Based in Prague, Czech Republic

The Keep

Release date:
20th December 2018 US
24th December 2018 EU

Nintendo Switch


Regular Price:



The Keep, an old-school dungeon crawler with real-time combat.

Never say never to RPG games

Cinemax are trying to pour all their love for old-school games into the game and proving themselves that they were wrong saying after the release of the Inquisitor: “We will never ever make a RPG game ever again!”

What is The Keep?

The Keep is a modern take on old-school dungeon crawlers like Dungeon Master, Etrian Odyssey, Eye of Beholder or Wizardry. The basic concept of The Keep is simple: explore the dungeons in the first-person perspective, fight monsters with magic and weapons, solve puzzles, evolve your character. It was first launched successfully for 3DS in 2014, then for PC (Steam) in 2017 and now it’s coming to Nintendo Switch - with a lot of improvements in graphics and gameplay. Every version of the game was carefully crafted to suit the specifics of each platform including Switch version.

What’s so special about The Keep?

The atmosphere, puzzle-like magic system based on runes, real-time tactical combat and clever level design. The Keep has 77/100 rating on Metacritic for 3DS version and 8/10 on Steam for PC version. It's a pretty good score for a game made by only a few people from Cinemax.

Why did you think the magic system is fun and innovative?

You can use magic in combat and for solving puzzles and finding secrets throughout the dungeons. Magic system is based on scrolls, runes and magic grid. Scrolls tell you what combination of runes is necessary to cast specific spells based on fire, ice and lightning. But there is a limited space on the magic grid where you put the magic runes. How effective you position the runes on the grid determine how many spells and combinations of spells you have available for casting at one time. It’s a mini-game in itself.

What about the tactical combat system?

Fighting, either with weapons or magic, takes place in real-time. When coming across enemy or band of enemies you can fight, run or try to lure the enemy to the position which is advantageous for you. When fighting with weapons you can hit the enemy in several hit zones, every one of them has a different effect on a different enemy combined with used weapon and armour and of course players statistics. As every enemy is using a different type of defence and offensive tactics, you need to find out which strategy and weapon class or spell is the most effective. You won’t find a universally successful strategy in The Keep. This applies especially for bosses :) It is also important to look after your health, stamina and mana level. All three regenerates slowly over time or you can replenish them with appropriate flasks which can be found throughout the dungeons. There’s also concentration ability. You gain it with successful melee strikes during combat. The number of available combo strikes increases with player Melee level. Different combo strikes are available for each weapon class.

What about puzzles and secrets?

The Keep takes place in dungeons filled not only with enemies but also with elaborate puzzles and a lot of deadly traps. There are a lot of secret puzzles and passages which are not necessary to find or solve to complete the game. But as there a lot of useful items (rune health flask, scrolls, weapons, crystals) in the secret places, it’s useful to look for them. It’s also fun and rewarding to look for hidden switches, wells and platforms. But beware, there may be enemies waiting for adventurous heroes in these secret areas.

What about level design?

In The Keep, you navigate dungeons in first-person perspective. There are 10 levels in total, one after another more and more complex and dangerous. There is no turning back once you leave one level for another. It’s therefore wise to look for every weapon, rune, flask or enemy to fight in every level before you leave after completion. You may regret it in later stages, especially when you face a dangerous boss. Or you can use one of the new features in Switch version. It’s the area available in every level where you can fight hordes of enemies to level-up your character if you find out in later stages of the game that your hero is underpowered and is not able to defeat tougher bosses.

What about difficulty?

There are three difficulty levels in The Keep in order to satisfy newcomers to the genre and seasoned adventurers. Chosen difficulty level affects toughness and number of the enemies, not the number and complexity of puzzles. There is also permadeath option for all three difficulty levels for hardcore players. Permadeath means when you die, you must start the game from the beginning of the chapter.

What about story and localization?

