Cryptmaster Review – Words With Fiends

Cryptmaster by Paul Hart, Lee Williams, and Akupara Games

Are you a fan of first-person dungeon-crawlers like Wizardry or Legend of Grimrock? Did you grow up learning to type with Mavis Beacon? Do you wish that someone would toss those things in a blender, along with some dry British humor?

Well if so, you’re my kind of weirdo, and someone has finally made a game for people like us. Cryptmaster is a new role-playing game where you type out all your commands in real time and unlocking words grants you new powers. It’s a combination so brilliant and seamless I’m amazed it took this long to happen.

More Than Words

The Cryptmaster has been entombed beneath the earth for far too long. Resurrecting your party of adventurers, he charges you with one task: take his soulstone to the surface so that he might invade the land above once again.

RPGs where you technically play as the bad guys are nothing new, but where Cryptmaster’s premise perhaps isn’t the most original, the rest of it absolutely is.

Exploration is accomplished via the arrow keys, but everything else, from character interactions to gathering items, is done by both creating and guessing words. As you do, you’ll unlock letters for each of your characters, allowing you to guess at their next important word to unlock. These not only power up your characters but also unlock new abilities in combat.

It’s a system that’s as intuitive as it is impressive. When an NPC asks you a question, you don’t pick from pre-made options, you enter your own words. Similarly, opening a chest doesn’t just get you an item. Instead, you have to type commands for the Cryptmaster to interact with the items within, using his clues to make a final guess at what the item is.

Oh, and of course there are riddles scattered around the game’s world that you have to solve by typing in the solution. It’s very compelling.

Arrows in Words from the Sky

Even the game’s combat is tied into this system. Commands are executed by typing them out, and enemies will interact with your commands in different ways. Some can block certain letters, while others will power themselves up if you use one in particular. It’s a shockingly varied and constantly changing system that rewards quick thinking and cuts down on repetition.

The true star of the game, however, is its writing and voice work. Cryptmaster is one of the most genuinely funny games I’ve encountered in some time. From the dry wit of the eponymous evildoer to the bizarre cast of characters you encounter along the way, they’re all truly hilarious and memorable.

Oh, and there’s a full-on card game in it too.

In terms of flaws, the only major one is that even with the shake-ups it throws at you, combat is ultimately simple and repetitive. It’s far from a deal-breaker, but it was rare that I found it truly challenged my brain or typing skills. But if that’s the worst I can say about it, then I shouldn’t have to spell it out for you: this game is fantastic.

Cryptmaster is available via Steam.

Watch the trailer for Cryptmaster below:

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