Crown Trick Hands-On

Written by Hardcase


They’ve promised that dreams can come true
but forgot to mention that nightmares are dreams too
Oscar Wilde


Do you know what is a Matryoshka dream?
In my opinion it is the worst nightmare you may experience. It occurs when you know you’re dreaming (usually something bad) and, at some point, you believe to wake you up. Everything seems fine, but suddenly you realize that you are just in another dream even worse than the previous one.
I call these kinds of nightmares “Matryoshka dreams”, because, exactly like the homonyms dolls, they are one inside the other.

Obviously Crown Trick talks about dreams and nightmares, in fact we can say that the entire game is set in a nightmare realm and, just like in Matryoshka dreams, the life of the main character, Elle, is an endless series of nightmares.
In this regard, something in the story of the game reminded me also an old horror movie, from the 80s, called “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors“.
Indeed, exactly like in that movie, Elle has only one chance to defeat the evil: falling asleep and become a “dream warrior“!


Crown Trick comes from afar. NExT Studios is a game developer headquartered is Shanghai with years of experience behind them. At its core Crown Trick can be defined as a nice combination of RPG and roguelike, but, even if it is still in an alpha stage, the game already shows many original ideas.
For example, the art style is something really fascinating, especially considering that usually roguelike games are rather poor in this regard. Here we have vibrant colors, nice and smooth animations all in a cartoonish style that, at least at the beginning, can be deceiving.
Indeed the art style can led you to believe that you are playing an “easy” game: nothing could be more wrong!
Crown Trick is a ruthless game, where every single move can be your final move. In this regard I don’t know if the developers will change a bit the difficulty level of the game (and it seems likely), but at the moment I can say that Crown Trick is one of the most difficult game I’ve ever played. Mind you, I’m an inept with turn based games (yeah, don’t say anything…), but I read on the forums that also the other beta testers are encountering many difficulties with it.

Anyway the most import thing is that even at this state Crown Trick is really enjoyable. I can confess you that even if I died so many times during my playthrough, each time, I was still HAPPY to start over and over again. The reason? Simple: Crown Trick is fun to play like few others!


So after all this chatter, finally i’m going to talk about the gameplay.
Crown Trick, at its core, is a real roguelike so as usual here we find procedurally generated content like levels, enemies and loot.
But this game puts a great emphasis in the combat system. Obviously everything happens in turn based mode (Synchronous Turn-Based turn, to be more precise), but if you think to kill enemies simply going towards them, well, you are doing a great mistake! The combat system requires a lot of strategy. There are always many factors you have to consider before each fight, even when you are facing the weakest enemy.
It’s important your position, the range and the effect of your weapon (you can bring with you only one of them) and the use of your skills, without neglecting the importance of the elemental effects. Your weapon, the floor and even the monsters, everything here react to the elements and if you want to win the hardest fights you cannot avoid taking advantage of them.

There’d still be many other features to talk about (like the minions, the relics and so on) but I think that for the moment it’s enough.
As you might have guessed, I really liked Crown Trick: it’s one of the funniest roguelike I’ve ever played, and, for some reasons, that I cannot explain yet, I really love it even if it is so ruthless!


Photo of author


True Italian with certified mustache made of pasta. Lawyer for a living, writer for passion. Turn-Based Lovers collaborator and many other unnecessary things.

Leave a Comment