On paper, Sprint RPG is an ode to classic first person dungeon crawlers like Eye of the Beholder, Wizardry, and the early Might and Magic games. In reality though, it plays a lot more like a rhythm action game, with just the visuals drawing inspiration from classic RPGs.

You’ll walk through a series of corridors, grabbing loot, whacking bats and skulls, and opening chests. Meanwhile, a timer ticks down, encouraging you to go fast if you want to make it to the end of the dungeon.

Initially, this isn’t much of a challenge. You can safely make it to the end of the dungeon by taking your time and learning enemy attack patterns. Quite quickly though, the timer will prove quite punishing.

Sprint RPG’s Genius Lies in its Timer That Doubles as a Health Bar

You see, it doubles up as your health bar. It’ll trickle down the longer you stay in the level but getting hit by an enemy or running into a wall will take a sizeable chunk out of it. There’s not an awful lot of margin for error in Sprint RPG.

Therein lies the genius though. You’re encouraged to go fast, because the timer is an ever-present nuisance, but mistakes will cut into health bar, so you have to really focus to make it to the end of later levels.

Not only that, but the game will start to throw more surprises at you. Early on, chests simply contain loot and whacking them is all you need to do to grab it and move on. Later, monsters will pop out instead and you’ll have to block their attacks and retaliate with your own before moving on.

You’ll Have to Learn Enemy Attack Patterns to Make it to the End of Later Levels

Each enemy has its own attack pattern that you have to learn. It might be that you have to block after every attack, block initially, or simply bring them down with a couple of slashes. You’ll need to learn them though, both to avoid damage and get to the end of the level quickly.

There’s a surprising amount of content in this minimalistic RPG though, including weapon and equipment skins to unlock – many of which are inspired by Nitrome’s back catalogue – and achievements to collect. It’ll keep you busy for ages if you take to it.

Ultimately, Sprint RPG is another hit for Nitrome. It’s addictive and soundly put together – so much so that the level of challenge is unlikely to put you off. Instead, you’ll simply want to have another go to try and beat that level the next time around.