Crystal Catacombs is a challenging, retro inspired “Megavanian” love letter that utilizes Rogue-like procedurally generated levels/enemies/items with a heavy emphasis on classic 2D platforming.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mixed (61 reviews) - 44% of the 61 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jan 15, 2015

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About This Game

Crystal Catacombs is a challenging, retro inspired “Megavanian” love letter that utilizes Rogue-like procedurally generated levels/enemies/items with a heavy emphasis on classic 2D platforming.

Discover, equip, use, and master an assortment of varied weapons, magic spells and upgrades.


Features:

Select from five unique and expansive procedurally generated Crystal Realms, each utilizing different layouts and room designs. No two experiences are ever the same!!
Find and discover random monsters, treasures, weapons and artifact upgrades!
XP and Skill Point based leveling system
Over 40 different unique enemies and bosses to conquer!
Handcrafted pixel art and animation!
(Almost Full) Controller support!
Chiptune OST by MaskedEpsilon!

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 1 GHZ
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia Gforce
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 250 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Sound Blaster
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7 SP 1
    • Processor: 2 GHZ
    • Memory: 1000 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia Gforce
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Sound Blaster
    Minimum:
    • OS: 10.1
    • Processor: 1 GHZ
    • Memory: 250 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia Gforce
    • Storage: 250 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Sound Blaster
    Recommended:
    • OS: 10.1
    • Processor: 2 GHZ
    • Memory: 500 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia Gforce
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Sound Blaster
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 10.1
    • Processor: 1 GHZ
    • Memory: 250 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia Gforce
    • Storage: 250 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Sound Blaster
    Recommended:
    • OS: Ubuntu 11
    • Processor: 2 GHZ
    • Memory: 1000 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia Gforce
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Sound Blaster
Customer reviews
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Overall:
Mixed (61 reviews)
Recently Posted
Gunderson Mallard
11.0 hrs
Posted: July 9
Controls are brought up throughout many of the reviews, and while they take a little while to adjust to, I don’t see that as a fault of the game. As soon as you figure out how to jump in this game you quickly find that there isn’t much to jump into at all and that’s really the bigger flaw.

Every biome has its own little quirks that range from floors being a bit slippery to falling pieces of annoying death that plague the entire level. Some levels seem to outshine others in frustration and challenge, but after a bit of adjustment the levels end quickly. Each biome also has some different enemies that all fall under the uninspired category. The monsters have predictable patterns, so learning how to kill them comes quickly. Both of these things are good because there is little incentive to explore levels: the treasure room can be useful sometimes, but otherwise the main goal is just to grab the key and move on. Leveling up can make your character very powerful so there is no need to bother with the shops in the game, especially because everything there is overpriced.

There just isn’t an incentive to play Crystal Catacombs. I had started to write a guide for this to help others out, but I gave up after a few hours because it just isn’t that fun to play. Some deaths feel cheap, but none of the victories felt satisfying. I think the only learning curve comes from the time it takes to learn how to jump, from then on its just eye strains and an over-too-quick feeling as you face the final boss. The final boss was actually pretty annoying, but more than that, I couldn’t believe there was just that was the end and with other content. There are cards to collect, but collectathons are only fun if the gameplay can support it.

