This image is the official title screen for Crypt of the Serpent King. The credit, as well as, the rights of this image belong to Rendercode Games. This image is on Rendercode Games official website where this developer discuss Crypt of the Serpent King.

Independent Video Game Developers Are Booming with Modern Consoles

Within the videogame industry, indie developers have become much more well known.  To clarify, the name indie developer is the abbreviation to the name Independent Video Game Developer.  These Independent developers make their own games to then have their games license onto a console or streaming service.  Indie developers have made some spectacular games.  Some of these games include Cuphead, Undertale, and Five Nights at Freddys.  Each one of them has their own uniqueness that really comes through.  Until recently, I found a newer game by an indie developer name Rendercode Games.  This game’s name is Crypt of the Serpent King.  While this game is a little rough on the edges.  Crypt of the Serpent shows some potential that makes the game fun.  In this review, we’re going to examine how Crypt of the Serpent King is a frustrating yet fun retro game through the story, gameplay, controls and setting.

Crypt of the Serpent King Teaches That Not All Video Games Need to Have a Complex Story

The story of this game is very interesting.  This is due to the fact that Crypt of the Serpent King doesn’t have that complex of a story.  With that said, this doesn’t mean that this game is bad.  In fact, it’s different in a good way.  Without a doubt, stories in video games have made their mark as something not to be subjective.  There are so many games that have powerful, compelling stories that I can’t possibly name them all. Some that I can honestly think of on the top of my head include The Last of Us, and The Walking Dead. On the other hand, there are some games that don’t have a complex story.  Personally, I think that’s okay.  With Crypt of the Serpent King, the story is simple. Every time you open the game, “How to Play” shows in the menu. From there, the objective shows itself.  

Crypt of the Serpent King is a Role-Playing Game with the character on a quest. The way the story plays out is alright.  One of the things that irritates me is the character’s motive.  While yes, we know that this character is on a quest.  Yet, we don’t know why this character is on a quest.  Is this serpent king trying to take over the kingdom? At least with games like the original The Legend of Zelda, we know why Link is on a quest.  In this case, we have no motive as to why we’re facing the Serpent King.  Nevertheless, I would like to know some narratives as to why we’re facing the Serpent King.  Even in older games, they have some basic narrative as to why we’re facing an enemy.  The gameplay of Crypt of the Serpent King reflect the very early years of gaming. 

Game Play from Crypt of the Serpent King Reflects the Early Years of Video Games

The gameplay of this game without a doubt reflects retro gaming.  Typically, you start in a room where you have to select a path to go.  Depending on which way you select will determine what’ll happen next.  One of the good things about this game is that the map system.  In some older games, gamers have to memorize where rooms as well as items are.  In this game, the map tells the player where they have been.  As the player wanders around, there are keys the player needs to find.  However, these keys are on a platform with an instant death pit or fire.  These puzzles are made in a way to have the player think before acting.  More importantly, this type of gameplay discourages players simply racing through everything.  When a player goes into a room, there’s a chance that an enemy will spawn.  

Enemies can range from snakes to anthropomorphic rats.  Usually, the enemies are easy to take care of.  However, the only indication of the enemies coming is the change in music.  Which can pose as a problem for players who can’t use sound.  In one way, this can be seen as to always keep an eye on your surroundings.  On the other hand, having this type of gameplay will cause the player to lose health without being aware.  If you’re first playing the game, be prepared to die a lot.  In this game, the gameplay does feel a little stiff in the beginning.  Partially, I think that is due to the developers wanting to simulate a retro style of gaming.  Over time, the gameplay does get smoother as you learn the controls of the game.  One of the things that takes a long time to learn is the controls.

Crypt of the Serpent King‘s Controls Flashes Gamers Back to Single Controller

From the first moment you play this game, you’ll shortly realize that the controls reflect older games.  This is due to the fact that a majority of the commands come from one side of the controller.  Granted, the version of this game I’m reviewing is from the Nintendo Switch.  However, I don’t know what the controls are on other platforms.  In spite of this, Rendercode Games wants to simulate controllers with only one C-Pad.  The left analog stick is a control as well.  More specifically, the left analog stick is the way your character moves.  This tool is useful to look around the room since this game is using 3-D animation.  With the Nintendo Switch, the control placement feels nice.  Everything feels like where they need to be.  This game is a First-Person Perspective game.   In this case, a lot of gamers will get use to the change in perspective.

