FastCrawl is a great little game which I highly recommend. It’s a downloadable PC Indie game and it’s one of my favourite genres – RPG.

I haven’t played any modern equivalents of this game and that’s because it’s somewhat unique in its premise. It’s more like the old classics such as Larn in that it generates a random dungeon for you to “crawl” around. However, these dungeons are quite small so that you can have a “fast” game – very important for busy execs like myself 😉 I was supposed to review this ages ago but got waylaid with programming my latest game, so apologies to the developers.

FastCrawl1You can choose the Difficulty level and then the Game Length, which can vary from Short (approx. 30 mins), through Medium, to Long (approx. 60 mins). A random dungeon is generated with a basic story outline and there are several different graphic/dungeon types for variety. The game itself is played with a big 2D map that you move around, a character sheet, and a party of random size (up to 5). I think there are only four character types: Warrior, Mage, Cleric and Rogue and they obviously have their own unique uses. The randomness of the starting party and dungeon certainly adds variety as you are forced to try to cope with what you are given – easy at first, but not at all easy on the more challenging modes.

Your party needs to be fed and every time you move a square you use up rations – and if you run out you die! (happens quite a lot if you are unlucky – but you can find more rations in chests and when fighting monsters). Some squares have doors, some have treasure and some have monsters (some have all three of course). Eventually you fight your way to some stairs and go down a level, whereupon you are given some stats for the level you just completed. If I recall correctly, the Short, Medium and Long game types are 3,4, and 5 levels deep respectively (something like that).

FastCrawl2Combat is cool. You have a grid of 6 slots (2×3) on the left in which you can place your characters and the enemy party is automatically laid out on the 6 slots on the right. Only characters in the front row can make a melee attack on the enemies, unless you have a spear and are on the back row. You can obviously shoot arrows from the back row too, and that’s the best place to put weedy mages. Characters in the front row get hit a lot too! The combat is turn based and in order of initiative. There are a couple of different attacks/moves based on your character type and you can of course retreat. The enemies sometimes gang up on one of you and your cleric is continuously healing them. Mages can also get spells which affect the entire enemy party (All the characters level up and can choose from a limited range of special abilities). Also your party, and enemy parties, can have various extra cold/fire damage and also resistances. Kinda standard stuff really.

Naturally you pick up various better weapons and armour as well as healing potions and scrolls of resurrection, which come in very handy. I did find the items a little limited though and wished for some exciting potions that I could use in combat such as Strength or Speed etc. I really hope that they make a sequel and can cram in some more items. Oh, there’s no shops btw, you just keep going deeper, you never go up to the surface again.

One bugbear was if someone dies and you want to resurrect them but don’t have a scroll handy, you have to carry round their corpse – but because they are so heavy you have to drop all your stuff!

The graphics are fine and functional, the music is nicely atmostpheric, and the sound effects work well too. I was REALLY addicted to this (obsessively is accurate) at first then after a reasonable number of hours I began to find it a bit samey and also very difficult (because I was gradually pushing up the difficulty slider). I’d love to see a sequel with some more content and more options in combat. Anyway, if you like RPGs, please try the demo, you WILL like it I’m sure.

Jake

I'm an Indie game developer with a couple of titles under my belt. I've been programming for 23 years on a variety of platforms. Currently I'm using BlitzMax, which is great.

2 Comments »

  1. hmmm… i tried this game demo, but in my opinion its rather boring. if you are into indie rpgs i would suggest styrateg. found it much more entertaining. but that’s only my personal opinion.