What happens if a Metroidvania, some Hollow Knights and Zelda like elements meet a cat? Of course, Crypt Custodian is born.

Let’s start by saying that the Crypt Custodian demo was a real surprise. Even for a regular player like me who has played a lot of them. Its structure comes from a strong metroidvania spirit which then strongly cites the elements of other cornerstones of the aforementioned genres.

Let’s start from the beginning and come to the story and its incipit. Our protagonist is Juno, a little black cat who gets hit by a car and ends up in a place called The Palace.

From here, after speaking with PIP, we make our way towards Kendra, the entity who will have to judge and decide our fate. In the incipit we discover the first game mechanic. After finding a broom we can clear some paths that were previously closed by statues and ruins, just like a standard attack. This very act will infuriate Kendra who, since we have destroyed her effigies, will condemn us to be the janitor of the afterworld.

Now our adventure begins.

The Elements that Make Up Crypt Custodian

First of all, the game developed by Kyle Thompson while his brother Eric takes care of the music is basically a metroidvania. So upgrades and abilities will have to be bought or earned. Defeating a powerful enemy, overcoming a challenge, discovering secrets and backtracking, will be the main mechanics, from what I saw in the demo.

The influence of Hollow Knight is felt above all in the exploratory and customization nature of the character. In fact, Juno can choose between a series of skills to equip, each of which costs slots. Exactly like the amulets present in the Team Cherry game. The number of slots can be increased by acquiring them for the game world. Even the secrets, scattered throughout, like objects for side quests, are very similar to Hollow Knight. Just think of the souls of imprisoned kittens that must be returned to their mother, do you remember anything? Or a tavern where we can buy upgrades, use other collectibles and talk to NPCs.

Regarding the Zelda references we have more basic-gameplay things. First of all the three-quarter camera view which recalls titles like A Link To The Past. Furthermore, the game has puzzle elements and elements of overcoming non-trivial environmental traps. These last two elements are very reminiscent of the Nintendo concept.

Finally, there are the famous checkpoints where we can regenerate life points and equip the skills acquired. In Crypt Custodian, however, there is no corpse run, an essential element of every Soulslike. The game in this element is more relaxed and checkpoints, represented as wells, can also teleport the player from one point to another.

What We Liked About Crypt Custodian

The aesthetics and music are very captivating and are really well done. The map, although it is a demo, is decidedly large to explore and well interconnected. In terms of gameplay and the feeling pad in hand, the sensations are good. The protagonist has, in addition to the normal attack with the broom, a dodge with cooldown and a jump. Furthermore, after filling an amphora which is at the top right, near the life points, we can use a special skill. The idea of ​​using the broom to clean the areas is also nice, thus collecting the game currency.

As I remembered, the puzzle elements are fun and also challenging. Every time we meet a totem, a challenge will start. Basically in a narrow space we have to kill a certain number of enemies and survive. Once these tests have been overcome, an important path or even some useful shortcuts will open up. Some of them, where the difficulty level is higher, will often lead to secrets or collectibles.

Last, but not least is the boss fight that concludes the demo. Interesting, with different phases depending on the enemy’s life points and also challenging.

My Two Cents

Fascinating atmospheres, sense of humor, good gameplay and good level of challenge. This is what we saw in the Crypt Custodian demo. A metroidvania to try and also to wait for. A demo that will keep you busy for at least a couple of hours, if you enjoy searching for everything.

Crypt Custodian is expected in Q3 2024.

I can’t wait for it.

I'm a musician (pianist), a nerd and a longtime manga lover. My gamer life started with a copy of Pitfall (1982) for Atari 2600, and so I grew up hand to hand with this medium until now. Later I started to look for what's behind the final product, its design and what happens behind the scenes of the video game world.