Curse of the Dead Gods – Preview
Follow Genre: Action, Roguelike
Developer: PASSTECH Games
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platform: PC (Steam)
Tested On: PC (Steam)

Curse of the Dead Gods – Preview

Good: Good combat, high skill ceiling, quick to play
Bad: Lack of soundtrack, not enough variation
User Score
9.5
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (4 votes cast)

Roguelikes are a popular genre and every year we see several newcomers, with Curse of the Dead Gods being one of the newest additions to the roster. It receives inspiration from other roguelikes such as Darkest Dungeon or Slay the Spire, adding its own spin on the formula by being a top-down hack and slasher.

Currently, as of the day of writing this preview, Curse of the Dead Gods is in version 0.17.2 of Early Access, having been released the 3rd of March and the latest update being that of the 18th of March, which added several quality of life and balance changes.

Despite being in Early Access, it is clearly visible that Curse of the Dead Gods is quite a solid game, it more than shines by itself. Having beautiful graphics and slick, fast-paced gameplay. A letdown though, is the current lack of sountrack, but this will probably be solved in future updates. The “story” involves your character being a treasure hunter, who upon trying to loot the temple, gets trapped and cursed inside. Quite a standard roguelike story.

Curse of the Dead Gods distinguishes itself from other games in the genre by doing everything it does really, really, well. The combat requires skill without being completely unforgiving for new players. The difficulty progression is noticeable but fair, instead of sudden spikes in challenge, the player will encounter subtle changes to enemy damage, health, etc. Before starting a run, the player can choose from their unlocked blessings, which provide a small buff during the game.

Along the way, the main mechanic of the game comes into play: curses. These can vary, going from some which can be mixed, and those that are plain miserable, the latter being usually quite strong. The resource that measures whether you receive a curse is called corruption, if your meter reaches 100 (or 120 if you have one of the starting blessings equipped), you receive one. Corruption can be obtained from several sources: getting hit by certain enemies, offering blood in altars (explained later on) and healing at the blood fountain.

Over the course of the game you improve yourself as well, particularly your stats, weapons and relics, but all this coming at a cost, of course. Whenever you find an altar you can choose between offering gold or blood. The first is as straightforward as it gets: you obtain gold as you progress through the levels and can choose to spend it. The second though, is more interesting. Offering blood means you gain an amount of corruption, making you get cursed sooner. With this mechanic in place, even if you have no money can still decide to purchase at an altar, but doing so may land you one of the worse curses. A similar thing happens with blood fountains, these allow you to heal a flat rate of health at the cost of another flat rate of corruption (these may vary depending on the blessings you carry).

These risk-reward mechanics make the player think and decide whether the thing paid for is worth the possible drawback, keeping them on their toes. This also happens with the combat, you can choose to play it safe, or rely on your timing to dodge or parry enemy attacks, which is not as easy as it sounds since it relies on you waiting till the last second.

On top of this, dodging is not completely reliable since it requires stamina, of which you have a limited amount. That said, stamina is recoverable by dodging at the last second, which reimburses the point spent. The problem here is that stamina is also used for combo finishers on your main weapon and any attack with the two handed one, forcing you to choose between dealing more damage and being able to protect yourself.

There are several types of weapons depending on the category, main hand, off hand and two handed. For main hand weapons you can find machetes, maces, macanas and claws. For offhand, shields, revolvers and daggers. Lastly, for two hand weapons you can find dark swords, lances, bows and hammers.

There are also relics, these may be obtained the same way as weapons, from random drops or bought in altars. These relics offer buffs varying in power, from more healing to flat stats, completely based on rng and tend to make or break a run.

Currently there isn’t much variation for any of the items, the pools being rather limited. Same is the case for enemies, currently 6 different ones in the 3rd dungeon. You can see every variation with a few runs. This being a potential drawback for players

On the topic of runs, the standard length of one is about 15 to 30 minutes depending on the speed you play at and the dungeon you chose, as these vary in length. Bosses appear depending on the dungeon as well, the longer the dungeon the more bosses there is, all of them being always the same and in order.

Conclusion

Curse of the Dead Gods is a really worthwhile game even in Early Access. It has great replay value taking into account the skill ceiling is quite high. The graphics are quite impressive as well being very polished. The only letdowns is the current lack of soundtrack, but this is probable to change soon, likewise more enemies and items are scheduled to be added on future updates.

Personal opinion

As mentioned in the review, CotDG is a really good game and worth your time. While playing it I had a great amount of fun. It keeps the balance between being challenging but still telling you “you can do it, go!” In just a few runs, I saw my skill noticeably improve, every enemy shines when they are about to attack, you just need to seize the opportunity and get used to the timing. My only qualms are how lacking the variety of enemies and items is, but as mentioned, this will be addressed in later updates. As a nitpick, before the current version the colors for curses used to be a grayish yellow, instead of the current purple, which I preferred due to the effect on the eyes.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Curse of the Dead Gods - Preview, 9.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.