I continued to play twin-stick roguelite Cryptark (Alientrap Games, 2017) after engaging with it for Side by Side. It’s become one of my favourites this year and, rather than put down some words on it, I’m trying my hand at a Twitch stream.


How did this come about? Well, many of my game thoughts never make it into articles because they’re just not meaty enough for a dedicated post. I pondered whether it would be worth live-tweeting a gaming session to get some of these thoughts out there… and it struck me that perhaps I could just stream as I already had all the relevant equipment.

So, yeah.

The Cryptark stream will be tonight, Thursday 28 September, and will begin at 2200 UK, 2300 Central Europe, 1700 EST. My Twitch channel can be found at

These days, I usually make it all the way through to the Cryptark, so that’s what I’ll attempt to do while making observations about the game as I progress. The stream will last 45-90 minutes. I plan to keep an eye on the chat, but forgive me if I’m wiping out drones instead of replying to questions.

UPDATE 29 Sep: Here’s the archived transmission.

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8 thoughts on “Transmission: Cryptark

  1. Recorded a dress rehearsal last night and got to the fourth stage without dying. Had to stop as it was too late 🙂

    The streams will be backed up to a new YouTube account so they can be watched even if you weren’t available at the time.

  2. I fired this back up again last night after finishing Mario + Rabbids over the weekend. I’m on an experimental run with gear and objectives using the Salamander chassis.

    Managed to do a 3 Hull objective, just! I keep forgetting about my shield too and it’s so handy when moving fast through a derelict. A few things that screwed me up last night: flamers aren’t good against switch systems (the whole ship switched in the time it took me to try and finish it off). Remote nukes have to be armed! I didn’t read the Quick Guide that came with them and was quickly mobbed by enemies as I tried to prime one. Died. EMP blasters are handy at locking down enemies, going to see if I can combine that with my flame-ejecting jetpack. I have a new love of taking out sentry systems–turrets are a nuisance.

    I forgot how addictive the gameplay loop is in this. Just one more derelict… just grab one more tech… just try for one more objective… just spend a little less on my gunhead…

    Thrift can bite you in the arse though!

  3. I’ve had three separate runs at the Cryptark now and it’s a bastard. The last one I did had an alarm system in one corner covering a shield generator in another corner that was covering a repair system in another. That alone was a nightmare before you consider the radar jammer, the flak turrets, armoury, numerous factories and secondary repair and shield systems. Every second spent battling through the Cryptark to find the systems was time the repair systems were rebuilding stuff. All while I’m burning through ammo and health. This particular configuration I’m not sure how I could have done it any other way. My previous attempt had tons of locked doors so I couldn’t actually get in anywhere to make a start, and those environmental saw blades were everywhere, all of which don’t show up on your radar! Very stressful!

  4. Hi Gregg. Considering I’ve always found the Cryptark rock hard, I don’t know if I would’ve noticed an unfair build previously!

    I tried to pick on the Jammer system early on because I would be making my way to a system only to discover a dead end so many times! I think the strategy change that saw me through was – surprisingly – to stop blowing everything up. Stopping to shoot every sentry and drone costs resources and with something like five factories spewing out drones there’s almost no point. The juggernauts keep catching up to you. I only cleared out areas when I absolutely needed it whereas in the past I was always “sterilise then progress”.

    (Also with the Cryptark, I splashed out on ammunition because it’s there’s one thing that can derail a mission it is running out.)

    The key to taking down repair systems, which you probably know, and vital for hulks that have dual repair systems, is to keep them busy. Finding a chain of systems to engage is important, so that the systems never have a chance to fix completely. I think with the Cryptark, I took out the jammer then a factory then hit one of the repair systems (map was live). The factory got repaired, but it had served its purpose in keeping the jammer down long enough to plot a course to one of the repair systems. It’s inevitable to have to destroy systems more than once when facing repair systems and accepting that was critical.

    But it does sound like having all those locked doors could be a real problem. Being able to take on the same Cryptark in multiple attempts is really useful, though, because you’re able to figure out initial targets and routes from memory.

  5. Only just noticed your comment!

    Yeah exactly, after sleeping on it I think I should have just gone straight for the factories–repair systems be damned. While ever you’re messing about with systems that don’t spawn things, the systems that do are screwing you. Next time I’m going to try and aim for factory, armoury and sentry systems and swing by any repairs en route.

    Auto-cannons are beastly though. Even against armoury buffed Ironclads and Juggernauts, it was ripping through them! I also discovered that the Salamander chassis’ flame trail is great at dealing with Spikedogs and those little drones that attack and chase you en masse. Just boost away and let them burn up in your exhaust.

    I feel like there are so many synergies that I’m not seeing or too afraid to try out!

  6. Hey Joel! Have you seen the announce sequel to Cryptark, Gunhead?

    Fun video, and I must say that I would imagine Cryptark to be totally untenable in co-op. In single player, I slowly amassed the skill and experience to be able to make fairly reliable runs to at least the final spacehulk. It really is a brilliant game, and continuously improved until its 1.0 release. I was an early adopter, but tapped out in the first few builds until they polished the game and its systems, and they did a fantastic job.

    Not sure if Gunhead is up your ally, but I’m personally interested in what will come of this. Hopefully it’ll be better than what happened when Flashback went 3D.

  7. Hi Leo!

    “I would imagine Cryptark to be totally untenable in co-op”

    Well, we’d already tried that out – please direct your browser to this link which is the post before this one.

    On Gunhead, I’ve written on some comment here on in social media *somewhere* that I’m not sure how I feel about it. That Cryptark was the perfect little thing with plenty of depth and difficult decision making – but transporting it to 3D, I don’t know, did I want to play it? It’s quite possible a lot of people who avoided Cryptark may get into Gunhead. Is it just the same game but with z coordinates? The inability to see behind like you can in 2D seems like this has to be less chaotic. But we will see…

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