Crystal Catacombs is a game that should ultimately be buried away in most people’s Not Interested in pile. All of the gameplay mechanics that it touts are forgettable at best. Instead of shooting for random elements and levels, it might have fared better with carefully constructed levels, much like the games that inspired it.
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VahidSlayerOfAll
0.4 hrs
Posted: July 9
The game feels really broken
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fisH
4.1 hrs
Posted: June 9
Graphically, it was great... that is about it. The game was broken, no questions there, look at other review they will say the same. If you came across an enemy it was an almost guarentee that you would get hurt. I would have quit after 10 minutes of playing but I FORCED(HEAVY EMPHASIS) myself to play the game for a full hour. The game was boring, nothing made sense, there were areas that had no seeable purpose. To say this game is bad is an understatement. The only rating I can possibly give this game is a 2.5/10. The reason it was rated sooo high is because you can play the game(Though barely) and the artwork was actually quite decent. The devs needed to actually play the game before they released it.
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IronSammet
1.8 hrs
Posted: May 13
Extremely buggy. It runs sluggish even for a game whose highest resolution is 720. But that doesn't really bother me as much as how impossible it is to play. I first tried playing with a USB controller, and immediately noticed when binding my buttons that left and right in the menus don't work. They don't work with my keyboard or with a gamepad. I exited to the main game to see if I could move left or right at all, and I couldn't. Then I messed around in the menus and came back and I could. But that's how the bugs in this game are. I eventually figured out that hitting the left and right arrow keys AT THE SAME TIME let you move the menu cursor over so that you could access the full menus. Then I finally started playing the game. I made it all the way to level 3 of the first area before I started getting suspicious that I wasn't leveling up. I didn't know what the green bar was under the health bar because the game is devoid of tutorials or a manual. While mashing buttons I froze the game by hitting the map button. But I also noticed that I leveled up. After mashing buttons again hoping that the game wasn't frozen I realized that hitting the map button moved the game forward by one frame each time. So I rapidly started smacking the button until I was in the map menu, then started doing it again until I was back in the game. I kept playing and sure enough, when my experience bar maxed out again it just stayed full and I didn't level up. So I hit the map button again and just like the first time I leveled up by going to the map screen. But after I got back in the game I looked in the inventory menu and saw that I was still level 2. The next time I leveled up I correctly went up a level. So I started to wonder if all of these problems might be from the controller I was using, so I whipped out my Steam controller. I reset my buttons, and started playing. Leveling up worked perfectly and besides not having a good d-pad, at least the game was somewhat functional -- until I died the first time. Then jump no longer jumped. B was now the jump button instead of A, and Y was now the attack button instead of X. I went to the bindings menu and everything looked normal, but I reset the bindings to the default anyway (by going to the keyboard and hitting left and right at the same time since you can't do that on a gamepad.) Thank sweet Jesus this fixed it -- until the next time I died. 4 deaths and 4 binding resets later, you could say I'm... frustrated. On top of everything the game just isn't that good. Leveling up isn't satisfying because you don't immediately see any effects of doing so. I think that your weapon has an experience bar, but I never got it to the second level, even after getting to the end of the 3rd level. You have a mana bar, but I never picked up anything that used it, and I picked up at least 4 powerups. I also never got a ranged weapon which made some big enemies almost impossible to kill without getting your health bar destroyed. Don't get me started on the ice level with the most slippery ice you've ever experienced. It's some mystical ice that defies the laws of physics and you never stop sliding. And by reading the reviews I found out that this game was MORE buggy before, and that the devs haven't updated it in a long time. Also, the soundtrack IS good, but there's only one track per area (not level, AREA) so in a game where you will be dying constantly you can look forward to hearing the same track for a long, long time.
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SquigM
1.9 hrs
Posted: April 13
If the controls were fixed this would be a great game. In particular, if you jump and then swing your sword your character continues on its path - you cannot change direction in mid air. This makes the game feel unresponsive and so is hard to recommend.
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AtypicalChuck
0.2 hrs
Posted: April 9
Jumping and combat in this game is as responsive as a blind person in a dodgeball tournament.
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Jon the Red
4.0 hrs
Posted: March 15
I absolutely adore the concept of the game. The music is wonderful, and a lot of the concepts are very easy to understand right off, so it's easy to get immersed in the game. But you can't get too comfy, because these will break you right out of that immersion:

-Randomly-generated levels that jumble up combinations of six room types, tops, and throw enemies wherever.
-Awful physics that make landing jumps tricky, or just bug out in impossible ways that often force you to die or quit. (Try the ice world for the worst controls of 2015.)
-A darkness system that I almost like, except your character's "light radius" is too small. (A veil of darkness hides enemies and terrain until you get close and "discover" it, but since the game often employs vertical shafts, this usually means you don't see enemies until it's too late to avoid falling on them.)
-Limited weapon selection, plus an XP system where they get stronger the more you use them, means you don't switch weapons nearly as much as them saying "Megavania" would have you believe.

I want to love this game, and I've cleared three worlds, but I don't know if I can bear much more of issues like this.
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K474n4_B493l
0.3 hrs
Posted: February 17
This game just needs to fix the jumping mechanics and this game would be a decent Roguelite platformer. However, seems like from looking through the community posts and negative reviews it seems like the devs kinda just don't care anymore. Well, if you devs can read this you guys can seriously make this a good game.
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entomberr
3.1 hrs
Posted: December 17, 2015
Beautiful pixel art and boring gameplay :(
I recomend watch walkthrough of this game on youtube to enjoy visual content, but don't recomend to buy it.
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|\/| ! C H 3 L 3
0.1 hrs
Posted: December 14, 2015
I do not like this game, but it is pleasant. Pleasant in the "Coffee break, i think ill play it" kind of way. I do not see myself invested in like like i have been with other Roguelikes (FTL, I am looking at you), but I can definitely see myself playing this when I have say, a couple minutes between classes.

