Cryptic Keep in Review â€“ Treasure hunting the boring way
The extremely low entry barrier onto the iOS development scene ($99 and a Mac) is both a blessing and a curse for a number of reasons. On one hand it allows indie developers with original ideas to make a grab for the proverbial â€œmillionsâ€. On the other, a significant chunk of the 300K+ of apps on the App Store are complete and utter crap. Thatâ€™s why sites like TMA exist â€“ to sort through the dung to find the gold. Unfortunately, Cryptic Keep is not shinyâ€¦
Cryptic Keep is a classic puzzle-centric adventure game in the traditions of MystÂ (TMA Review) and the likeâ€¦ or at least it tries to be. An ancient keep has remained untouched for centuries, ever since the legendary king Telvonus sealed it with a spell to safeguard from the invaders. The only way to enter â€“ the Sword of Ire â€“ has been hidden in his castle, never to be found again. Until now that isâ€¦
On the surface Cryptic Keep seems to be rather a traditional puzzle-centric adventure. You explore a deserted castle and its surroundings, trying to find a way inside the keep and onward. Some of the puzzles are inventory based while others involve some simple mini-games. The execution quality is the main issue though. Playing Cryptic Keep I felt like it should be a free Flash title on the web rather than a full-fledged paid iOS app.
The puzzles are quite simple and the most trouble youâ€™ll come across is some pixel hunting. I did encounter one place where I had to resort to some brute-force hacking, but mostly simple attentiveness to the environment will be enough. And since there are very few actual hotspots on each screen you wonâ€™t find yourself overwhelmed by information in any way.
The graphics are as disappointing as the rest of the content. The rendering quality is pretty bad and donâ€™t even think about expecting any Retina-display goodness. The colours are quite bleak and boring and give a strong impression that the visuals have been reused from a mid-nineties shareware title. The interface also has very Flash-game feel to it, with each item having a predetermined slot in the limited inventory as well as the god-awful pixel-hunting.
Even for a die-hard adventure fan like myself, Cryptic Keep has been a complete and utter disappointment. The simple and unappealing storyline, the boring puzzles and outdated graphics would be ok for a free Flash game, and not a very popular one at that. But for a $1.99 iOS release that is simply unacceptable and Iâ€™d advise any gamer to stay well clear of Cryptic Keep.
With this I declare Cryptic Keep officially touched!
|Title:||Cryptic Keep||Developer:||3D Methods|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.1||Min OS Req:||3.0|