Excrawlers: Review


This game was reviewed on a Nintendo Switch OLED

Reviewed by: Amanda Martin

This is a classic roguelike adventure, pitting you against waves of enemies in an attempt to escape the realm of madness before it consumes you. You wake up in a room, with no idea of how you came to be there. After a short discussion with a skeleton, you are granted a sword and a bow and sent on your way.

From your hub, or Sanctuary, four gates stand in front of you, however only one is open for you for the time being. The other paths become accessible to you after travelling through the previous sections, and defeating the bosses at the end of each path. Each of these different areas consist of a different biome, which gives a nice variety to the backdrop of the game. They also have different enemies as well, however they all seem to follow the same mechanics. A regular enemy, one that jumps around and throws projectiles and a larger enemy that deals greater damage. The placement of enemies and items randomize upon death, and the level layout itself also changes, giving a different experience each time.

You should not expect to run through these levels easily though. Being the type of genre that it is, the familiar live-die-repeat formula comes into play. Not all progress is lost upon death though, as you keep whatever loot you pick up, and retain your experience points and level. Loot comes in the form of gems that, if you collect enough of the same type, can be upgraded to give you bigger bonuses to your health, defense and even critical damage. You gain experience from every enemy you fell, and when you level up you also gain a skill point, which can be assigned to one of six different skill trees. Both of these combined can help to give you the edge needed to finally reach the end of the level.

The levels themselves are not overly long, and are split into manageable goals. There are small enemy camps that need to be cleared out before any progress can be made. There is also a wave mode, where enemies constantly spawn and need to be defeated. After these small battles, you are offered a selection of temporary buffs that can be used to help you for the rest of the level, however they are lost upon death. These buffs included the ability to fire multiple arrows at once, or have a mirror image of yourself to accompany you. And finally, the boss fight at the very end of the level, with your victory rewarded with a brand new path to explore.

The game controls very easily, using simple button inputs for traversal and attacking. You can dash quickly around enemies to avoid their attacks, or stay at a distance and used ranged attacks. If enemies get close your sword can make swift work of them. You don't need to worry about jumping, or trying to remember button combos, and every buff you receive is used automatically. This means you can focus purely on keeping your health topped up with handy potions, and making it to the end of the level.

You will also come across some interesting characters during the course of your journey. They will come with little side quests for you, which are fairly simple. Most of them require you to retrieve items and return them to the quest giver. They may just be little detours, but they encourage you to explore the level a little more. They also help to give more depth to the story and help give the player more insight into the world around them.

However, this title is not without its faults. My time playing the game was interrupted three separate times due to the game crashing and returning me back to the main Switch hub. And if you're halfway through a rare perfect run, this can quickly become a point of frustration. On one particular level, I seemed to have problems with enemies not spawning in properly, resulting in me having to abandon my current run and try again. The game could also benefit from a level cap, as you only have a certain amount of points you can put into your skills. If you have extra skill points, they just sit there and seem to serve no purpose.

A decent experience that can be completed in a matter of hours, but has some room for improvement. 7/10

Reviewed by: Amanda Martin