A strength of the roguelike and roguelite genre is just how easy it is to jump in for a quick run and see how far you can go. This has been distilled down to a simpler but just as challenging form by Luka Parascandalo with Evercrawl. This free-to-play roguelite won't take a toll on your phone and is something that you can play seriously or while you're just trying to kill some time. If you do decide to dedicate an hour or two to it, you may find yourself compelled to see all the content that the game has to offer.
When it comes to roguelike and roguelite setups, they usually revolve around people being trapped in an ever-changing labyrinth and hoping to escape. While it's unclear whether anyone is trapped in Evercrawl, they are definitely determined to take their chances in a dungeon. A group of nameless warriors has found themselves at the mouth of a dungeon that changes its layout and inhabitants with each visit. The further they get, the more the surroundings will change to catch them off guard. As the mind behind these warriors, it's up to you to get them as far as you can.
Since rogue games constantly change their loadouts, there's very little you can do to prep for what lies ahead. In Evercrawl, this challenge is present but gives you options with which to work. The pacing lets you try out a lot of them in a short span of time so you can quickly get used to them. The buttons are clear and invasive which works well with the strategic movement. There are benefits to avoiding as many enemies as possible as well as slaying tons of them. You want to get as far as possible to earn more gold and XP so you can better prepare for future runs.
Even though the controls are simple and limited, there are still a lot of mechanics to practice and discover. Each class has its own strengths and weaknesses, including a unique skill, and passive ability which determines how they fight. You can also spend your hard-earned gold to upgrade them to make them even more effective. This can really be felt during runs and encourages you to take more risks and seek out more fights. There are also individual items and weapons that add to each run and can really turn things around in a tight spot. Each pickup has value and since you can only carry one, it's an important decision.
Even though roguelite games depend on RNG to maintain variety, it can also work against enjoyment. Even though Evercrawl is quick, it really can be harsh sometimes. There's no real difficulty curve as every area has its own type of danger, so the RNG is the real challenge. From the very start, the game can throw a bunch of armoured enemies and traps, which can kill your run in a matter of seconds. You can get used to it, but it doesn't change the fact it's disheartening all the same.
Then there's how the upgrades work. As you complete runs, you'll unlock more items to find, and more classes to pick. Each class requires gold to unlock and then additional gold to upgrade. Considering how many runs it takes to earn sufficient gold, you don't want to feel like you're wasting it. And yet, sometimes when you buy an upgrade, you won't see any changes to the class's stats, which makes it feel like you're not improving your roster at all.
Evercrawl is a 2D pixel roguelite dungeon crawler with a strategic tilt to it. It's fast-paced, satisfying, fairly challenging, easy to learn, and hard to master, with a fair amount of variety. The RNG can be overly harsh at times and the upgrading system is a bit too expensive with no guaranteed payoff. Getting past all this, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more casual dungeon crawler than that offered by the endless Evercrawl.