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Curse of the Dead Gods, the review of a stylish roguelike


A roguelike with lots of style and some good ideas: after a long Early Access, the final version of Curse of the Dead Gods arrives

Until a few years ago, roguelikes represented a fresh and original market niche, to the point of attracting millions of players and thus saturating the genre in a flash. For some time now, in fact, it is not uncommon to see more or less successful clones of the most important titles appear, with some sparks ready to refresh this type of product. Let’s talk for example of the most recent Hades that we all acclaimed just a few months ago, at Monster Train, which in its DNA assimilated by Slay the Spire, blossomed with new ideas putting us on the side of the bad guys and the recent DLC of Dead Cells, ready to elevate further the Motion Twin masterpiece.

With so much variety, being able to create something truly original has become extremely difficult but Passtech Games did not want to give up, tweaking the early access of Curse of the Dead Gods to propose today a title determined to have its say in this scope. In our previous test the game had already shown all its peculiarities, but we were waiting for the launch to be able to admire it in due completeness. Today, after more than a year of Early Access, we have finally reached the long-awaited final verdict in Curse of the Dead Gods review!

A dark adventure with fresh gameplay

Curses will hit the less careful players hard

Playing as an unnamed explorer, a cursed Aztec temple will welcome us. The air you breathe is that of an Indiana Jones ready to deal with Darkest Dungeon andatmosphere it is imbued with that adventurous scent that cannot help but captivate the user. Curse of the Dead Gods is a title with gloomy tones, as if darkness were to accompany us at our every single step, determined to engulf us while deformed creatures await our false step to attack us.

A brutal beginning awaits you, without too many preambles or explanations, a quick impact with a title determined to immediately make it clear how much walking in a temple erected to celebrate ancient gods will not be that carefree picnic you imagined. In this climate, the mechanics oflighting, which more than other games of this type plays an incredibly important role. In addition to guaranteeing you the possibility of seeing enemies well in advance and being able to illuminate otherwise deadly traps, fighting in the light brings considerable advantages and instead denies damage bonuses for your fearsome opponents. Before putting your weapons to work, therefore, you will have to observe carefully where you are, since pulling out a sword means automatically putting away the torch, with a truly sublime swing of light and shadow games.

A fast and intuitive combat system is what awaits you

A fast and intuitive combat system is what awaits you
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It is interesting to be able to set fire to the cobwebs on the floor, to light embers strategically placed inside the rooms but also the brilliant idea of ​​being able to directly set the enemies on fire so that they are the source of illumination you so desired. In short, there are several ways to interact with this mechanic, solutions that we have found fun and winning, albeit unfortunately not impacting in the long run. In fact, if it is true that this gimmick is well thought out and during your first steps you will always try to find a way to stay in the light, as the hours of play pass your experience will make up for the lack of visibility, as skilled as you will have become to dodge the shots coming in or making perfect parries.

The combat system is immediate and appreciable and although the title tries to stand out as a difficult game, you will find that the combat mechanics are much more permissive than the direct contenders, with very large windows for the parades and rolled easy to ring consecutively, even simplified compared to the Early Access period. Although not free, the ability to roll from side to side is limited by stamina points under your character, to be recharged over time or by performing perfect dodges, a simple exercise for those with suitable manual skills. A step of additional complexity is introduced in case you decide to use ranged weapons or heavy weapons, given their ability to interrupt enemy attacks, as they also use the same stamina bar, but nothing too complicated for veterans of the genre to handle.

Many weapons, few enemies to use them on

Crossroads clearly inspired by Slay the Spire

Crossroads clearly inspired by Slay the Spire

The selection of weapons is made initially at the entrance of each new dungeon and then, by deciding which path to follow in a branch scheme identical to that seen in Slay the Spyre, you can stumble upon new weapons, upgrades for the same, relics or other treasures of value, so as to make you more lethal and maintain an adequate level of challenge. The variety of weapons is more than good and includes a broad spectrum of everything you would expect from a fantasy title like this, starting with the most common swords and maces up to muskets, claws and spears extremely in line with the Aztec theme. If the weapons satisfy, i enemies instead, both for variety and design, they leave something to be desired, disappointing our imagination and letting a glimpse of class touches only during clashes with bosses. In this regard, it is right to point out how the guardians of the various floors of the pyramid exploit repeated attack patterns, almost never changing rhythm or strategy and quickly becoming easy to read and to break down.

While the difficulty curve it suddenly lowers with the growth of the player’s experience, to keep the interest alive the curse mechanics intervenes, this really original and well thought out. Basically every door you pass through will increase a dedicated bar, the completion of which will correspond to a permanent curse for the whole run: you get to get five curses at once and your life will start to drop every second, requiring a truly superhuman effort to bring the adventure is over. Curse of the Dead Gods therefore contains a meta game, forcing the player to make careful choices at the altars of rewards so as not to accumulate excessive evil, to sacrifice pieces of equipment to try to appease the wrath of the gods and also to be careful of some attacks that, instead of damaging your health, will clearly aim to speed up the filling of this cursed stat. Within this ecosystem full of things to remember and decisions to make, the player always has the impression of being in control and every choice is made wisely by outlining a clear strategy. A system that works extremely well and that leaves each game over that insatiable desire to try their hand at another run and then another, until you get to defeat all 10 bosses of the pyramid, with sessions ranging from 15 to 50 minutes or more of play.

In the progression, obviously, a pinch of repetitiveness will come overwhelmingly, inevitable for games of this genre, but perhaps a bit too marked this time, with a procedural construction of the levels not sufficiently varied to avoid unpleasant frequent déjà-vu effects: the most bulk of a production to be kept in strict consideration.

Comment

It goes without saying that we had a lot of fun with Curse of the Dead Gods in Early Access and we did the same with its full version. The credit goes to a good amount of mechanics, all well thought out, to a series of extremely important choices to be made by the player and to a convincing graphic style, graced by a sublime technical sector for the level of production. We therefore have in our hands a truly excellent title that sins only in a variety of settings and overly marked enemies, unfortunately underlined by the genre of belonging that will lead you over and over again to having to face the same levels in rapid succession. The combat system is good, fast and responsive, for a production in line with the proposed price and to which fans of roguelikes should seriously pay attention.

PRO

  • Sublime style and atmosphere
  • Good variety of weapons and bonuses to unlock
  • Interesting new mechanics for the genre

VERSUS

  • Little variety of enemies and environments
  • Mild challenge for the more experienced
  • Amount of content not at the top






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