Title: Crayon Chronicles
Platform: PC, Steam
Reviewed on Windows
Genre: RPG, Dungeon Crawler, Rogue-Lite
Players: Single player

Written by Whistler 6th April 2015






















Ah childhood, I still fondly remember the days I feverishly spent drawing maps and characters on grid based paper and even created stand up paper avatars to traverse my imagination. Alas I do not have the time nor patience for that sort of guff but a little quaint title by the name of Crayon Chronicles allows me to have a similar experience from the comfort of my computer.

What struck me is initially Crayon Chronicles seems like a far more child friendly rogue-lite compared to it’s familiar cousins like Dungeons of Dredmore or Sword of the Stars: The Pit and that is true enough at least when it comes to the visuals. Crayon Chronicles sports a colourful pallet with a surprisingly fresh style where all items and sprites are represented in a paper cut out fashion. While at first I actually felt the style was off-putting and somewhat lacking in quality I did begin to warm up to its simplistic charm, it does however still feel a little rushed but is consistent throughout.

However along with the simplistic visuals is rather simplistic depth, this is of course not necessarily a bad thing but I did feel it decreases the replay value which tends to be crucial for a rogue-lite and especially a dungeon crawler. While both the previous mentioned similar titles had classes with different skills and attributes CC has neither, there is a choice of your ‘heart’ which has options like champion, unicorn, dragon and hedgehog but I could never figure out what or how it affects in the game even after scouring the internet. The lack of character class means you start the game off the same every time and only randomized items really change things up.












In fact the game lacks most if not all form of depth that usually makes this genre enjoyable; weapons come in many forms like double edged axes, poison swords, owl on a sticks or hammers but weapons never really have those crazy abilities that make Binding of Isaac feel fresh for so long nor really feel all that impactful like in Dredmore. Your stats are split between 5 attributes being life, power, dodge, aim and luck, each being fairly self-explanatory. When you level up you can attune 2 separate points to any of the attributes bar life and items you collect can affect these but that’s as far as the depth goes, you do get similar weapons that can have vastly different stats but after 2-3 tries at the game I just lost interest.

Which leads me to a rather glaring flaw in Crayon Chronicles, the game never seems sure as to what route it wants to follow, while the first section of the game is ludicrously easy and is lacking in depth, the second section of the game almost unfairly ramps the difficulty up within seconds.

The rather infamous Graveyard levels is notorious for having some unfair gameplay elements particularly being the skeleton archers. Throughout the game you do run into ranged enemies that can hit you from afar so long as they have vision of you, however the player can only fire in horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines meaning at times you can be incredibly disadvantaged. This coupled with the skeleton archers seemingly infinite range and tendency to be in groups means you’ll almost be one shotted the second you’re in range of them without even having a snowball’s chance of getting damage off on one of them.
















Because of this section I’m just unsure of who the target audience is, at first it seems like the perfect ‘my first rogue-lite’ which would mean the lack of meaningful character creation and difficulty or depth would be completely justified. However it instead shoehorns in a rather obnoxious difficulty curve that removes this notion and instead just feels like a missed opportunity to make an enjoyable accessible rogue-lite which pretty much demised my enjoyment for Crayon Chronicles.

I will admit though that I am being harsh on what is a modest £3 title.
Crayon Chronicles is a simple easy to pick up rogue-lite that’s a nice change of pace for when you just want to chill out and get in some casual gaming.
However for a £3 title I only managed 2 hours before I just couldn’t stomach the lack in variety and I wouldn’t recommend it personally.


Pros:    

Fresh take on the genre,

First section is very accessible,

Colourful visuals.


Cons:   

Obtuse controls,

Lacks notable variety,

Sudden difficulty spikes.


Final verdict,

Crayon Chronicles certainly brings back great childhood memories but doesn’t do much to earn a 4.5/10.


Written by,

Whistler














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