to consider. That means you can launch quick steals to stop a heavy incoming attack, or fill a swift enemy’s pockets with self-damaging coins, or just wait for a basic attacker to waste their coins against your shields. Your available coins are drawn randomly as three options so you won’t always have your chosen strategy up, but you can re-draw or find items or buffs that affect the coins you tend to draw.
This brilliant combat system is the heart of Coin Crypt, particularly because there’s a pretty simple game built around it. Levels tend to be short and contain few features outside enemies and chests. There are shrines to loot deities, wishing wells, and shops to spend your coins on, but with all of these you’ll need some experience to know when to spend and when to save. Your coins all have value, of course, and so their worth as actual currency may also color your strategy. You’ll even find a few secrets and shortcuts, assuming you take the time to explore a little.
There’s a daily challenge mode on top of the regular adventure, and a whole gaggle of characters to unlock, each with their own unique playstyle. It’s all wrapped up in an adorable blocky presentation of bold lines, primary colors, and bouncing rectangular people. The sound design is fine as well, though I can’t say I remember much outside of the pleasing jingle of coins. But really, that’s all you need when the core experience is so good. Coin Crypt does a lot with a fresh concept, making it something worth digging into and spending hours mastering.