One of the beauties of Xbox Game Pass is being able to try out games we would never usually touch. Crown Trick is the latest in a long line, replicating the roguelite genre with its own unique twist. After the huge success of Hades, players, such as ourselves, are looking for more titles to scratch the itch it left. Thankfully, Team 17's latest stab at the genre is a successful entry and one that has sucked us in after dying a lot.
The biggest hook with Crown Trick is its shift from fast-paced combat to something more strategic. Every battle takes place in turn-based combat, but not as you may think. Instead of something akin to say Final Fantasy, the game instead borrows a similar template to Crypt of the NecroDancer. Every move you make forces the enemies to move in a grid-based fashion. While it may be tempting to run in and mow down your foes, sitting pack, planning out your moves and coming up with new strategies on the fly is the key to success.
We'll be honest, it took a fair few run-throughs to get the gist of it all. You have a fair few tricks up your sleeve to help you out too. As you make your way through the set of procedurally generated dungeons, you'll unlock relics that boost your stats, new weapons and monsters known as Familiars. These creatures award you with elemental spells to perform against your enemies and you can unlock new ones by defeating mini-bosses. It makes each playthrough feel fresh and different, offering various strategies to each encounter.
As for the dungeons themselves, while they're procedurally generated, they lack differences to make each run feel fresh. After the first couple, you'll quickly notice the rooms appear in the same order, albeit in different shapes or sizes. Things improve once you make your way to the next zone, and thankfully you're not forced to repeat earlier floors, but if you hit a roadblock, it can slowly become monotonous.
There has to be something said about the difficulty too. It doesn't click quite as easily as other roguelites, mainly due to its turn-based nature. Getting through the first floor can be rough, with a pretty challenging first boss to contend with. As a result, you may be forced to repeat the same loop over and over again. as you make your way through the floors, you'll unlock new shopkeepers for your hub to make everything a bit easier, but the initial hurdle can be a challenge.
Despite these drawbacks, Crown Trick very quickly dug its claws into us. While it may not be everyone and isn't as approachable as other recent attempts at the genre, it's unashamedly challenging in all the right ways. It has a beautiful art style, a fantastic soundtrack, complex gameplay and an addictive loop that will make you want to have just 'one more go'. It's a perfect Xbox Game Pass title and a fantastic game in its own right.