It’s interesting to see genres and themes returning in an entirely new and yet familiar form. Grid-based dungeon crawler Crystal Rift is built from the ground up for virtual reality, yet draws on some very traditional game mechanics. The two-man development team behind the game have now launched a Kickstarter campaign.

Retro, Meet Future

The 16-bit era of computing hailed many advances in gaming, but one of the genres created during the hey-day of home computing and bedroom coding, was the 3D grid-based dungeon crawler. Grid-based, simply means you move in the game in block level increments, a style of movement borne from the rendering limitations imposed on developers by computer such as the Commodore Amiga or the Atari ST.

Crystal Rift Kickstarter

Now, developers Jon Hibbins and Nick Pittom (aka RedOfPaw – he of Studio Ghibli VR recreation fame) teamed up to realise their vision of fusing past and present with a new slant on a classic genre. Crystal Rift is made in the traditional dungeon adventure mould, but leverages the power of virtual reality to place you in amongst cunningly designed levels with winding corridors, deadly traps and a healthy dose of puzzling to boot.

The game also promises secret pathways and hidden rooms to explore and some good old fashioned insta-death inducing traps like, swinging axes, spike traps and fireballs. However, the game isn’t all jolly-japes and violent death – you’re not alone in the labyrinth with creatures hell bent on blocking your path or dragging you away and just generally being a bit of a nuisance.

Why are you, the player, in this god forsaken hell hole? This is the mystery you’re trying to unravel. In order to solve this riddle you must battle your way out of the maze, collecting coloured crystals at key stages which give you contextual powers in certain areas of the maze. These crystals you can ‘spend’ to earn powers which enable you to advance.

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Those interested in backing the project can grab a digital copy of the game at the £12 pledge level. £30 gets you early Alpha access, £50 access to the editor and a range of tiers which allow you to appear or contribute to the game in some way. For the super rich (or super credit rich), drop £5000 and become the game’s credited Executive Producer. The campaign has a goal of £4000 to reach in the next 29 days, with stretch goals allowing the team to hire more help to extend the game further.

The developers already have a demo of the game available, playable on the Oculus Rift DK2 – but the team want to use funds from the Kickstarter to bring the title to Samsung’s Gear VR too.

Crystal Rift is a game developed by people with a passion for the original 16-bit dungeon crawlers and the virtual reality development chops to pull it off. So if puzzling, adventuring and especially dungeon crawling is your thing, this looks like one to check out.

Crystal Rift’s Kickstarter page is here and you can reach the game’s official website here. Also, vote for the title on Steam Greenlight here should you feel inclined..

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