Yes, there is a story. It’s not a Shakespearean novella, but it has its hooks. Wizard called Watrys seized control over the powerful and dangerous substance called Crystals and it’s ancient and very dangerous magic. He terrorizes the whole realm with his newly gained power and responsible council do nothing about it. It’s up to you, unsung hero, to go after Watrys in his keep and restore the peace in the realm. It won’t be easy, and you will learn some secrets about your past in the process…

The Story is presented through cutscenes in between levels in English voiceovers. The in-game text is localized into four languages - English, German, French and Czech.

What’s new in Switch version of the game?

Due to the specifics of the platform, the team had to invent a completely new control scheme for Switch platform, which enabled to retain complexity and tactical nature of the combat and magic and ad the same time was perfectly comfortable to the players.

There's also whole new part of the game - training grounds, where you can train your hero throughout the game and be prepared to challenge which awaits you later in the games.

Cinemax team also worked hard on improving graphics, animations and game design features in response to players feedback to previous versions.


Many have been mesmerized by the blue depths of the Crystals. Those who tried to control them became their slaves. The weak were killed and the strong broken. With ancient knowledge of magic rediscovered old terrors found their way into the Realm and a new nefarious wizard came into being.

While the Council hides behind thick stone walls and ignores the Darkness sweeping across the Realm a young warrior comes to face the wizard. He is certainly not the first one to do so ...

Enter the Keep as an unsung hero on a quest to destroy the nefarious wizard Watrys. Explore the subterranean depths in this first-person dungeon crawler featuring real-time combat, a unique rune magic system, exploration, and puzzle solving. This game will awaken memories of what made old-school RPG dungeons so much fun to play while you fight, hunt for hidden treasures, and avoid deadly traps. Get to know your enemies, find their weaknesses, and crush them. Experiment with magic to discover powerful spells. Only the strongest will survive.

To defeat the seemingly undefeatable Watrys, you will need to level up your character and find powerful armor and weapons.

Do you have what it takes to stand against such evil? Then don’t procrastinate and enter. The Keep awaits you ...


  • An old-school first-person dungeon crawler with a modern twist.
  • Exploring and puzzle solving—the caves and dungeons are full of surprises. There will be deadly traps, elaborate mechanisms guarding secret passages, trapdoors and treasures with powerful weapons and supplies.
  • Real-time combat—a battle against enemies with a gesture based combat, but swiping horizontally or diagonally is not enough. Defeating enemies means that you have to break their defences hitting the upper or lower body or focusing on their head. Every enemy requires different strategy and every weapon class offers unique combos.
  • Rune magic—you can rearrange runes on a 5×4 board and then chain them together to cast powerful elemental magic (Fire, Ice or Lightning). Runes are scarce but there are a lot of spells, so be careful to pick the right combinations.
  • 3 difficulty. The Keep will offer something for newbies in the genre, seasoned adventurers and for those who like to tackle with proper challenge—every difficulty level will have a Permadeath option.
  • Every enemy requires different strategy and every weapon class offers unique combos.
  • Captivating soundtrack
  • English voiceovers with localized in-game text to seven languages - English, German, French and Czech.


There are currently no trailers available for The Keep. Check back later for more or contact us for specific requests!


download all screenshots as .zip (217MB)
download all arts as .zip (33MB)

download logo files as .zip (179KB)

Press Release, 29th of November 2018
The Keep - Release Date. Download the press release in PDF here: thekeep-game.com.

The Keep - QA. Download the QA release in PDF here: thekeep-game.com.


Cinemax, independent studio based in Prague with track record of 40 titles published on various platforms including Steam, iOS and Nintendo e-shop.

More information
More information on CINEMAX, our logo & relevant media are available here.

The Keep Credits

Martin Linda, Karel Samonil, Ales Ulm, Jaroslav Kulic, Martin Vocet, Marek Nepozitek, Lukas Macura, Martin Kovar, Michael Pecka
Prisoners of Watrys (Dev Team)

Alex Carrington, Alex D Attoma, Colin Solman, Gavin Turnbull, Henry Sargeant, Jasper Koch

Michael Waaler, Friedrich Klemme, Jeremiah Costello, Udo Baumhögger
Translation and English Voice Recordings



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presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks