Seeing a game pop up that is priced under five dollars or Euro often spells one of two scenario’s. Either you have found a golden gem that is insanely fun and worth alot more then what you paid for. Or it is a tried but failed attempt to lure in people easily just to find a game that is broken or boring after just playing it once. Sadly Crypt of the Serpent King falls a bit more in the latter part.
Crypt of the Serpent King is a first-person dungeon crawler where you take control of a hero tasked to navigate through a seven-level dungeon in order to banish the evil Serpent King. Just like in games like Dark Souls you start the adventure with a very weak weapon and low stats that you can upgrade by collecting gold and XP from enemies found on each and every floor of the dungeon. The main focus is to spend your exp to raise your stats and buy stronger weapons to vanquish the enemies on later levels more easily. This is a pretty basic formula that works fine but there is nothing really more special then that to it.
Every dungeon floor plays the same way. You collect a number of keys to get to the end boss and you try to defeat it to go further. The issue here is that despite every floor looking differently from one another they all feel the same in terms of the level design. Corridors and rooms feel exactly the same just with a different color palette, even the key rooms all follow the exact same pattern of being in a square room guarded by a deadly hazard of some sort that you need to avoid. This not only applies to the level layout but also to the enemies found on each floor. On each floor, you fight about 10 to 20 enemies across the floor. But the funny, or rather sad, thing is there is only one enemy type per floor, meaning that this shortcoming becomes a real issue quite fast. The boss themselves are fine, I actually like their designs although I wish you had to apply different strategies in order to take them down instead of fighting them as if they were regular enemies.
The game as a whole really is very simple, from the gameplay down to the visuals and sound design which are quite serviceable given this is a budget indie game. Taking down the Serpent King should take most players roughly an hour but trying to collect everything and discovering the (pretty slim) amount of collectables will take you a little while longer.
Despite the fact that the game costs about as much as a soda there isn’t a whole lot to Crypt of the Serpent King. Unless you crave for more action games or are insanely curious to see what’s wrong with the game first hand you’re better off saving your money for something else. Yes, this is an incredibly cheap dungeon crawler and it functions correctly but it does the bare minimum to stand out as well. Sadly the solid, yet basic, RPG foundation of Crypt of the Serpent King is nowhere near enough to make it stand out.
If you want a small and quick game you could try out Crypt of the Serpent King. Yet the developers didn’t only ask the bare minimum price, they also delivered a bare minimum game.