By Lex "Gaz the Dungeonmaster" Ansems on September 30, 2014
You wake up alone in a dark and damp dungeon cell... great, thatís really how I want to start a Monday morning. You might or might not find this idea appealing, but itís the beginning of the new indie game called TinyKeep. Nice premise, but is it any good? Who knows, letís play, fail at it and then play some more to find out!
TinyKeep has a great concept; you wake up all alone in a dungeon and you need to get out because well... ah come on, I mean who wants to stay in a dungeon all their life?! So you pick up a shield and sword and start fighting your way out of there. Besides bludgeoning enemies to death, you learn to make use of the various traps, scattered throughout the halls. By pitting them against each other you distract enemy forces and even make the traps do some of your dirty work for you, so all in all a great idea!
The visuals of the game are good but donít expect HD graphic quality. At the very start of the dungeon, you can create your own character. On the downside however, there is no loot or anything to be found. So no pimp-my-character mechanics are in place, and you will be stuck with just a sword and a shield. The enemies and the character itself look like bobble-head figurine, which makes them great to look at. The environment might be slightly repetitive at times, but stays appealing to the eye and it looks the part. It looks exactly like what a dungeon should look like.
The game itself is FREAKING HARD!! Not just because of the perma death mechanics and the overwhelming amounts of enemies, some of which seem to be invincible (The buggers just wonít die!), but also because of a few design issues and that is a major downside to me. Slain enemies and random piles of debris block your path, preventing you from sprinting for your life when a hoard of monsters chases you.
The controls are simple but clunky, the game lacks re-bindable hotkeys and the combination of shift (sprinting) and TAB (opening the map) opens the steam menu on my pc so while I was running for my life, I couldn't open the map to see where the hell I was going.
The in-game music, on the other hand, is great! It fits the gameís overall theme and enhances the whole TinyKeep experience. This soundtrack is now available for purchase on Bandcamp. You could use it while playing another dungeon crawler with bad music or even use it in your D&D game to spice things up (hey, I usually review board games so I had to make a reference one way or anotherÖ)
To be honest after a dying for the 20th time in the same boss fight, TinyKeep lost a bit of its charm for me. The game has a great concept however the execution has some flaws, the clunky controls and design flaws made me rage at the game more than I usually would. The soundtrack is great, the visuals are nice but didnít quite wow me. All in all, a fun little game that does leave something to be desired though.