Based in Stockholm, Sweden
1st September 2020
Free with in-app purchases
Crux is a rock climbing game that brings the essence of the sport to your smartphone. Climbing is about carefully planning your route and flawless execution - and Crux translates this into a novel timing-based puzzle mechanic with artful aesthetics.
You swipe on either side of the screen to move your climbers hands or feet to a new hold - but each hold will only let her hands hang on for so long. Find the sequence of moves that get you to the top and execute them without hesitation!
The game comes with over 100 levels, from gently ladder-like to nail-biters that demand absolute perfection. But don’t worry - there is a practice mode that lets you hang on to the tiniest hold for eternity.
And when you mastered all the challenges or just want to get creative - Crux lets you design your own levels! The Route Setter lets you choose one of four wall sizes to build, test and share your own levels.
Since its launch, Crux has been featured prominently on the App Store (Game of the Day, New Games We Love...), received favourable reviews in games and climbing media (Kotaku, PocketGamer, Climbing Magazine, etc) and a few award nominations (PocketGamer Most Innovative Game, Best Sport Game). With its 2.0 update it also opened the doors to several new features focussing on the community, including tournament support and search & discovery functionality to help players find the routes made by others.
When Crux creator Ben Dressler visited Yosemite Valley for the first time in 2016 he got inspired to create a climbing-themed game in the spiritual line of succession of Altos Adventure - with simple controls and beautifully stylized art centered on the nature experience.
A small obstacle to overcome was that Ben was neither an artist nor could write a line of code. It took about 3 years of weekends and evenings to learn enough of the basic skills, prototype plenty of gameplay approaches to climbing (yes, there was a drag-the-limb prototype) and settle on an art style (and having his first kid in the process).
However, shortly after going into production mode on ‘Project Yosemite’ in late 2019 it became clear that the artistic scope was too large and that the project needed simplification. It was at that time that the Corona Virus changed the world and climbing gyms all over the world shut their doors. This sparked the idea to pivot the game around a climbing gym experience with a much narrower artistic scope. Crux was born as hopefully the first entry in a series of artful climbing games.
Simple timing-based puzzle gameplay
Authentic climbing movements are powered by over 40 hand-crafted animations
Flat shaded 3D allows for the movement to look realistic yet delightfully minimalistic at the same time
Over 100 hand-crafted levels - and several thousands made by the community
Look around and ‘read the route’ whenever on a ‘save hold’
Build your own levels and share them with others
Practice-mode to try a level without any time pressure
‘Flash’ achievement for any level that you complete on the first attempt
Original music and audio transport you right into the climbing gym setting (headphones recommended!)
Crux is a free game for iOS and Android
Participate in competition events where all players can try and complete as many boulders as possible from specially designed levels - the most completes in the fewest attempts win!
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Articles, Praise & Data
Articles, reviews, features
- AppStore 'Game of the Day' in over 160 countries
- Kotaku feature article
- Climbing Magazine article
- Gripped Magazine article
- Outside Magazine article (french, paywall)
- AndroidPolice Games of the Week
- Seven Days To Play podcast review (available on Spotify)
James Gilmour, PocketGamer:
Take QWOP and force the flaily-limbed character to go rock climbing, and you've got something akin to Crux: A Climbing Game. Actually, it's a lot more graceful than that. But it's still demanding, occasionally chaotic, and looks painful when it goes wrong. I recommend it - I’m having a good time even though I’m getting destroyed!
Bennett Slavsky, Climbing Magazine:
Playing Crux is pleasantly intriguing, especially as the levels increase in difficulty. Just like real climbing, as the routes get harder the sequence becomes more precise, and dialing in beta as your avatar climber fights the pump mimics the real-life problem solving process. The game is clearly well-made by climbers and for climbers.
Brandon Pullan, Gripped Magazine:
"A great game to keep working on boulder problems while gyms are closed" - "I solved problems on Crux for an hour and I’m hooked. It’s probably the best climbing game that you’ll play this season" - "The game is simple, stylish, and it incorporates core climbing concepts, like movement, rhythm and flow. The gameplay nails the problem-solving side of bouldering from start to finish."
Riley MacLeod, Kotaku:
New mobile game Crux almost scratches my climbing itch: the climbing gym simulator gives me the problem-solving fun of rock climbing, but without the sore arms and shirtless bros of the gym.
Crux gives me some of the mental joys of climbing, if not the physical and social joy of doing it myself. In these shitty times, that’s a pretty great thing.
Matthew Sholtz, AndroidPolice:
I expected a casual affair with simplistic mechanics, but boy, was I wrong. [...] I was pleasantly surprised by Crux, so it's definitely worth checking out if you're looking for a game that requires skill to play.
Edwin van Beinum & Samwoo Ee, Seven Days To Play
This is a quite original idea - I don’t think I’ve seen a puzzle climbing game before. [...] There is a certain grace to scaling walls that is accurately captured here. [...] I got into the groove of things pretty easily - and by the sixth day I was seeing the matrix. [...] A surprisingly deep game.
Data (latest update: June 6th 2021)
90,100 accounts created
90k/5k MAU (best/worst month)
10 million level attempts
4.9 million minutes total play time
241,000 achievements since 01/2021
6,200 player-made levels
09:50 min average session time
392 AppStore ratings (4.0 average)
304 PlayStore ratings (4.1 lifetime average)
Credits & Contact
Development - Ben Dressler, Helge Wieding, Moritz Albrecht
Art - Ben Dressler
Music & Sound - Sophie Albrecht