CorpseOfBixby

This is weieeiiiird.

Welcome to my corner of the internet! This is where I talk about things relevant to my perssonal interests, and depending on what I'm feeling like, I write about different things. So long as it's interesting, it'll stay up! Right? …right?

Today, I wanna talk about a recent obsession of mine, Crypt of the Necrodancer. CotN is a rhythm roguelike videogame dedicated to killing monsters and exploring dungeons. The pixelated graphics are wonderfully animated, the soundtrack is fantastically diverse (or if you're not into it, you can always include your own music), and game design is dynamic. Not to mention the replayability factor is through the roof.

The base concept of the game is also incredibly simple. Every item and enemy in the game can be boiled down to a pattern, and will never deviate from that pattern. With the exception of a select number of entities, there is very little RNG involved.

But… if the game is so simple, why is it so damn difficult?


To better exemplify how notoriously difficult CotN is, let's take another hallmark game famous for its difficulty, Dark Souls. In order to measure "difficulty", a somewhat reliable way to measure this is by comparing the achievements of each game to each other and draw comparisons. In Dark Souls, particularly the Remastered version, the most elusive achievement is called The Dark Soul. In order to get it, you need to achieve every single other achievement.

A quick read tells me you need to play and beat the game at least twice in order to get the two separate endings, collect every single rare weapon in the game, upgrade a weapon to max level in four different ways, and collect all magics. Among other things.

It's no wonder The Dark Soul achievement is so difficult to get, with only 3.7% of the playerbase getting this achievement. But how does it compare to CotN?

CotN features a campaign with three separate playable characters, excluding the DLC. The three characters in order are Cadence, Melody, and Aria, and each of them have an achievement upon beating their campaign.

Character Name Basic Gameplay Description Achievement Name
Cadence The starting character. Starts with a base Dagger. Serves as the basic introduction to the game and has no gameplay changes. So Hardcore!
Melody Difficulty tweak. Starts with less health and a special weapon, the Golden Lute. Cannot switch out this weapon. Lute that Loot
Aria Massive difficulty tweak. You're not allowed to switch out your base Dagger, you have minimal health and cannot heal or gain additional health, you cannot miss a beat or you die, and you have to start from Zone 5, descending. You Don't Miss a Beat, Do You?

Alright, so Aria is definitely difficult to beat. The achievement for accomplishing such a feat has a grand total of 0.5% completion rate. Right. So what about Cadence and Melody? They're nowhere near as difficult as Aria!

4.1% and 2.5%. Keep in mind that we're comparing the basic CotN campaign completion with the endgame achievement of Dark Souls, at a 3.7%, and you get the idea.


While comparing the two games is like comparing apples to oranges, there is still something to be said about the difficulty of CotN. Why is it so difficult?

As probably the first person to tackle this question, I will probably be making some mistakes, so do correct me if I do.


As I had mentioned previously, CotN is rhythm roguelike. Maybe you saw that and rolled your eyes. It's such a strange combination of gameplay elements, kind of like a walking simulator shoot 'em up. Maybe you've seen your fair share of gimmicky features, and were turned off by the possibility of a poor game.

So rest assured, this game is wonderfully cohesive. Instead of selling the idea of a rhythm roguelike, CotN is a rhythm roguelike, and it's very possible that there won't be another game of it's type and caliber forever. However, with that creative boon, comes a minor drawback. Using Dark Souls again, the following sequence of events is fairly common.

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
Run around. Block, dodge, or parry. Hit very hard.

And you repeat ad nauseam. Of course, there's a bunch of elements, such as the

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