Crowsworn is what you get when you put Hollow Knight, Bloodborne, and Devil May Cry in a high-powered blender and shotgun the resulting kickass smoothie while brooding on the steps of a Gothic cathedral.
That's a hell of a pitch, and it's paid off for the folks at developer Mongoose Rodeo, who've already found success on Kickstarter. With 28 days left in its campaign, Crowsworn has now more than doubled its funding goal. It's not hard to see why; the more I learn about this game, the more I want it, especially with my Metroidvania itch growing scratchier with every passing indie showcase that doesn't update us on Hollow Knight: Silksong.
Crowsworn is a hand-drawn 2D action game built around the search-action flow of Metroidvania classics. You wake up in the gorgeous, interconnected world of Fearanndal unsure of who you are and what you're doing, but with the conviction and weapons to eviscerate every monster you come across as you explore "a world forced into perpetual penance for the sins of its fathers." And when I say 'wake up,' I mean that literally; the intro shot of our protagonist busting out of a coffin, guns blazing and scythe slashing is straight out of Hellsing, and I love it.
Your scythe and pistols are the foundations of combat. You can use your scythe infinitely, and while your pistols have unlimited bullets, you do have to reload them occasionally, and Mongoose advises doing so outside of combat. Fortunately, you've got Corvian magic to fill any downtime in your assault. You've got access to long-range attacks, AoE for groups of mobs, and freakier stuff like "shadow hands to pull your enemies to their doom," and you can fire it off as long as you've got Malice, which is generated by meleeing enemies.
These attacks can be further customized through starry runes which buff your spirit, blood, or flesh. By arranging the celestial skill tree to your liking, you can improve your stats or add new effects entirely. "It is also possible to do some other combos that require a little bit more grace rather than brute strength," Mongoose says. "It is possible to throw your scythe and ping-pong bounce it with your bullets. This effectively turns your scythe into a damage megaphone, converting lesser bullet damage into greater melee scythe damage."
If all this sounds a lot like the Soul and Charms from Hollow Knight, that's because it unabashedly is, which is fine by me. Everything about Crowsworn, from its lovely layered environments to its striking characters, is speaking my language, and I'm also encouraged by the devs working on it, particularly Aleksandar Kuzmanovic, the creator of Unworthy. It's "generously" scheduled to launch on PC and consoles sometime in late 2023 – with plenty of additional content planned, at the rate it's hitting stretch goals – and I'll have my eyes glued to it until then.
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