In Kharon’s Crypt, every enemy is a piece of the puzzle to find a way to escape the crypt.
You know Kharon, right? Kharon (or Charon) is the ferryman from Greek mythology who carries souls over The River Styx to the next world. He is also considered Death by some. Well, what if he was captured: put into a urn and locked away for a long time? That is the story of the fascinating Kharon’s Crypt, an action/rpg that is very reminiscent of A Link to the Past with lots of body snatching/possession.
I saw Kharon’s Crypt making the rounds a couple of months ago when its Kickstarter was in high gear. It was one of those games that looked appealing to me at the time, but I didn’t have a chance to check out. Thankfully, the Kickstarter has reached its goal and I finally had the chance to play the demo — I had a blast playing it. You need to know about this game and hence, here we are.
Kharon is a spirit and has no physical form, making it tough to take revenge on the king who imprisoned him. However, he can weaken the spirits of enemies around him by flinging good ol’ ectoplasm at them. Once weakened, their bodies are ripe for possession and poof, suddenly you have arms, legs and weapons. This isn’t the only thing you can possess; bats, slimes, mimics and plenty of other things can all help in some shape or form.
Kharon’s Crypt is non-linear and lets you explore a vast dungeon full of traps, puzzles and bosses at your own pace. The overall challenge is finding out what form is required for any given situation and to move deeper and deeper. Need to cross a gap and still hit stuff? Try a bat. Need to move blocks for a puzzle? Better have hands for that. Kharon himself isn’t invulnerable but can become ethereal to fly or move through objects, but that’s about it. He cannot touch the physical world without a host. There are two health bars to keep an eye on — one for your body and one for the spirit of Kharon.
The fun part is that while most puzzles are fairly obvious, there are some that require thinking outside the box. Getting a body with two hands to a particular location is a challenge when there are lasers, monsters and death around every corner. As an example, try being a pitiful flying bat that can only take two hits but is required to cross a huge gap with a switch at the end. Meanwhile, there are skeletons, slimes and exploding rock monsters between you and your goal. You may find yourself backtracking quite a bit in Kharon’s Crypt, but this does reward you with more items to unlock.
Reminiscent of A Link to the Past, as mentioned before, you will unlock items that Kharon can carry from body to body. These will help you find hidden rooms, solve puzzles and progress deeper into the game. Items include an urn of angry spirits which explodes like a bomb. You also have a ‘mirror shield’ that repels lasers and sends demons running from their own visage. It’s all very familiar, but done in a fresh way that is dark and grim but exciting.
Kharon’s Crypt looks to capture the magic era of Gameboy Color and it accomplishes this with its amazing pixel art. From Kharon and the bosses to the gloomy mist that covers the second floor, Kharon’s Crypt nails its theme and art perfectly. I found myself strangely enthralled by the cute but creepy monsters. Overall, I am very excited by its design; the music and sound were on par with its art. The team knows what they are doing and are making a great quality game.
All in all, by the time I reached the end of the demo, I wanted more and I wanted it badly. Kharon’s Crypt is still in active development, so there are far more monsters, puzzles and mayhem to come. They also still have an active Indiegogo campaign where they are aiming to get Kharon’s Crypt on the Nintendo Switch — seems a match made in heaven in my opinion. Keep in mind, though, that everything is subject to change.
If it weren’t already obvious, I highly recommend trying out the demo for yourself. It’s free and it’s about a good three hours if you know what you’re doing. The overall mechanics and core of the game just feel tight, responsive and natural. It’s like a ‘d’oh, why didn’t anyone think of this?’ type of moment when you play this game.
As Kharon’s Crypt develops, we will be keeping a close eye on it, as it’s sure to be a hit sometime in 2018 when it finally releases. Be sure to check back with B3 for more updates and an eventual review!