I recommend it, but I wouldn't go out of my way to play it.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
61 of 81 people (75%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 24, 2015
Disappointed to see that the jumping mechanics have not been improved from early access despite ample criticism and time before the steam launch. It's impossible to slow your character in the air. Instead, he conserves momentum and reverses at full speed in the opposite direction. If you want to land a jump in one of the game's many awkward platforming moments, you must zig-zag back and forth and pray that you'll hit the target. I'm unable to comment on the rest of the game because the fundamentals feel so awful I can't bear to play it further. The developers should check out any decent platformer since the first Mario Bros.
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37 of 42 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: February 17, 2015
Looks like an interesting take on the metroidvania genre but I wouldn't know because the controls are messed up and I can't even rebind them since the arrow keys aren't functioning properly for me.

Until they fix this I can't in good conscience recommend an unplayable game.
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37 of 47 people (79%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
Recommended
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 19, 2015
A lone captain hurtling through the recesses of space in his wooden flying ship, his captain's log scrawls across the opening screen telling of a journey for treasure and relics beyond earthly knowledge, a strange and heinous eye beckoning him to the depths of strange uncharted catacombs.

Crystal Catacombs mixes a healthy dose of fast action dungeon delving with the brutal difficulty and randomized level layouts of the roguelike genre for one addictive and challenging combination.

Running and slashing your way through the corridors of the Crystal Catacombs is an almost ethereal experience, the monstrous and otherworldly designs of the grotesque enemies, dark corridors filled with countless hazards, the welcoming pulse of neon-light lit treasure and warp gate rooms all set in motion to MidnightEpsilon's incredible nostalgia-inducing chiptune soundtrack for a total arcade bliss-out.

For those who remember the days of slamming fistfulls of quarters into arcade cabinets or scribbling down complex series of passwords to retry that one impossible part of your favorite NES game for the millionth time, the difficulty and challenge of Crystal Catacombs will be a familiar affair.

The unseen instant-deaths from crushing pillars and barrage of seemingly unavoidable and well-calculated enemy attacks will have even the most seasoned gaming vet yelling "♥♥♥♥♥♥♥t!". This is the exact the kind of spirit those of us who hold video games dear to our childhood miss these days.

The uniquely themed stages feature a consistently high challenge and although they can be tackled head on, exploring your surroundings is imperative to your success. Though you can prepare yourself with extended exploration and discovery of supplies the stage's boss cannot be defeated by means of grinding, but instead with reflexes and skill all brought out in full force.

tl;dr
It's tough. You'll give up. A lot. But it's that ridiculous difficulty, that seemingly unsurpassable moment in an old arcade game that had us returning to it so many times throughout our lives and that's the same kind of yearning I get to go back and play Crystal Catacombs, as hard as it may seem.
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38 of 53 people (72%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 14, 2015
The jumps are awful and lack control, and wall jumps are even worse. Attacking is restrictive and clunky. You get locked in animations constantly. The graphics are so cluttered that it's hard to tell what's going on.

All of this leads to controlling the character being so clumsy and awkward that you end up running into monsters constantly simply because it's hard to physically move or parse what's going on. The game adds artificial difficulty purely by making the character control poorly and the graphics garbled.

This game is actively unpleasant to play, and the worst and most confusing part is that this seems to be an intentional design choice.
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31 of 41 people (76%) found this review helpful
Recommended
15.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 15, 2015
Crystal Catacombs is a super challenging metroidvania/roguelite hybrid with a phenomenal soundtrack, spectacular pixel art and a genuine retro feel.

First of all, I'd like to emphasize that all the reviews published prior to the date of this Steam release - especially the ones that criticize the game for having unresponsive controls and sluggish jumps - are kind of obsolete now. The controls have been tweaked which makes them perfectly tight and the jumping motion is twice faster now.
A tip to those who still complain: just because you're too lazy adapt to a different system it doesn't mean it's bad.

Moving on, the gameplay is notoriously hard to master. Each different area has its quirks and distinctive enemies you have to learn, and it requires a fair balance of cautious gameplay vs fast-paced movement in order to stay alive and still beat the clock. Some would call it brutally hard – especially in the beginning – but once you get the hang of it you realize it’s exceptionally well balanced and rewarding.

