An action RPG that’s easy to pick up and understand, Crumbling World stands out for its simplicity, which is both its strength and its weakness.
Genre: RPG, Action
Developer: Dani Marti
Publisher: Dume Arts
Release date: 21 May, 2020
Crumbling World tells a dark tale of a world that’s already succumbed to the dark forces that threatened it. There isn’t much further development as it’s a fairly straightforward tale with chapters that adhere to a rigid formula, but it does its part to create an atmosphere for the adventure. You won’t find the next Grim Dawn, Diablo, or Titan Quest here, but you may very well enjoy it if you’re looking for something that’s lighter and more casual to add to your library of hack-and-slashers.
Last of the Heroes
The adventure begins with you choosing which of the seven heroes you’ll be taking the role of. Each of these offers their own strengths and weaknesses and you’ll likely be using different methods to defeat your foes as you make you pursue your quest thanks to the variety among them. I spent most of my time playing as Merek the Knight, the sword-and-board specialist who functions in his role much like you would expect. An archer, a barbarian, a wizard, an earth elemental, and another knight (this one female) are all present here as well if one of them strikes your fancy instead.
Experience is earned rapidly as you tear through countless foes and the levels that you gain can be applied to increasing your attributes as you see fit. These are quite generic (life, stamina, attack, and defense), though they serve well enough within the scope of this title. You’ll be able to shore up weaknesses or build incredible strengths, but if you’re someone who enjoys deep character builds, you’re unlikely to find a hook for you here. The leveling element was in a bit of disarray when I first picked this title up, though I was impressed with how quickly the developer, Dani Marti, responded to any issues that arose. Within the week that I spent playing, the vast majority of the bugs that I encountered were squashed within a day or two.
Travel the World
The adventure will take your hero across a variety of environments. Although each one lasts long enough that it overstays its welcome, they do feel unique and each provides thematically-linked enemies for you to face. My personal favorite was the castle set with its medieval architecture and hordes of once noble knights and men-at-arms that had been corrupted by the dark world. Although the low poly art may turn some away, I enjoyed the environments and was impressed by how good they looked given the circumstances.
Bosses are a product of their levels. As you’d expect, they can be quite challenging if you’ve arrived unprepared and they often wield abilities that are far more powerful than anything you would encounter with their minions. During my playthrough, the corrupted king of the aforementioned castle levels was bugged in a way that made it so that he could one-shot me even though I was wiping the floor with the minions around him. As it turned out, there was a balancing issue that was resolved within a few days that allowed me to quickly defeat my long-time foe. The rest of my time with the title was quite smooth, though I do feel that the experience gain could be tweaked to offer a more steady gameplay flow.
Bosses grant new abilities to your hero when they are defeated, ranging from those that give you a temporary damage boost to those that deal damage to all foes that enter the area around you. These abilities are tied to combos instead of activated with a single press of a button, meaning you’ll be pressing buttons in quick succession to trigger them. They’re powerful and offer some noticeable benefits to you, though like much of the gameplay, I would’ve preferred an additional layer or two of depth.
Hack and Slash Distilled
Aside from the activated abilities, you’ll spend most of your time spamming your basic attacks, parrying, and dodging. Combat doesn’t have too much depth to it and it feels like more of an arcade game than an RPG often, though dodging offers a brief window of invulnerability that can be used to your advantage. This isn’t to say that the system is poorly designed, just that it’s unlikely to be a selling point for those who prefer more than the basics. Chapters are made up of a handful of maps and these are completed rather quickly; the average map is only a few minutes long. Crumbling World’s namesake is clear as you traverse them though, as segments of the land break away and plummet to the depths of the underworld as time passes. I never felt particularly rushed by this feature, especially as the treasure-rich underworld welcomes you if you fall form the world above. If you truly die though, you’ll have to restart the map that you’re on, keeping whatever you acquired in past lives.
Crumbling World is an action-RPG that feels fairly unique, even if it’s lacking in complexity. I can’t say that I was ever glued to my chair while playing it, but I never felt that I was wasting my time either. It’s a title that I could see myself going back to in the future in short bursts like an enjoyable arcade game, though not one that I’d ever be pining for at any given time. Dani Marti is clearly passionate about the this project and I look forward to it continuing to improve in the future, though as of right now, I can’t recommend it over many others in the genre that have more staying power, unless you’ve already played through all of the greats and are hoping to find something in the same vein to scratch the itch.