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IndieGames reviewed Brace Yourself Games' award-winning rhythm roguelike, Crypt of the Necrodancer, last September. It's come a long way since then, with a number of additions and improvements, and has finally made its launch into early access for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It's sound advice not to buy anything on early access unless you're interested in playing the game in its current state. Even if Crypt of the Necrodancer were to be abandoned in the next five minutes, though, it would be worth the price.

For those unfamiliar with Crypt of the Necrodancer, it's a turn-based procedural death labyrinth with an emphasis on fairness and in which every turn lasts as long as one beat of the music that's playing. The player can stand still if they wish, but that won't stop the monsters from coming. It forces the player to think on their feet while grooving to the beat, but every enemy has predictable movement and attack patterns which can be learned. These things make for a game in which the player never feels cheated; every death could have been avoided if the player had done things differently. And all of the player's actions are performed to the rhythm of music composed by Danny Baranowsky of Super Meat Boy fame (or to their own MP3s now) with controls simple enough that the game is playable with a dance pad.

The current version of the game features many notable improvements over last September's preview build, along with some aesthetic and other polishing improvements. Some of the biggest additions are: a hardcore mode in which unlocked player upgrades don't count and the player is tasked with beating all stages in one go; a daily hardcore challenge; trainers that allow players to practice against bosses and enemies; a co-op mode; and shrines with varying effects. There are also many new items and equipment available and a greater variety of traps. There's now a GUI for rebinding keys. All of this is accented by a slew of aesthetic improvements made for clarity or for flavor, such as shopkeepers now singing along with the music.

Crypt of the Necrodancer is a unique game and boatloads of fun. Aside from people who dislike permadeath games, it's hard to think of people who would definitely dislike it. It can be purchased on Steam for $14.99.

[Crypt of the Necrodancer]