Crown Trick is an easy to learn, hard to master turn-based rogue-like with a great presentation and tough but enjoyable combat. It fits into the rogue-like mould with a few standard elements; random encounters, enemies, weapons and dungeon layout but also does enough to make it stand out amongst the wave of rogue-likes that have been releasing on PC recently. In the game you play as Elle, a young girl who finds herself trapped in the realm of Nightmares and with the help of a magic crown, has to stop those responsible for keeping her there.
The most noticable aspect of individuality within Crown Trick is the presentation of the whole game. The sharp cartoon design works very well with the characters, enemies and combat elements all being easily distinguishable and generally just very well designed. There’s nothing worse when having lots of abilities, status effects and equipment than having to hunt through countless menus to find out what they all do. Thankfully the UI and general combat effects are all displayed very clearly. The game does a good job of almost completely eliminating menu clutter with a simple mouse-over mechanic. Need to know what that pit of fire/relic/weapon does? Just mouse over it and all will be revealed! Simple yet effective and makes the overall feel of the game flow very freely.
The other immediately noticable aspect that makes Crown Trick stand out is it’s take on turn-based movement. Movement around the map is essentially free flowing, you can wander about at leisure looking for secrets and exploring all the rooms of the dungeon. Importantly though, when you enter combat enemies will only move when you move, attack or use and action. This allows you to take your time during those tough combat moments to scope out your best options, whilst being free to walk about when not in the midst of battle.
The combat can become very tough, especially if you find yourself without a decent weapon or spells for that encounters specific mechanics. It can be unforgiving if you choose not to pay attention to status effects or mechanics at all. This is not a game where you wander the halls of the dungeon slaying enemies with ease. Even on the first dungeon, the boss and mini-boss are very hard and can take several attempts and upgrades before you can beat it. Learning mechanics for these fights is important and so repeated attempts are expected and death is at some point inevitable. As you traverse through the dungeons you will collect spells and weapons from fallen enemies and chests. These random selections and combinations provide the combat with a lot of variation and make sure that these repeated attempts feel fresh and exciting.
Fear not for when you do find yourself in the throes of death all is not lost, this is a rogue-like after all. In between dungeon attempts you will find yourself in the upgrade hub where you can improve various stats and abilities for your next attempt. Improvements like more effective healing, more healing items, more damage and more gold dropped per enemy are the kinds of things that you can expect and with each of these upgrades you will the find the game that tiny little bit easier. At the end of each dungeon floor (there are several floors per dungeon before you encounter the boss) you will be able to hand in weapon blueprints and buy more weapons and runes with collected gold.
If there’s one criticism I could point out with Crown Trick it’s that they don’t allow access to enough dungeons early on. The story requires you to face one particular dungeon and until you beat that you can’t access the rest of the content. I struggled for a bit at first making it to the end boss of the first dungeon several times, only to be overpowered, die and have to face the whole dungeon all over again. With a little bit more variety and choice of progression, this initial section would feel a lot better and would boost what is already a good game to potetial greatness.
The Verdict – Headshot
Platforms Available – PC, Switch
Platform Reviewed – PC
Please see this post for more on our scoring policy. Steam review code supplied by PR.