How much keep would Kram Keep cram if Kram Keep could cram keep? As it turns out, it can, and the answer is "an awful lot." Ryan Ledohowski, also known as metaknight3000, began work on this platform game for Ludum Dare 31 so this entire Metroidvania adventure is squeezed and smushed into single screen! Emphasis on the "Vania" portion of that portmanteau, as this exploratory, power-uppy quest draws a lot of inspiration from the classic Castlevania series. Jump into the shoes of a blue-haired vampire hunter, and rid this labyrinthine citadel of the bloodsucking menace who lives on the top floor! You'll start off with a single, basic jump on the [X] key, and the ability to throw knives with [C]. But since this is a Metroidvania, as you make your way into the depths of the keep, you'll soon discover new skills that will help you explore deeper and fight more dangerously. Oh, and you can change the controls too, if [X] and [C] don't suit your fancy. Don't be caught off-guard by this adorably teeny-weeny castle... It's only too happy to claim its next victim!
The combination of single-screen and Metroidvania is actually quite liberating in many ways. Since the entire game world is visible to you at all times, figuring out where to take your new abilities, and scoping out the best places to explore, are much easier and require far less backtracking and aimless wandering than usual. Skills and power-ups are clearly visible, meaning no rummaging through the game world to find that last heart expansion or skill you need to beat the game. Of course, the tiny size of your character and enemies means that following the action can be strenuous on the eyes, if you don't keep the game zoomed in with [shift]. But whether you play it all on one screen, or zoomed in for a more classic experience, Kram Keep is still a mighty fine little Metroidvania. There are only two powers you absolutely need to find to advance, with the third being a bonus, but each one opens up huge new portions of the castle for you to explore. There's precisely four enemy types, but they're positioned throughout the castle in ways that force you to consider every move you make. Although some are in inopportune places, there's always a way around them, or to defeat them without taking damage. The jumping puzzles require tight reflexes, spatial awareness, and the occasional thinking-outside-the-box, but the controls are responsive. There is an unfortunate lack of checkpoints, leading to some platforming repetition during difficult segments. Thankfully, dying never undoes important progress, like getting new skills. Kram Keep is a challenging and satisfying adventure that goes to show just how much you can accomplish, even in a limited space.