Crystal Rift Review
Explore dungeon after dungeon while solving puzzles, navigating mazes and collecting valuable artifacts as you unravel the story of a necromancer. With its grid based system, simplified combat approach and creepy atmosphere, Crystal Rift delivers enjoyable game play on multiple levels.
Genre: Grid Based First Person Exploration Game
Controller: Dual Shock
Length: ~10 hours
PlayPSVR Score: 5.5
Crystal Rift is one of the only dungeon crawlers in the PSVR library and one that I think deserves your attention if you a fan of these types of games. You play as an adventurer trapped in a seemingly endless assortment of dungeons and must fight your way out by solving puzzles, battling enemies and using your wits to progress.
The first thing one will notice is the grid based graphics and game mechanics. Depending on the person this may seem unappealing to you. Granted, this game isn't going to be the most mystifying thing you will see on the PSVR, if you know this going in, the graphics are fine. If you like minecraft, discovery for the PSVR or Just In Time Incorporated, you will get more of the same. I will say, this limitation really hurts the game in terms of being creepy. You can only make environments so unsettling with cubes.
The game play mechanic is also simple with grid based movements and dungeons. You can move in 4 different lines (left, right, forward, backward). This makes combat quite easy and overall makes many of the puzzles easier too. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but dont expect Skyrim type game play because you will be sorely disappointed. The combat is pretty simple. Enemies rise up from the ground, come after you, and you move out of their line of site, step the side and hit them with your sword. Keep doing this until they die.
You start off with a simple sword, but as you progress you will collect new ones with unique powers such as one that shoots fire balls, poison, electric shocks, ice and one that shields you from some incoming attacks. Again, very simple, but the game does a great job utilizing each sword in a different way and forces you to change them often enough to keep it interesting and to fully utilize each sword's abilities.
The environments in this game are very good and pretty spooky for a grid based game. The thing that really seals the deal here is music and anticipation. So the music is outstanding and really sets the mood. It just puts you in that Halloween type atmosphere and makes you enjoy the game so much more. Also, this game is set up to be jump scare heaven. However, they utilize jump scares very rarely. Which is genius. The whole time you are thinking that this is a great opportunity to scare the pants off you by having an enemy pop up, but it happens so rarely that the anticipation just makes you be on edge for the entire game.
Along with being impressed with the environments and the dungeon designs, the puzzles were pretty decent too. Nothing was out of this world hard, rather each was pretty simple. There were a few times where I got completely lost and had to meander around for like 1 hour, but overall the difficulty was about right where it should be. You are tasked to find many keys to open doors and other areas to explore. You can also find other artifacts and hidden goodies. The first ten levels were jokes, but after that the puzzles started getting a little harder and you had to be more intentional with your movements and how you attacked each one.
One thing that makes this game difficult is that you must master the puzzles that involve tumbling rocks, shooting projectiles and evading hazards. Hit detection is not forgiving here, if you try to by yourself a few nanoseconds and move before the projectile or rock is all the way past you it will cost you. Although always challenging, they were right on the edge of being anger inducing, but never crossed that threshold. There is a nice mix between these types of traps, puzzles and combat.
I really enjoyed that each level had some hidden treasures to find. You can find skulls that are hidden in either really obvious places you will have to run into or ones that you have to dig some to get. There are then hidden crystal treasures that are difficult to find and you have to really pay attention or go out of your way to find. It really makes the game more enjoyable and replayable when you are going through a level looking for hidden breaks in the walls, hidden buttons, etc.
For the $12.99 price tag, the value is great for this game. It will take you at least 10 hours to play and there are no lulls in game play. So if you are world about getting jipped, that isn't an issue with this game.
So I'm sure at this point you are wondering, "Adam, you gave the game a 5.5 rating, but you have only had good things to say". I agree, and honestly I can't point to anything that is done poorly. The problem in general is that it doesn't pack a punch in terms of game play. It isn't boring, but is isn't exciting either. I just didn't have that much fun playing it. Not because it was glitchy, poorly built or anything like that. But this type of game doesn't lend itself to a knee slapping good time. And to me, the whole reason to play a game is to have fun. If it's not fun, it takes a major hit in my book.
Crystal Rift is a lengthy, in depth grid based dungeon crawler with a nice combination of puzzles, combat and value. Although it struggles to make a lasting impression, if you like these dungeon crawlers and you want to enjoy a good, creepy atmosphere, then I recommend Crystal Rift. Otherwise, stick with the more mainstream games such as RE7, Farpoint or Wipeout to help scratch that VR thrill itch.
PlayPSVR Score: 5.5