Get ready to unleash your vocabulary in Cryptmaster, the wacky dungeon-crawling adventure where words reign supreme. You can play the demo of this hilarious game during LudoNarraCon 2023, between 5–9 May 2023.
Developed by Paul Hart and Lee Williams, and published by Akupara Games, Cryptmaster turns what you say, either by voice or typing, into actions. It’s dungeon-crawler meets Scribblenauts and it’s an absolute blast. It’s giving 1993 Nightmare VHS board game but even better.
The demo starts with a dark, creepy-voiced narrator who revives you and your party of adventurers from another location in the Underland. Your team of undead heroes, including Joro the warrior, Syn the rogue, Maz the bard, and Nix the mage, embark on a journey through mysterious subsurface kingdoms filled with strange characters like talking doors, flirtatious toads, and sarcastic ghouls. But be warned, each battle is fueled by words meaning you’ll need to decipher forgotten spells and type their names in battle to unleash your undead hero’s might.
You’ll progressively learn new skills and attacks by guessing the letters of these moves. By typing or speaking them to the game, you’ll eventually learn to “hit” or “boot” enemies you encounter. It’s a very engaging way to design progression in the traditional dungeon-crawler setup.
But Cryptmaster is not just about fighting enemies – it’s also about using uncovering words to solve quests, charm characters, and play a variety of unexpected mini-games. You’ll encounter chests, which you can gloriously interact with by yelling chest at your screen, and the Cryptmaster will engage in a curious game of “guess what’s in the box”. You can ask the Cryptmaster to basically do anything aside from a couple of recommendations, like “taste” or “feel”… and even the naughtier stuff too which might waste the limited guesses but is comedy gold nonetheless. Each correct guess reveals an extra letter that will help you discover more abilities. The full game promises dark fantasy fishing and bard rap battles, this game will constantly surprise you with new mechanics.
In combat, you have a limited number of letters to type before the enemy strikes one of your characters. To minimise the damage your party takes, you need to deal enough damage by writing attacks like “jab,” “zap,” or “trip.” You can also use skills outside of battle, like Nix’s ability to summon crabs that can do some damage before combat begins.
The dungeon is filled with secrets waiting to be uncovered, like a soul stone that the narrator wants you to find, or a statue of a goddess who refuses to help you because you’re undead. The Cryptmaster asks how you want to destroy the statue, or you can choose to leave it alone and see what happens. Of course, screaming “defecate” in your small apartment complex with thin walls completely ruins the statue and all dignity you had with your neighbours.
This is only one of many promising game demos part of LudoNarraCon 2023. There is a big line-up of games, including the first public demo of the musical game Stray Gods. After five years of the event, this year exhibits 43 games, 15 panels and fireside chats and over 35 games demos to play.
Either way, I implore you to gather your housemates or family and play the brief snippet of Cryptmaster we have right now. You’ll be yelling and screaming “RUB IT!” or “IT’S A RAT!” and other obscene verbs to your computer in glee. To be clear, you can just say the words in a normal volume, but that’s just not nearly as fun is it.
Cryptmaster is set to be released in 2024 for PC on Steam and Epic Games Store. Sharpen your vocabulary skills and get ready to conquer the crypt and unleash a whole new kind of spell-casting!