Although everything seems nice, being able to play the game at first will be a challenge.  This is due to action delays that this game has.  For instance, if you press the attack button which is the A button there will be a delay.  As a result, the player needs to give themselves plenty of enough distance.  In the same instance, this also applies to getting the key puzzles.  There’s a delay that the jump action has.  Unfortunately, this will mean a lot of death the first few times playing the game.  Without question, this will cause frustration.   With that said, the game does urge the player to continue.  All of the experience you get in the level will help level up your character.  While the controls aren’t perfect, they do help the player out when possible.  More importantly, the setting helps set the mood of this game. 

The Setting of Crypt of the Serpent King Sets an Eerie Tone

Within video games, the setting will make or break a player’s experience.  In this game however, the setting is dull.  While yes, this game clearly takes place in a series of castles.  Typically, a castle has more than one type of design.  They have kitchens, libraries, and even the throne room.  Although, this game doesn’t have that.  I will say that there’s an underground level which is possibly symbolic of the escape room for royalty.  However, the other levels contain in a dark and eerie castle.  On one hand, I will say that what the developers did a wonderful job portraying a dark and eerie environment.  Granted, this is of course if you have the sound on.  There’s audio cues as well as different elements that make the levels creepy.  Like I state previously, to make sure to always keep an eye on your surrounds.  This defiantly applies here.

However, I must put some constructive criticism here.  With the exception of the Underground and the Egyptian temple level, all of the rest of the levels are mundane castles.  To be honest, I would have love to see some varieties in the levels.  Maybe one of the rooms is a kitchen.  Then, the player has to jump over or figure out where the key is in a series of drawers.  Within the hallways, there’s mechanics for chests.  Drawers could have been used to find a key.  Additionally, there’s a series of barrels throughout the castles.  My first instinct is to hit them.  Maybe next time have the barrels break putting in some loot. Even more, maybe put some enemies in the barrels. This element makes the player think about whether to hit the barrel or not. While setting isn’t perfect, it does make for a very eerie atmosphere. 

All in All, Crypt of the Serpent King is a Frustrating, Yet Fun Time

In this review, we took a deep look at how Crypt of the Serpent King is both frustrating yet fun game.   Firstly, we analyze the story of this game.  While not perfect, this game does offer a simple story to help assist players along.  We also examine the gameplay of Crypt of the Serpent King.  Though rough in the beginning, the gameplay does get easier as the player plays more.  Next, we’ve taken a look at the controls of the game.  We know for a fact that this game is trying to emulate retro gaming controllers.  However, the controls of this game can be at times frustrating.  Finally, we did an investigation of the setting.  Unfortunately, this game isn’t the prettiest.  Nonetheless, Crypt of the Serpent King sets the setting of being in a dark, eerie castle. 

While by no means is this game perfect, I could see myself playing this game again.  Maybe not as frequently as other games I have on the Nintendo Switch.  With this in mind, this game is worth taking a look at.  For future reference, I hope that Rendercode Games shows a little bit more basic story in there next game.  Despite this, I would give Crypt of the Serpent King a try to at least support the developers for future games.   

Open For Discussion

Hey guys! I want to say thank you for reading this review.  As always, I want to ask you guys. What do you think of this game?  Did you like it or not? Have you fully beaten this game? Fill free to leave your opinions in the comments section. Honestly, I want to know if anyone else has played this game. 

Also, if you want to learn more about this game, fill free to follow this link to Rendercode Games.  On this website, it will discuss in detail what Crypt of the Serpent King is. 

Additionally, if you would like to try this game out, here’s the links to purchase Crypt of the Serpent King.  Firstly, this first link is for X-Box users.  The next link is for users on Steam.  Following that link, this next link is for the Nintendo Switch.  I should note that this review was done through the Nintendo Switch version.  Last but certainly not least, this final link is for PlayStation users.  Fill free to check this game out to support Rendercode Games. 

If you like what you see here, consider reviewing my latest review of Demon Slayer on Families Stick Together.  

Finally, if you want to receive any news regarding pop-culture, create an account today at Geek Street Society. 

Thank you so much for reading this review. I’ll see you guys next time for another review here on Geek Street Society.