In the turn-based rogue-like role-playing game Crown Trick you play the girl Elle, who wakes up in a dark room at the beginning of her journey and meets her new companion: Krone. As its name suggests, it is a crown that only adorns a large eye. He sits directly on Elle's head to transfer his powers to her. It quickly turns out that nightmares are responsible for Elle's situation. They are also so strong that people die as a result of them in the real world. It is up to Elle and Krone to see to it that the dark forces are contained again.

Right at the beginning it becomes clear that a dark prince named Vlad is behind all the misery, because he brought everything into an imbalance through his actions. He was abusing the powers of three bosses, as it soon turns out: a witch trio, a leviathan, and a scientist named Frank. You can find out exactly what these adversaries are all about when you fight your way through the game's dungeons. There you will always find pieces of paper on which the profound motives of the antagonists and Elle are noted. So if you are interested in the story, you should be ready to read a little, because unfortunately there is no voice output.

Since the game doesn't provide many of these narrative scraps, it is not tiring to read these little pieces of paper and one or the other dialogue. However, for how little is told, the story has a lot to offer and surprisingly comprehensible characters are found. The bosses' background stories are especially interesting.

In addition, the two main characters Elle and Krone change words every now and then. The girl convinces with her childlike hope, which she tries to bring closer to Krone, who is usually cold to cynical.






The dealer



The dealer

Source: PC Games




In Crown Trick everything revolves around the topic of dreams, so you are in them almost all the time, which is well underlined by the unique, sweetly drawn style. This also runs through your adventure constantly. Typical of a rogue-like there is the aforementioned base, in which the various characters Elle meets on her journey collect: the hall of rebirth. There Elle can level up attributes and abilities that she accumulates on her journey. You can also talk to the NPCs who linger there. However, the four characters you would like to meet could have been given a little more dialog options, because after a few conversations the characters are nothing more than repetitive speech machines. Recently, Hades has shown that the flow of the game is not disturbed by interesting dialogue.

Unfortunately, that was it for activities outside of the nightmares. No beautifying the hall, nothing to explore or other optional activities, the options here are a little minimalist. As if you have no choice but to take the throne in the base to go to sleep and thus immerse yourself in the world of nightmares that the dungeons represent.

Typical for the genre, these are generated randomly and divided into rooms. In terms of design, there is unfortunately a little lack of variety here, too, because you will quickly find that you are always fighting your way through the same environments. Every few rooms there is a teleport point, to which you can warp from any place on the map, similar to Enter the Gungeon, so there is no unnecessary backtracking.

Of course, there are not only rooms where there are opponents, but also some other events. For example, you can find dream stones that involve you in a text-based role-playing game. These moments are usually short, but they offer a nice change and always creative ideas. They help you either to buffs, gold, life energy or items, but can also tie you off HP, status values ​​or gold. In the classic way, there are also simple treasure chests and a few more interactions. All of these events can be used to adapt the current run. When you've sunk a little game time, you'll know what effects you want, depending on which strategy you choose. Because there is no shortage of different approaches to combat.






Event in Crown Trick.



Event in Crown Trick.

Source: PC Games




A feverish dream called struggle

Crown Trick has a turn-based combat system. All units can only move in four directions on the grid. Another essential part of the game is the enemy's shields. A display next to their models shows you how many hits it takes to incapacitate an opponent for a few rounds. But not only that, if you get the number down to 0, you get a hefty addition to your damage for a few moves, which can increase up to 100%. The more enemies you can break the shield, the more damage you deal.

On the one hand, you can choose from the normal attack, which covers different fields depending on the type of weapon you are using. For example, swords attack three horizontal squares, while rifles shoot four squares straight ahead. You can use items for this, but also your beam shoes. These do exactly what you would expect, they beam you to another field, but no round is used. These shoes add depth to the gameplay, because you are constantly confronted with opponents that would not be manageable without them. You will also find artifacts through various tasks in dungeons, which give you a wide variety of passive skills. There is also the possibility to use companion spells, which you unlock by defeating the respective opponents and recruiting them as companions.

You can always take two companions with you, each with two skills. These abilities, but also weapons, can also cause elemental effects, such as poison that inflicts damage on opponents over time, or paralysis by electricity that causes the affected person to skip a round. On top of that, elements also react to elementary fields, for example a poison field can be laid out, a lightning spell can only be cast on one of the fields, which is then passed on and hits everything that is in the poison pool. And because that was not enough, in almost every fight there are also tools in the vicinity to refine your tactics; Among other things, a crossbow that you can trigger, magnets that attract all enemies in the area, stones that stop time and many other creative mechanics. If you want to play ideally, you should consider everything that can be found in each room.

Weapons, companions, elemental effects, artifacts and items are diverse and allow plenty of scope for innovative play styles. Depending on the type of weapon you choose, the artifacts you get and the buffs you use, how you approach opponents and which companions you should use changes. A build based entirely on standard attacks and lots of HP can be just as effective as one that works largely with magic.

Turn-based tactical combat using everything the game has to offer is incredible fun and is the obvious focus of Crown Trick. Especially in situations in which you have to use a lot of brainpower, the title shines, because everything is done to explain every detail of the fight to you round by round by simply moving the mouse over everything. You can always see exactly how long a buff or debuff lasts, what this and what that element does, and so on. The variety in combat is convincing all along the line, because the 118 weapons, 172 relics and 20 companions enable a variety of ways to stomp through the dungeons. Since everything you get is random, the game is most fun when you are already familiar with many possibilities. Unfortunately, it won't come to that for long, because compared to other rogue likes there are not very many upgrades, and as mentioned before, no other optional activities. Unfortunately, this fact reduces the replay value enormously, which is the last thing you want for the repetitive genre rogue-like. After about 15-20 hours you have already played through all the dungeons and almost completely leveled up.






Boss fight life mutation.



Boss fight life mutation.

Source: PC Games




From drowsy to dreamy

At first, the soundtrack from Crown Trick is enchanting and perfectly underlines the mood of the world. But as soon as you enter the dungeons, you will be showered by rather inconspicuous sounds. That wouldn't be too bad, but they don't even change for all bosses and if they do, then only minimally. In other places the background music is used perfectly and underlines the momentary feeling of the fight or a dialogue perfectly. In general, the sound is a bit inconsistent, but when it fits, it's right.

What now: dream or nightmare?

Collecting items and currency is incredibly satisfying. Every time you open a box, gold, crystals and weapons jump towards you, underlaid by a sound effect that can best be described as "KA-CHING!". Since there is such a box as a reward after every boss, you feel incredibly rewarded when you have triumphed over such a villain, because these are often very crisp and can only be mastered with good tactics and patience.

What is by no means satisfactory is the German translation, which leaves a lot to be desired. Here a grammatical mistake, there a reversed letter, but not only that. Even when explaining skills, confusing formulations are often used that are not always clear. Anyone who speaks the English language should definitely choose the appropriate option.






Boss fight rewards.



Boss fight rewards.

Source: PC Games




Crown Trick does some things right, but also some things wrong, but it impresses with a wonderful art style, a good, albeit short story and the ingenious combat system. At first glance, this may seem overwhelming, but you will be introduced to the whole system with a simple tutorial so that you understand everything directly.

Unique, cute graphic style
Very well implemented combat system
Understandable characters
Adult story
Build diversity
Fair level of difficulty
Fights very transparent and plannable
Few dialogues
Low replayability (compared to other rogue likes)
Bad German translation
No endgame

A nice adventure for tactics and rogue-like fans!

Home screen. (Source: PC Games)

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