Review – Curse of the Dead Gods
A lonely and weary traveller discovers an old cave and decides to take shelter from the storm. Alas, he becomes trapped as the door to the cave slams shut behind him and he has no choice but to explore further. He happens upon a giant stone door and upon touching it, opens it but causing corruption to enter his soul. He proceeds to explore the temple to see what it holds in store. Curse of the Dead Gods, a Passtech Games and Focus Home Interactive production, is a roguelite temple explorer where the player will explore, complete the temple or die trying, apply upgrades, and then explore again. The addition of both fun to use weapons and random curses really keeps this title fresh and exciting from run to run.
To prepare for a run, the player is allowed to select between four different altars, the starting weapons. These include both a primary and secondary weapon at random placed on each altar. Then the player can spend acquired currency from previous runs to unlock new blessings, forsaken weaponry, weapon altars and divine favors to be used during each temple run. Blessings can be equipped (up to 3 per run) to give certain advantages like additional gold to start or health benefits. The player then proceeds to touch the temple door and then select the temple type (Jaguar, Eagle and Serpent) and difficulty of the temple (Introductory, Champion, etc) and begin the run.
Each temple has different enemies, traps, champions, and other unique characteristics about it. The temple of the Jaguar is loaded with fire-based traps and enemies. Eagle has copious amounts of air attack-based enemies and statues that come to life as traps with dual swords and spears. Serpent has a plethora of poison-based attacks and traps like poison spouts and clouds throughout. The champions of the different temples are challenging but beatable with a great strategy of timing attacks versus when to defend.
The attack system includes primary, secondary, and heavy weapon attacks with each attack utilising a stamina point for each attack. The primary and secondary weapons range from one handed swords and daggers to long range bows and pistols. They can be upgraded or swapped by finding upgrade altars or treasure chest drops. Upgrades range from Common, Rare, Epic and Legendary levels of weapons. Once upgraded, they can have specific attributes applied to them to increase the player’s constitution, agility or dexterity or other special effects like fire, lightning, or poison damage. Heavy weapons can only be found in the temple runs from special drops or a weapon room. They are highly effective and can generally turn the tide of a fight in your favour. All the attacks are smooth and easy to string together for punishing combinations.
The defence system is made up of dodges and parries, which utilise stamina points for each action the player takes. If the dodge or parry is perfect, then the stamina point is restored. A perfect parry also will stagger and stun the enemy so that multiple attacks can be landed in succession. A perfect dodge makes it so that the enemy is vulnerable to attacks from behind. Stringing together dodges, parries and attacks will help the player to avoid damage and execute multiple kills in a row. These are known as Greed Kills and multiply the reward that can be earned from a single attack phase. Multiple Greed Kills can provide the player with game currency of Jade Rings, Gold, and Crystal Skulls at random. The only other spot to earn these is by defeating the Champions in each run.
One of the fun parts of each run is the five random curses that are “earned” by gaining 100 points of corruption during a run. Certain enemies cast spells of corruption, every room adds 20 corruption and healing wells add 10 corruption per heal. The curses are added at the end of a room when you select the next room. What is applied is random and can either help or hurt in some way. Beware if the fifth curse is applied as it will severely hamper your efforts to a successful run!
The temples are generated at random for each run. The player can choose a path at the beginning of the temple based on what room types they would like to attempt. Room types include gold, weapons, healing, random, relic, attributes and more for selection along the way. The path that the player chooses will determine how many rooms they must defeat to face the champion of the temple which will affect how many curses might be applied by the end. Each curse changes the current run, and they add a ton of fun to it. They can be frustrating at times, but they keep each run fresh as the player must adjust to each with a change in strategy and weapon tactics.
Curse of the Dead Gods has violence and some dark imagery in it. As such we would not recommend it to anyone under the age of thirteen. There is a great save option at the beginning of a room so that if parenting duties arose the player could easily pause or save the game and come back to it. This is a rare feature for this genre of game and a welcome surprise.
Rob for One More Game
9 – Amazing – as near to a 10 as you are going to get without it being a 10. It’s an amazing experience that just requires that little something else to make it a masterpiece. Your hard earned cash and time would be well spent here.
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Curse of the Dead Gods was reviewed on an Xbox Series X and is also available for purchase on Xbox One/Series S, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch and PC. It is also available on Xbox Game Pass.