Curse of the Dead Gods is a single-player dungeon crawler roguelite and is available this month on PS Plus. You play as a brave warrior tasked with entering procedural dungeons in search of gold, weapons, and other means to improve your chances of survival. In Curse of the Dead Gods, there’s no long prologue and you’re thrown straight into the action as you explore the dark corridors filled with hostile enemies, traps, and darkness. I have to say Curse of the Dead Gods deals with combat in a very effortless way which makes the combat a real delight to behold.
You’ve got a variety of attack slots which vary depending on your loadout whether you’re using a flintlock pistol, one-handed blade, or 2 handed weaponry. Enemy attacks can be parried, and you can effortlessly rollout of danger but you have to manage these actions with your available stamina. Charge attacks timed correctly can devastate your foes and it’s got a really nice balance between attack and defense making almost all combat scenarios a joy to play. If you string attacks together, you will get greed kills, giving you more loot from gold to precious skulls or jade rings. Darkness and light affect your character so use your torch wisely.
There are fire pits spread through the rooms but they are destructible so it’s a fine balancing act between attack, lighting the rooms up, and managing your stamina. Curse of the Dead Gods does feature interesting modifiers that can alter these conditions though. These modifiers are referred to as curses which manifest themselves as your corruption reaches a critical point. The deeper you delve into the dungeon the more corruption you carry and toward the end of a run, you’ll really be up against it with multiple curses burdening your poor adventurer.
It is a very well-thought-out system and it does make each run feel slightly different even though most dungeons geographically felt almost identical. To counter the corruption, you can obtain blessings from the religious sources throughout the levels but they do come at a cost whether that be gold or blood, nothing comes for free in Curse of the Dead Gods and it’s a balancing act again between all of these factors whether you succeed or you fail. Dungeons are broken down into rooms with each having a certain benefit stated on the dungeon map so it’s up to you to choose your path whether you want health, gold, weapons, or blessings.
All dungeons end in a boss fight and I’d say these fights are well balanced, they don’t feel too difficult but that’s not to say you’re not going to be in for a challenge because you’re going to have to deal with the curses that are on you at that time. Once the run ends whether you succeed or you fail you end up in the underworld and this is like a hub where you manage your blessings, unlock new weaponry, prepare starting load-outs or purchase divine favors but again these things are not free as you have to use crystal skulls, jade rings and other currency to purchase these things.
Curse of the Dead Gods is a game that requires you to embrace the grind as it does take quite a while to unlock high-quality gear but perseverance is the key. The game adopts a staple roguelite procedural structure but this is one of the most disappointing parts of the game. Dungeon to dungeon the levels are remarkably similar usually you know it takes a few days of play to spot the patterns but not with this game, within 3 or 4 runs you can see it a mile off and it really is a disappointing feature making the process of taking on levels feel very repetitive.
There are re-used assets all over the place and lots of bosses and sections were identical and not a lot of variety. It would have been so much better if the game world had been a unique creation as Curse of the Dead Gods is so smooth and satisfying to play in terms of combat. Still, the tired and predictable nature of the level design impacts negatively on the enjoyment levels. It’s good fun to play for about an hour at a time to do a few dungeon runs then you’ll call it a day and come back another day.
If you play it for longer than an hour it’s unbearably repetitive. Finally on gameplay one glaring omission is the lack of any multiplayer or co-op. It is such a fun game to play in terms of the combat as I said and I can only imagine how much better it would have been with playing with a friend but sadly we will never know. Visually the game world looks pretty solid with a sort of soft pastel shaded style, the lighting is excellent and the character animations are smooth but again the procedure levels were visually and structurally repetitive and lacked any innovative or original elements.
Sound-wise Curse of the Dead Gods is excellent with wonderful punchy sound effects for the combat. The music although good isn’t something you’ll remember as it kind of sits there in the background acting more like an ambient soundtrack than an in-your-face soundtrack. Curse of the Dead Gods is a cool and entertaining dungeon crawler ideal for short sessions, the combat is effortless and one of the best examples in the genre and the variable corruption factors make each run feel unique. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the level design which was an overwhelmingly disappointing feature.
The dungeons are very repetitive and after 2 or 3 runs it is very difficult to go again. I know smaller development teams love procedural worlds as it saves them time and money but, in this case, it has a detrimental effect on the long-term enjoyment of the game. If the game world had been a unique creation with a story and vastly different design level to level it would have been one of the best games I’ve played recently, sadly it isn’t but it’s still a remarkably enjoyable game albeit one just for short moments. I would recommend it just for the slickness of the combat and the corruption elements.
Curse of the Dead Gods will be available to PlayStation Plus members until Monday, June 06.
Curse of the Dead Gods is a cool and entertaining dungeon crawler ideal for short sessions, the combat is effortless and one of the best examples in the genre and the variable corruption factors make each run feel unique. Sadly, the same can't be said for the level design which was an overwhelmingly disappointing feature.