Crawl caught me entirely by surprise. The concept, gameplay and art style were all so fresh and unique that I was immediately hooked by this game. There are too few games in the world today that evoke the same emotions as the quest involved in playing a round of Crawl with your friends.
Firstly, as an early access game, I was astonished when I picked this up because I found little to no glitches or bugs and it was bursting with content right from the start. The community is also very much alive and the developers are simply phenomenal, always keeping you updated as to their progress and ideas for the game.
The gameplay is like nothing I've ever played with up to 4 players playing locally (3 as ghosts and one as a hero) attempting to become a level 10 hero and defeat the dungeons boss. The catch is that since there is only one hero at a time, if you are not playing as the hero, you are one of the 3 ghosts controlling the dungeons minions, traps and bosses attempting to kill the hero and whomever deals the killing blow becomes the next hero.
Games are generally fast-paced and frenetic yet the overall game round can take up to 30-40 minutes to play through depending on the players experience levels. The fact that the game is truly semi-cooperative in nature at all times is wonderful and keeps player interaction high. This is what makes local multiplayer gaming so wonderful to me and Crawl really delivers on that front. Many gamers have argued that they wished this game offered online support, and while I understand that not everybody has the opportunity to play with 4 players locally I really don't think this game would deliver the same experience if it were being played with people miles away on the internet instead of your friends and family on the couch next to you.
While I absolutely love this game and how unique and just plain fun it is the one major frustration for me would have to be the fact that the monster who deals the killing blow becomes the next hero and not the monster who dealt the most damage or some other qualifier. This just seems unintuitive, unfair and unrewarding to the non-hero players and I really think this should at least be an alternative option for the game settings if not the standard. I have discussed this with other gamers and while I understand their points as to how making it the player who deals the last blow can work as a balancing mechanism for weaker players I've seen it create just as much imbalance and more importantly change the flow of play to where camping is encouraged for monsters so that they can prepare themselves to deal the killing blow instead of simply attack the hero relentlessly. I truly believe that there should at least be an alternative option available in the settings for the monster who dealt the most damage to become the hero because I find it silly for a game to inherently make one of its mechanics just frustrating for the players and immediately turn them off the excitement.
Despite my one major criticism I have seldom found a game whose development has excited me as much as this one and I really hope that the developers consider my opinions on the game. Overall Crawl is definitely a game worth checking out for any gamer who wants to experience a new and exciting type of game and I highly recommend it if like me you are a huge fan of local multiplayer games that appeal to that childhood sense of playing arcade games and other video games side to side with your friends and family before the lonely Online Gaming era.