In the last six months, I have played and beaten more roguelikes than I have in the nearly two decades that I have been playing video games. While it wasn't a genre I had really paid much attention to before, I have quickly fallen in love with the intricacies and brutal difficulty of roguelike games. Curse of the Dead Gods was actually a game that I have been looking at on Steam for a little while now but didn't want to check it out until it had come out of Early Access. Now that it has I can definitely say though that developer Passtech Games has done an excellent job with making Curse of the Dead Gods a blast to play.
In Curse of the Dead Gods, the player is tasked with exploring a dark and ancient temple in their pursuit to acquire the untold riches that are tucked away inside. The only issue though is in their path is a near-infinite number of nasty monsters, sharp and/or flaming traps, and powerful bosses that want nothing more than to rip the player apart. Like all roguelikes, it is going to take a supreme amount of skill, patience, and luck for those who hope to see it through to the end.
Brutal and Aggression Focused Combat
Combat in Curse of the Dead Gods is actually very rewarding and exciting because there are a lot of different mechanics at play. You are given both a melee and a ranged weapon at the beginning of the game that gives you several different ways to bring enemies down. You can use them in conjunction to create powerful combos, charge the attacks up to deal more damage to enemies, or even use them to parry attacks and stun monsters. Dodging and parrying are a huge part of combat, and it actually gave me some flashbacks to my experiences with Bloodborne due to its fast-paced action and intense focus on being as aggressive as possible to deal damage to enemies.
One of my favorite combat mechanics in the game though has to do with light and fire. Since the player is inside a dark temple, most of their time is spent in darkness. The issue with that though is that any damage taken while shrouded in darkness is actually amplified, so staying in the dark is a bad decision. To combat this you are given a torch that can be used to light braziers throughout each area, which you can then stand near to get an additional layer of defense. Enemies will try to snuff out these flames though, so you then are forced to juggle fighting monsters and keeping the flame lit for survival. The flame will also illuminate any hidden traps in your path, so it is imperative that the player has their torch out with them whenever possible.
Curses Can Also Be an Advantage
Like the majority of roguelikes, there is a certain level of progression that you can access both in-game and between runs to grow stronger as time goes on. During a run, you will be able to pick up new weapons, purchase temporary buffs by spending coins or blood (more on that in a bit) or acquire new skills temporarily. Once the player dies or completes a run though they can take any of the treasure that was acquired along the way and spend it on more permanent upgrades or to unlock different weapons that can then appear throughout the temple during a run. Many of the roguelikes I have played recently I feel have shied away from progression systems like this, but I greatly appreciate it when games like Curse of the Dead Gods provide players with many ways to improve themselves. It also feels like there is constantly something to be striving for.
Curse of The Dead Gods is a deeply rewarding and challenging roguelike that I will have trouble putting down anytime soon due to the sheer level of its addictiveness.
The most unique thing that Curse of the Dead Gods has going for it is its Curse system. As you progress further and further into the temple there is a small gauge on the bottom right side of the screen that will slowly fill. This is the Curse gauge and once it has been completely filled the player will receive some form of Curse that will impede their progress in the game. Curses can range from enemies being able to deal more damage, stamina being reduced considerably, or enemies can even gain the ability to conceal themselves in the shadows. There are many more Curses out there and some of them are worse than others. Players will have to manage their Curse bar well while playing because opening doors, taking certain types of damage, or trading blood for upgrades will all increase the gauge.
A Deeply Rewarding Roguelike
Clever players will able to use some of these Curses to their advantage though. One called "Volatile Remains" causes enemies to explode a few seconds after they die. This can be very deadly if you aren't careful, but it can also be a very effective way to clear a room of other enemies if you dodge out of the way fast enough. "Torch of Sorrow" is another that can be quite useful. With this in play the Torch loses its ability to light braziers and to light enemies on fire, but it can still reveal traps and the player will no longer take extra damage when standing in darkness. It is imperative that each of these Curses is looked into very well because many of them provide some kind of advantage that can be exploited.
In all actuality, anyone who has played the very popular Hades will see quite a few similarities between these two games. They feel and look very similar to each other, and will definitely appeal to the same kind of players. The downside to Curse of The Dead Gods though is that it doesn't bring the same level of charm and whimsy with cute and funny character interactions, and unless you have some pretty bizarre fetishes (no judgment here) you most likely won't find any of Curse of the Dead Gods' characters particularly sexy. On the other hand, I think combat is much more interesting and rewarding than any other roguelike I've played in the last few months, which is one of the most important aspects of this genre.
Welcome to Your New Roguelike Addiction
Curse of the Dead Gods really is an exciting addition to the roguelike genre, and one that's combat system alone will probably have players coming back for more. At times enemy types and the layout of the temple can get a little stale, but the challenging difficulty and huge selection of weapons allow for plenty of variety and excitement. Altogether Curse of The Dead Gods very quickly becomes a game that becomes extremely addicting very quickly, and this is definitely a game that I won't be putting down any time soon.
TechRaptor reviewed Curse of the Dead Gods on PC using a Steam code provided by the developer. It can also be played on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
- Deeply Engaging Combat
- Darkly Beautiful Visuals
- Intriguing Curse System
- Risky and Challenging Gameplay
- Can Be Overly Difficult
- Slight Lack of Diversity