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Crystal Catacombs procedurally generates neon sci-fi, roguelikey platform exploration

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Nobody would blame you for having had your fill of sidescrolling, procedurally generated platforming roguelikes, but Crystal Catacombs (opens in new tab) might be worth a curious glance before you swear off the sub-sub-genre forever. For one thing, it's gorgeous, employing tiny yet detailed and colourful (but not garishly so) pixel art to bring its neon cavey world to life. It's a slightly different breed of game to something like Spelunky - the physics are nowhere near as delightfully precise - but you should find something to enjoy here if you traversed your way through Super Metroid or Symphony of the Night back in the day. Details and demo link after the break.

I've played the demo - you can also play the online demo here (opens in new tab) - and I have to say, I'm not a fan of the floaty jump physics and reliance on wall-jumping. I did eventually get somewhat used to it, because I find the game's shimmering, characterful art design and exploration focus so appealing, but be aware going in that it's not quite as slickly engineered as other platformers of this ilk.

Here are some of the things you can expect, if you decide that Crystal Catacombs is worthy of your $10: procedurally generated levels, an RPG-style character upgrade system, various artifacts to augment your character with, bosses, jungles, caves, the colour purple, and the neat ability to zoom in and out for a better view. I suspect the following trailer will pique your interest - it certainly did mine.

Crystal Catacombs is out now. You can vote for it over on Steam Greenlight (opens in new tab) if you like.

Cheers, RPS (opens in new tab) .

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.