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CRYPTMASTER Review: Skulking for bugs and dissing a Countess via bardic rhyme

"You're skulking again. Stop it."

CRYPTMASTER is a dungeon crawler RPG where players can interact with the world by typing out words. Playing as four long-dead heroes, you must climb UP through the levels of the Underland until you reach the surface. This unique, grayscale game is one that you're sure to enjoy.

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Staring into the endless abyss isn't something I thought I'd encounter in a typing game, but I can say with certainty that I did. In CRYPTMASTER, you play as four heroes who have been woken from their eternal slumber by a necromancer known as the CRYPTMASTER. With the CRYPTMASTER occasionally nattering in your ear, you journey through the Underland and make your way through five Chapters of the game.

You pick up pieces of the story as you go — starting with the CRYPTMASTER telling you why he's resurrected you. By fighting creatures and getting the answers to the SKULL and CHEST riddles correct, you gain clues to help you figure out more memory words for each of the heroes. Some words are memories only, others are skills that you can use to fight.

The story feels a little off-balance between the five levels (Chapters). The first is a good length, but the second is so very long. The third chapter isn't much shorter than the second, and the end of that Chapter — which is the islands of the Gods and Goddesses — feels a bit rushed. Conversely, the fourth and fifth Chapters are very short. I feel like they could have been combined and would have fit well together. It didn't make much sense to me to still be climbing UP when I was already on the surface world.

Having ADGA speak to you at each ALTAR was a great way to start getting the players to think about the task ahead of them. Until she told me more of the story, I was all for smashing the SOULSTONE and giving the CRYPTMASTER what he wanted.

Score: 4/5

Visual Design

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This is arguably the standout element of the game. It's such an innovative RPG design, compared to what we see a lot of in the genre now. A fully grayscale game like this is already intriguing, but I felt entranced by the white glow of the torches, unnerving floating and talking skulls, and the CRYPTMASTER themselves.

The Gods, Goddesses, Kings, and Queens in the game are all distinctive, though the Kings and Queens all have a skeletal quality. I have to say that I found KLAXO and his island the most disturbing, just because of that broken music box soundtrack going on. There's just something about a wide grin and one giant eye in a balloon-shaped face that creeped me out.

I also found the rats strangely off-putting. I don't know if it was all the time I spent wandering around in Chapters 1 and 2, but... Gods, it's the eyes. So many beings in CRYPTMASTER have those weird, swirling eyes. They're difficult to look at.

Score: 5/5

Controls and Accessibility

Skill unlock in CRYPTMASTER.
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I don't have the best memory, and I was sure that I'd absolutely fail the riddles in this game, but it turns out that I barely needed any help with them! However, there is a really nice function in the game that allows the CRYPTMASTER to step in if you guess the answer to a SKULL riddle wrong. You can also add extra cards (guesses) to the CHEST guessing game in case you need the CRYPTMASTER to repeat one of their answers.

As someone who played on a laptop, I found his typing game really enjoyable, and I didn't need to use the autofill feature while I was playing. I have watched a console player's gameplay and I feel that using a controller isn't the optimal choice for a game like this, even if it's designed to be played on PC and console.

Another issue is that the game is really dark and I did struggle with certain areas. Some of the CHESTS and SKULLS are almost too well hidden, and they're difficult to see from afar. You can also only view things straight-on, which means that you can't sneakily look around corners to dodge enemies. Instead, you need to stand back to watch their walking patterns and the like.

Score: 4.5/5


The game looks creepy, and it is. It's very much a "things that go bump in the night" kind of game, without it being a horror game. I don't enjoy horror, but I was able to play through this entire game without issues. The creepiness comes from the design and the sound effects. The scuttling of bugs on walls isn't pleasant — fair warning to anyone who isn't a fan of insects: there's a lot of them.

I didn't have to unlock all of the memory words and skills to complete the game. There are so, so many of them to unlock. I leveled up all my heroes to their second level, and JORO and SYN to their third level. This means that even if you aren't great at the ongoing game of hangman, you can still beat this game without going into completionist mode on it.

I enjoyed having three choices at the end of the game, too. Throughout most of the first couple of Chapters, you don't really think about another option outside of what the CRYPTMASTER wants. Listening to ADGA and, much later, AUDO gives you some new perspectives. The hidden ending is my favorite, though.

Lastly, the WHATEVER game is awesome. I may have lost to the COUNTESS multiple times (she's so hard to beat!), but it's a cool game and I hope the people behind CRYPTMASTER consider making a real card game from it in the future. I'd absolutely love to play it more.

Score: 5/5

Soundtrack and Voices

Chat with RATTY's dad in CRYPTMASTER.
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This NEEDS to be in this review. The soundtrack throughout the game is so thematic, and the voice acting is perfect. From the CRYPTMASTER's reactions to what you're typing to the chilling children's voices reading out some of the SKULL riddles, this is a new level of dedication to a game's sounds.

Each of the Gods and Goddesses has their own unique music, and the battle music didn't feel super repetitive despite staying the same. I'm also really pleased there were subtitles because I struggle to hear sometimes and some of CRYPTMASTER's lines are hard to understand. Similarly, some of the SKULL riddles weren't very clear.

Shoutout to the whole scene with VITUS. Writing a rap with an NPC and having him respond to my word choices was genius. Plus, the full song slaps, and playing it in front of the COUNTESS was pure gold.

Score: 4/5


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Although you might struggle a little if you're not great at spelling, CRYPTMASTER is an excellent RPG game that has awesome features. Sure, there are parts that are a little frustrating and will make you feel like you need to slam your head against your desk, but it's a chilling adventure through the residences of various human and non-human inhabitants. There are secrets to find, memories to uncover, and so many riddles that your SKULL will spin.

And that final reveal? Marvelous. Completely unexpected.

Final Score: 4.5/5

Looking for other games to play that will weird you out a bit? Check out Pro Game Guides for our Alone in the Dark Review: A step in the right direction or our INDIKA Review – A debate on religion that strikes a chord.

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Lyssa Chatterton
Lyssa Chatterton has been a freelance writer for over 6 years, ever since graduating from their Master's degree in Transliteration & Screenwriting. They have worked with clients in practically every industry, including iGaming and TCG/Tabletop news. Lyssa prefers cosy games and indie games, but that doesn't stop them from going all out with a great fantasy RPG or digging out old retro games. An avid fan of Pokémon, Animal Crossing, the Witcher, and Persona, you'll be seeing a wide range of writing from this freelancer.

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CRYPTMASTER Review: Skulking for bugs and dissing a Countess via bardic rhyme

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