The loot is sparse, but rightfully so. As you make your way through the gorgeous procedurally-generated dungeons you’ll find amazing artifacts such as jet packs, fanny packs, plasma guns that shoot through walls, whips and alien bombs that can be used in many creative ways. A few noteworthy aspects of the game are the ingenious enemy design and variety; enemy friendly fire; being able to adjust the screen zoom; getting a checkpoint once you clear an area; and the fact that weapons level up as you use them.

Roguelite fans who seek a challenging yet rewarding experience will love it to death. The game will crush you hard, you will definitely rage, but you won't be able to stop until you reach your final goal.

EDIT: For those wondering how long it takes to beat the game it should take you around 8h to beat the game for the first time in nomal mode.
Once you know what you're doing, a good run can take you as little as 3 hours if you're lucky with the items and you don't die to bosses. But the average run should be close to 4-5h. There's also plenty of "replayability" with harder modes and especially the survival mode.
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29 of 39 people (74%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: April 4, 2015
Crystal Catacombs is one of my favourite style and genre of video game. It’s a random 8bit, dungeon, platformer. However, even though it’s my favourite style it saddens me that the game didn’t live up to expectations.

Before I get into the Pros and Cons here is what some people say about the game. Some say this game is difficult and that’s what makes it fun... I say there is a difference between difficult and unbalanced and it’s clearly difficult because it’s unbalanced which shouldn’t be the case. It should be difficult but balanced where the enemies and players scale properly per character level and game level which clearly isn’t the case.

But here’s what I found Positive and Negative:

Pros:

♦ Epic Concept (Random dungeons, items and different every play through makes it epic)
♦ Epic Sounds/Music
♦ Okay Graphics (I know these are old school 8bit graphics, but they could be better)
♦ Idea of Monster Cards are cool but should have more details on the cards (Cards spawn at random for killing a certain enemy to get their card. This is a cool concept that makes the game interesting as you can find out about the Monsters. However, the problem here is the cards don’t tell you anything except show a picture and a brief description. In my opinion, there should be more details on the cards like amount of health, damage and maybe a weakness?)
♦ The ability to zoom the camera in and out is really nifty

Cons:
♦ Levels and enemies don’t increase in Difficulty per level (You can be on level 1 and level 5 for example and enemies will still deal the same damage)
♦ Leveling only increases Health and MP (Doesn't seem to increase Defense which is lame as more health doesn't mean much if you still get hit the same amount of damage)
♦ Enemies are unbalanced compared to your Character. (For example your Character at level 1-3 is really weak and can’t do anything and then when you reach level 4 which gives you a skill point, if you put it in Attack your character is OP)
♦ Some really Strong units appear out of nowhere throughout levels and instantly kill you if they land a shot on you
♦ Some Biomes have enemies that blend in. For example: 90% of Pitt Monsters and Blue Batts and Worms on Ice Fortress (This is terrible as you can’t see the enemies to attack them)
♦ Deep Darkness Biome has an unkillable flying Pink Bombs that explode if touched causing you to lose a quarter health (These are annoying as they make you unable to do anything as you have to stand still to dodge them every 2 steps or so)
♦ Enemies spawn in weird places forcing you to hit them and die (This is really noticeable on The Pitt as enemies spawn on ledges just after lava, thus if you jump they push you into the lava which does a considerable amount of damage. Also enemies like to spawn in spots where you can’t dodge them so if you want to move forward you have to hit them)
♦ Weapon leveling is pointless and takes years (This is a nice feature as using a weapon gives it xp and if it levels up it becomes stronger. However, it’s way too slow and you’re far better off spending Skill Points on Attack which serves the same purpose)
♦ Gold seems pointless as shops are rare and expensive (You normally have far less gold than you need to buy something)
♦ Bosses are way too strong (They can kill you in a few shots, compared to you having to hit them numerous and you spawn in a small room with no platforms or ledges, so jumping over a reasonably large boss is hard and you are guaranteed to get hurt or die. Only way I killed one was with an item I had)
♦ Bosses don't give you anything you can't easily get in normal levels (This is lame as it makes them seem pointless)
♦ There are pointless rooms with ledges you can stand on to activate and the room lights up. (This is cool looking, but they don’t seem to do anything at all... Why put something in that doesn’t do anything?)
♦ Very repetitive (Each level is the same just different sizes until you get to a new biome or a boss level (Some levels may have a shop in them but that doesn’t really add anything new).
♦ Number of items are limited (I’ve picked up about 5 different items in 2 hours of play...)
♦ No Trading Cards (Could have updated to add some pretty awesome backgrounds, cards, badges and emoticons etc)
♦ No Global Highscores (Could have added Global Highscores for Survival mode where the person to reach the highest level was recorded etc. This would only work providing Survival is Endless, which I think it is.)

