Curse of the Dead Gods Review – A Test of Skill and Patience

GAME INFO

Curse of the Lifeless Gods

February 23, 2021

Platform PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Change

Writer Focus Dwelling Interactive

Developer Passtech Video games

The Roguelike specific exhibits no indicators of slowing down. The once-niche style has exploded in recognition in recent times with numerous video games from builders each large and small flooding the market. The novelty of dying and retrying arguably wore off some time in the past, and but, simply whenever you suppose you couldn’t probably hack one other dungeon, a recreation like final yr’s Hades comes alongside and proves the style nonetheless has legs. Curse of the Lifeless Gods is the most recent recreation hoping to change into the recent new roguelike factor.

A back-to-basics action-roguelike from Masters of Anima developer Passtech Video games, Curse of the Lifeless Gods has spent the final year-or-so percolating in Early Entry. The sport has gathered its share of followers throughout that point, however will the total model be capable to hack it with a wider viewers? Seize your torch, it’s time to delve in…

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Curse of the Lifeless Gods casts gamers because the questionably-named British explorer Caradog McCallister, though you wouldn’t essentially know that from enjoying the sport itself. The story right here is so simple as it will get – whereas looking for treasure you get trapped in a temple and have to seek out your approach out, even when it means beating the crap out of some gods within the course of. Don’t count on any dialog, cutscenes, or characters apart from ol’ Caradog. Codex entries for the sport’s enemies and executives are about all you get.

No less than the sport does good job of setting the temper, with a easy, but sharp visuals. The sport options three temples to work by means of, every of which presents a unique tackle the sport’s general Mesoamerican theme – the Jaguar Temple is fiery and imposing, and Eagle Temple is earthy and overgrown, and the Serpent Temple is a diseased cesspit stuffed with eldritch horrors. Every temple is filled with enjoyable little touches, like piles of skulls that roll away as you hit them or vines that may be burnt along with your torch. Nonetheless, I do want the general presentation was rather less dry. Video games like Hades have proven you are able to do a roguelike with out forgoing character or story.

Curse of the Lifeless Gods’ fight is straightforward but satisfying. You may carry three weapons directly — one in your primary hand, one in your “off” hand, and one which requires each palms to wield. Every of those weapons is assigned to a face button in your controller and you’ll change between them immediately, permitting you to chain collectively lethal combos. The fourth face button switches to your torch, which is essential, as darkness will increase the harm you’re taking and makes traps invisible (it’s at all times a good suggestion to ignite any braziers you see whenever you enter a brand new space). Lastly, the fitting set off makes you dodge and the left set off allows you to parry, supplied you time it correctly. And that’s about it. Fortunately, the whole lot feels very easy and responsive, and whereas the barrier to entry isn’t excessive, there’s loads of room for mastery.

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There are all kinds of weapon sorts within the recreation, from swords, to hammers, to whips, and bows, simply to call a couple of. Every weapon kind has its personal distinctive really feel and strengths, and you’ll mix them as you see match to forge your individual play kinds. Wade into the thick of the melee with heavy hammers and shields, stick and transfer with razor-sharp claws and whips, or rain down dying from afar with throwing knives, pistols, and bows. Who is aware of? Roll with the weapons the sport throws at you and it’s possible you’ll discover some sudden favourite combos.

Every temple run requires you to make your approach by means of a collection of “rooms” (really consisting of a number of rooms or battle arenas generally), punctuated by boss battles. Between levels, you’ll be able to select your path by way of a easy map, with every node indicating what kind of bonuses you’ll be able to count on. Plotting your course correctly is essential – do you recharge your well being or seize some gold in a treasure room? Do you decide up a brand new weapon or improve your present one? As you’re employed your approach by means of the rooms, you’ll steadily level-up your stats and acquire Relics that may grant you essential buffs, however turning into extra highly effective isn’t a easy one-way avenue.

