You’re a crow who runs a hotel. Get it?
END OF POST.
Nah…just kidding. There’s quite a bit to say about this cute little thing.
If you’re in the mood for a retro-looking 2D platfomer with a crow and spooky ghosts (which I am, every day, always, forever) have I got a thing for you. Sink’s newest game is about jumping, fighting skeletons, and sometimes singing in a bathroom.
You’re a crow (named Crow) who owns a pretty beat up hotel, and you should probably start fixing some things up before you get shut down. Your first attempt at this is by cawing at a clogged toilet, but hey, you’re trying.
Crowtel is super colorful with some easy listening from capt beard, and aesthetically, it does it for me in a big bad way. After fighting a floating skull as a crow in a bandanna, you make your way to a ghost house and then sing at a vending machine who throws soda at you. Yes. I mean like really yes.
But the actual play itself could use a bit of work. You’ll probably fall into more pits than you’re expecting by the end of the game, and you’ll almost certainly re-do the same areas/bosses a couple of times. The art and enemies you’re facing are increasingly interesting as the game goes on, but the ways you deal with them are mostly trial-and-error against some baddies that don’t have the most predictable movements. It’s not a huge gripe, but I found myself at the end of my health bar more than a few times, at what I felt was no fault of my own.
Checkpoints are also generous enough that Crowtel’s rough patches aren’t too much of an issue, but the one time when I actually broke the game(!) just by jumping at the wrong moment, I was a little miffed. The whole thing still doesn’t last more than a half-hour, even with the few retries you’ll almost definitely be making, so it’s not even close to a deal breaker. Pro-tip: set up some kind of controller support to smooth out the rougher edges, the keyboard controls didn’t cut it for me. Also, why is the “progress-dialogue” button tied to “up” on the keyboard instead of one of the action keys? Weird, right?
The rest of the game is so charming though that it’s hard to get too worked up over a handful of unnecessary restarts. The platforming is never terrible; it could just use some tweaks in a few spots to make things more fun to play. And when you’re falling down an elevator shaft fighting a cool boss, it’s hard to do anything but recommend it even more.
Gripes aside, I never really once considered stopping partway through. I had to see what was next. The set-piece moments, great boss fights (oh my god that ghost fight was so good), and little gameplay change-ups mean you should definitely give this a shot. I mean, if you’re still reading this…did you miss the part where I said you sing at a toilet?
Get Crowtel on itch.io!
(While you’re there, go play Crawlies. Sink worked on it, and it’s one of my favorite things this year!)