Overall, the game isn’t terrible in concept, the main problem is that it’s not very well scaled, balanced and the difficulty doesn’t seem to increase as you progress through which ruins it. Like if you can survive long enough to level your character 4 levels and get a Skill Point then from there on all you have to do is level up Attack and you’ll be fine until you get to a boss which in my opinion due to unbalancing you’ll get wrecked no matter what you do. Therefore, on a whole, with some improvement to the negatives... this game would be a pretty decent game. However, due to not being scaled, the unbalancing and the repetitiveness then I can’t recommend this (It’s fun and it’ll make you want to come back and play it... Although each time you do come back you cringe a little more at how repetitive and unbalanced it is).
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24 of 33 people (73%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 18, 2015
This game lives up only to the bare minimum of what it promises.

-It's a Roguelike: Yeah, it's random. You can explore the vast levels... but why? There's only two important things per level: The Treasure Chest room, containing the level's one unique item (which is usually a one-use special attack or potion, in my experience), and the key, which you need to progress to the next level. Aside from that, there are scant few other chests, all of which seem to contain money, which you'll NEED to use at the rarely appearing shops, because enemies only drop money one coin at a time, and never drop things a lot.

-It's a Megavania style game: Yeah, it's got the level template of 'big sprawling level you need platforming to get through'. But god, everything about this aspect of the game is poorly done. The controls are stiff and slow. Wall-jumping is extremely finicky. There's no incentive to explore, or any sort of map progression. The 'Warp' system is nearly entirely wasted. The enemies are hard to see against the rough, grainy backgrounds, and deal way too much damage to fit in with the game's unforgiving starting stats and low drop rate of any sort of healing.

It has possibly the strangest jump physics I've ever seen: When you jump, you're 'set' in an arc, but not how you'd expect. You can still turn around in mid-air, but you retain your speed, now moving in the opposite direction! So if you jump, and then want to fall STRAIGHT DOWN, have fun turning around repeatedly in order to land steadily. And don't even get me started on the ice level. Picture this: you're standing still. And you want to jump straight up. You press the button... and instead, you jump in an arc, right into the enemy you're fighting. It's a complete mess.


While it is better than it used to be, it is still unacceptable to call this a 'complete' game. I expected better.
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17 of 22 people (77%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 15, 2015
Great little Indie Rogue-like or a "..retro inspired “Megavanian” love letter.." to quote the Dev, which is a statement I am inclined to agree with. Great stuff.

The Pixel art has character and the music is cracking, there's not much wrong with it and the diverse locales and nice attention to detail ensures plenty of procedurally generated play time can be spent comfortably with-in the 'Crystal Catacombs' - which is just as well, as the challenge on offer is substantial.

The only thing that frustrates me is the jumping - no, not the unresponsiveness, that has indeed been addressed - specificially, the forced angle of decent when jumping left or right. The problem (for me) is that after jumping in a direction, you still continue in that direction, even after releasing the stick/key. Attempting to correct yourself means (most often) a desperate zig-zagging affair, which 90% of the time results in missing the platform completely. If only you fell straight down when jumping (unless holding a certain direction) then things would be perfect.

If Rogue Legacy, Spelunky, Vagante et el is your cuppa Tea, then you should consider this puppy..
(..if, whilst considering, it comes up on sale, stop considering, smile and throw money at the man) :approved:
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10 of 12 people (83%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 25, 2015
I don't know why so many bad reviews of this game. I liked it very much! It is an 8 bit retro rogue legacy. I use a gamepad to play it and it works well.
Not a very deep game, but it is challenging and fun. Get it on a sale and be happy!
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11 of 15 people (73%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 15, 2015
Been playing since Beta.. there have been huge improvements.
Getting used to the game is much like picking up any other new game.. Once you figure out all the controls, this game is a lot of fun. It is also frustratingly hard, but I really enjoy the challenge. If you want to play a roguelike game that won't let you walk all over it, this is the game for you!
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