This week in Indie Focus we have Coin Crypt, a rogue-like adventure game which is a bit like a trading card game, but with coins. Randomly generated, perma-death and top-down, it combines the usual rogue-like tropes with a relatively unique combat system and a bright, colourful aesthetic to make a charming and often oddly tense experience.
As a lootmancer, you can see and use the powers that are found inside coins. Naturally, you use this to duel with other lootmancers as you wander around various environments. The powers range from simple things like dealing damage and healing yourself to stealing coins from your opponent and inflicting status effects. When you use a coin in a duel it is gone forever and if you run out it’s game over, so you are seeing an inventory filled with different powers that are constantly changing in amount.
If you aren’t careful you’ll find yourself low on health with no healing coins or swamped with them when at full health. It is more than just collecting coins, you need to ensure that you collect a range of coins so they are there in combat when you need them. If you have no damage dealing coins your only hope is to last until your opponent runs out, whereas a lack of healing or shielding can be just as crippling in the right (or wrong) circumstances.
You will find more coins in chests, but you can only take a certain amount of them as the chests are all cursed (with a gameplay mechanic), so you need to choose the coins you want to take. When you beat an opponent you will also get their remaining coins to add to your arsenal and use later. During combat, coins are randomly drawn into your hand for you to use. Each coin has a cast time, with more powerful coins taking longer. They can be drawn singularly or in stacks – that is, if you draw three of a coin that does four damage they will stack and can all be used at once, stacking the coins’ effects to cause 12 points of damage.
The drawback to this is that, should you draw those three coins against an opponent who has only 3 health left you are wasting two whole coins and since survival depends on conserving your coins it is wise to be careful how you spend them. Another pitfall you can fall into is having too many coins as during combat you will be relying on particular powers and if they are vastly outnumbered they are unlikely to be drawn into your hand for use. Once you use a coin from your hand, the remaining coins will go back into your inventory and more are drawn.
Once you die (and you will, my first three deaths were on floor two) you will be able to unlock classes by spending the total value of the coins you earned with a bonus based on how far you progressed. There are plenty of classes to unlock and each of them has pros and cons. The thief, for example, gains 20% additional loot from both enemies and chests but has four less health, whereas the gunslinger has a 33% increase cast speed but can’t stack coins or re-draw his hand. Each one must be played differently if you want to do well and as there are 18 in the game at the moment there are certainly a lot of options tactically.
Items can be bought that will grant various benefits, such as previewing the next room, or showing the way to the level’s exit. They are bought by trading your coins, which all have a dollar value, in shops. Of course if you are trading your coins for items you have fewer coins and are closer to a game over, so care is advised. Before I even realised that I was trading my coins I bought an item only to die at my next fight because I ran out. There aren’t too many items in the game yet but there will be more when it leaves Early Access. You can also donate coins to deity statues who will put extra coins into chests, making said chests glow. Which coins the deity can place depend on its personality.
There are a variety of enemies, each of which uses specific coins and tactics. One of the more interesting foes is the Armor, which is a suit of armour that can’t be damaged, but doesn’t have many coins, and there’s a glass cannon-type enemy – whose name escapes me – that has only four health, but hold only coins that deal six (a lot) damage each. So even the enemies have varied tactics that you have to account for in your own plan of attack.
Coin Crypt is surprisingly complex considering its cheery aesthetic and provides plenty of room to give your brain a good work out should you like a bit of game theory. It’s also full of tension, as when you have only one health and you go into battle you are likely dead if you don’t manage to shield or heal yourself adequately in time, especially with classes with lowered health or ones that lose coins when walking around. Efficiently taking out an enemy before they can so much as throw up a shield is on-par with a gorgeous headshot or a perfectly timed counter as far as satisfaction goes and it’s one that hasn’t gone away for me yet.