The principle factor that units Curse of the Lifeless Gods aside from different roguelikes are its titular Curses. Each time you cross between rooms or take up harm from sure enemies, you’ll obtain Corruption. You may also choose to pay for upgrades, relics, and weapons with blood as an alternative of gold, which is able to increase your Corruption. In case your Corruption reaches a sure threshold, you’ll obtain a Curse. The primary 4 Curses you get aren’t that devastating, as they often inflict each a detrimental and constructive impact, however your fifth Curse is a nasty twist of the knife that nearly at all times spells your doom. Throughout longer runs, ensuring to not decide up that fifth Curse will likely be your biggest problem.

After all, it is a roguelike, so that you will be dying. Quite a bit. It’s essential to notice Curse of the Lifeless Gods is not an RPG, it’s a extra conventional motion roguelike, so there’s no approach to maintain onto stat will increase or your favorites weapons after you die. That stated, there are some methods to enhance your possibilities for future runs. You may unlock and equip as much as three buff-granting Blessings, broaden the pool of weapons you will discover in temples, and construct and enhance the altars that give you weapons firstly of a run.

Unlocking everlasting upgrades feels good at first, however ultimately they cease feeling notably significant. Past a sure threshold, you’re going to want to depend on your fight expertise, which isn’t a foul factor, though the addition of the Curse system could make for a very punishing expertise. Attending to the tip of the sport with out getting that lethal fifth Curse requires nearly good play – get hit with a pair Corruption-inflicting assaults early on and it’s possible you’ll as nicely pack it in. What looks like a reasonably accessible recreation at first is definitely some of the troublesome roguelikes I’ve performed not too long ago.

However hey, roguelikes are speculated to be arduous, proper? Attending to the tip ought to be a uncommon, hard-won achievement! I get and agree with that, however the truth is, beating Curse of the Lifeless Gods goes to require a lot of runs, and the sport simply doesn’t have the range to assist that. Whereas the sport shuffles the order of its rooms and randomizes loot and enemy placement to a sure diploma, the format of every one is pre-determined. You’ll shortly change into very aware of each temple’s rooms, particularly those you encounter early on in a run. Additionally, there simply aren’t sufficient totally different enemy sorts, with sure grunts showing again and again advert nauseum. Elite-level roguelikes like the unique Rogue, NetHack, and Spelunky absolutely procedurally generate their ranges, so that you get a totally authentic journey every time. Alternatively, Hades takes a extra conservative method to randomization, however serves up an unusually participating world and characters. Curse of the Lifeless Gods doesn’t actually supply deep variation or story.

After all, whether or not a recreation is just too grindy or repetitive is subjective. Some individuals discover studying the format of each room in a recreation like this calming and satisfying. Some people will love Curse of the Lifeless Gods, I’ve little question, however there will likely be others who don’t discover it as participating long-term as the perfect video games within the style. I didn’t. However hey, should you’re down for the grind, there’s definitely lots to maintain you busy right here – count on to take a great 20 to 30 hours (relying in your expertise) to beat the sport, and after that, there are tougher modes and extra challenges to sort out. Whether or not you’ll be able to tolerate staring on the similar temple partitions for that lengthy, is as much as you.

This assessment was primarily based on a PS4 copy of Curse of the Lifeless Gods (performed on a PS5) supplied by writer Focus Dwelling Interactive.

7.5

Curse of the Lifeless Gods is a enjoyable, polished, and mechanically-sound roguelike with a couple of sensible twists. Sadly, a scarcity of character and selection means it’s additionally a recreation that will get much less attention-grabbing the longer you play it. Hardcore roguelike followers will get pleasure from their time with these Lifeless Gods, however much less devoted gamers might discover themselves praying for reduction.

Professionals

  • Slick, accessible motion
  • Clear, enticing visuals
  • Effectively-conceived improve system
  • Curses combine issues up in a wise approach
  • Good bang in your buck

Cons

  • Little or no story
  • Begins to really feel overly repetitive
  • Curse system maybe too demanding