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I’m a sucker for indie RPGs. But these days, there are so many of them out there that it’s hard to track, even for a member of the video game press. When I first saw Dani Marti‘s Crumbling World on the home page of RPG Watch, I immediately added it to my wishlist. I followed it up with a review request a few days later and waited impatiently to try it out, hoping to discover a worthwhile indie.

While I’m not a big fan of anything procedurally generated, I was certain that Crumbling World’s idea of pushing you forward through droves of enemies, while the world continuously crumbled behind you would be a novel experience. 10 hours later and I couldn’t be any more disappointed. Well, let’s get right to it.

Crumbling world

Story & Narrative

Crumbling World does a great job of drawing you into its world from the moment you boot it up. A gorgeous background artwork featuring some ominous music and a slick menu welcomes you to the game. On starting a new game, you are treated to a well-narrated storyboard cutscene getting you up to speed. Abbadon, the king of evil has awakened and calls forth his demonic forces from the underworld. As the last heroes fall, these demons crawl out from beneath and corrupt anything and everything around you. Humanity’s only hope of survival is to find the Gems of Genesis to access Abbadon’s realm and put him down for good.

Crumbling world

The story in Crumbling World is very basic and generic but it gets the job done for the type of game it aims to be. You basically go from location to location and do generic fantasy stuff like finding magical mumbo jumbo, helping NPCs, killing monsters, etc, fairly standard stuff for an ARPG.

Gameplay & Mechanics

Whatever positive vibe Crumbling World gets across with its story and presentation, it ultimately falls down in the gameplay department. Crumbling World is an isometric-ish, procedurally generated hack ‘n’ slash adventure with some RPG elements. Yet, there is not a single individual aspect the game does well. Look, I hate shitting upon indie games, especially those made by a single person or a very small team, but Crumbling World doesn’t make it super hard not to.

Let’s out with the positives first. You get to choose from six playable characters with their own playstyles and backstory. You go from location to location, slaughtering tonnes of enemies while the ground collapses behind you. That’s about it.

crumbling world

Exploration & Objectives

As soon as the opening cinematics end and you’re thrown into the shoes of the main character, you know something is off. The player character’s movement is sluggish, clumsy, and seems to resist the player’s control inputs. The running animation also feels as if it was rendered in half the frames than everything around them. It’s better to just keep dodge-rolling all the time than bear the twitching character animations. But, in order to roll, you have to keep holding down the block button for a few seconds. Why the developer couldn’t bother to bind dodge to another button when so many of them are unmapped is beyond my comprehension.

The game does a poor job of explaining its mechanics to you or what to even do. I often stood confused in levels as to what I’m actually supposed to do when the ground behind me kept crumbling down. The only thing that’s clear is that you attack anything that walks, run around, and hope to randomly stumble onto your objective. While I did like the collapsing mechanic, in theory, it comes across as annoying if not anything else. Basically, instead of dying, you fall into the underground when the ground beneath you collapses. To get back up, you have to run around and find portals back to the main world. Judging by how many times you fall down, this mechanic feels like an annoying gimmick as it doesn’t do anything other than waste a few more minutes of your time.’

Crumbling world

Then there’s the procedural generation aspect. Like many games before it, Crumbling World’s procedural generation is barely noticeable. The fact that the level layout is very restrictive doesn’t help matters either. I started the game over from the start four times and couldn’t find any noticeable differences in level layouts.

The combat…

The combat is outright terrible. The game recommends using a controller, so that’s just what I did. Even then, the controls were unresponsive and there seems to be a lot of animation canceling. The combat is slow, boring and for the most part, mindless. It does get a tiny bit better as you unlock more moves for your character but even then, it’s not enough to be satisfying.  Attacks don’t have any weight to them and the hit feedback is terrible. You feel as if every enemy in the game is made of wet paper.

Even though you can pick from several playable classes, with the exception of The Creature and The Sorceress, the core gameplay remains the same. There are also some balancing issues as some characters are way overpowered while others are not even worth picking up. The only positive thing I can say about the combat is the variety of skills you can unlock by defeating bosses. Each character has his share of skills and they are unique for the most part, even though pulling them off means that you have to fight more with the unresponsive control scheme.


The leveling system in the game is as basic as they come. You get 2 points per level that can be used to increase your life, mana, attack, or defense. You can also find a few items per playthrough that can increase these stats. Each character has four unlockable skills or ‘special attacks’ as the game calls it. But these can be only be unlocked after beating bosses. So it takes a while for you to unlock them all and the game runs its due course by then. Like I said before, some of these attacks are pretty decent (like summoning a pack of wolves) but they’re let down by the core combat system.

In short, the gameplay of Crumbling World is barely passable at best and atrocious at worst.

Visuals, Performance & Sound

As I said before, the presentation of Crumbling World is great. It features a gorgeous low-poly art style that’s very appealing. The same goes for the environments, character models, and everything in between. These are some of the few saving graces of Crumbling World.

Performance-wise, the game runs flawlessly on either a locked 60 or an unlocked framerate. But there are lots of technical issues related to collision detection, enemy AI and scripts. Examples of which include hilarious stuff like being catapulted into the sky because you ran into any object while dodge rolling. Crumbling World definitely needs some more QA testing. But I’m glad that the developer is putting out patches on a daily basis.

Sound and music in Crumbling World are decent enough. Some of the soundtracks are really nice. But the dynamic music that starts and stops when you get in and out of combat makes for a really off-putting experience. I’d much rather have a static music track play from the start of the level to the end. The volume levels also seem bugged as even dropping them by a few levels results in them being drastically low. Maybe it’s just my ear?


I don’t enjoy bashing indie games with-super low budgets. But sometimes, developers have a hard time coming to terms with scope vs limitations of a project. I think that’s what happened to Crumbling World. Looking back at the Steam community tab, I admire the developer’s passion and dedication to this project. But Crumbling World has too way too many issues right now for me to recommend it. Some of my favorite RPGs ever are also technically flawed or are janky to the brim but at they at least succeed in one or other major areas to deliver a fun experience. Crumbling World lacks just that. Here’s hoping that the developer manages to fix some of the issues plaguing the game, forcing me to revisit it in a review redux.


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