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Curse Of The Dead Gods – Xbox Series X Review

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Fast Facts

Curse Of The Dead Gods

Developer: Passtech Games
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Website: https://www.focus-home.com/en-us/games/curse-of-the-dead-gods
Genre: Roguelike, Adventure
Platform: Xbox Series X (Also available for PC, PS4 and Nintendo Switch)
Age Rating: 16
Release Date: 23/02/21
Price: £15.74

A code was provided for review purposes.

Introduction

Curse of the Dead Gods is a skill-based roguelike set inside a cruel, dark temple with a seemingly infinite amount of endless rooms and corridors. Death is always just one step behind, and that’s if the constant threat of corruption doesn’t get to you first!

Curse of the Dead Gods is one of those games that you’re either going to love or hate. I think it’s great, but the skill-based combat, mixed with a basic RPG template does make for a simple yet punishing game with a bit of a learning curve.

That’s not to say that Curse of the Dead Gods is a bad game, it’s far from that. So let’s delve into this mysterious temple and see what it’s all about…

Story

The plot to Curse of the Dead Gods is scarce, to say the least. You play as an unnamed adventurer who’s entered a mysterious temple in what appears to be a jungle setting. Once you enter this temple the door closes behind you and that’s how the game begins. Once inside you introduced to the inner workings of this vast and complicated temple. The Adventurer is tasked to make his way through the temple by defeating a series of randomly configured areas to then defeat that area’s boss within the final room. Once you’ve defeated the boss you’re then sent back to the main lobby to run the temple again.

Curse of the Dead Gods doesn’t need an in-depth story to work. As with many other Roguelikes, it’s the gameplay and action that keeps you playing rather than a big elaborate story. Thankfully Curse of the Dead Gods features a wealth of replayability with plenty of procedurally generated maps that change each time you run them.

Curse Of The Dead Gods - Xbox Series X Review
It’s behind you!

Temple of…

The temple gives you quite a variety of weapons to fight its denizens. You’re able to equip various swords, shields, spears, guns, whips, bows, daggers, claws, axes, and hammers. The variety is pretty much endless as these weapons all come with various stats and abilities. The start of each run sees you with a basic set up which consists of a machete, pistol and torch. These starting weapons can be switched and changed during a run, or before – if you’ve unlocked the ability to do so. Weapons that are found inside the selected area are chosen at random so you won’t always find a better weapon. It’s down to RNG and a bit of luck if you get a decent loadout, and with the game’s Roguelike nature then the randomness is to be expected.

The other tool at your disposal is light. Light plays a major part in the gameplay of Curse of the Dead Gods. When in the darkness you are weak to damage. This means that every attack will hit you for 20% more damage. You’re also equipped with a torch. This is used to highlight traps and to light various braziers throughout the temple. The torch works for you as its light weakens some of the enemies, whilst others try to avoid it altogether. It can also be used to attack but does very little damage. To make the game that little bit more difficult, you cannot wield your torch and weapon at the same time.

You also have a couple of defensive moves in the form of blocking and dodging. Performing each of these costs stamina and using often can lead to running out. Stamina does recharge at a steady rate, but the 3-4 seconds where you’re fatigued can quickly work against you.

Curse Of The Dead Gods - Xbox Series X Review
Caught between a fireball and a wall of spikes!

…Doom

Once you’ve completed the first area, you’re given the choice of where to go next out of three areas. These all vary in length – short, medium and long, with each area having its boss at the end. No matter how many times you fail a particular area, the final boss stays the same, but the layout, enemies, and weapons all change at random.

As mentioned above, each map is draped in darkness. You’re naturally not alone and each location features a wealth of enemies, loot and traps to contend with. These traps come in many forms and range from simple mines to elaborate eagle heads that spew out lightning as you run past them. These traps also work against the enemies, and it’s great fun luring them into a fireball or swiping blade.

Curse Of The…

Each time you defeat an enemy you’ll be rewarded with a combo. Killing multiple enemies in a row will give you a bonus known as ‘Greed Kills’. Whilst this bonus is active, and you don’t take damage, for each subsequent kill you’ll get a bonus to your gold.

Of course, the Curse of the Dead Gods wouldn’t be a Roguelike if everything was easy. To counteract your gold hoarding, the temple adds Curses to the Adventurer. Your character has a corruption meter that holds up to 100-units of corruption. Each time this meter fills over 100, the Adventurer is inflicted with a curse. The curses, assigned at random, can, at times prove oddly beneficial, but there’s plenty that doesn’t. These curses can stack up to five times before the final one sends you plummeting back to the temple’s hub.

Curse Of The Dead Gods - Xbox Series X Review
Gold or Blood? It’s a tough choice!

…Crystal Skull

On occasion, defeated enemies will drop a relic. These relics act as stat points for the game’s RPG properties. These stats can range from improving your health to damage and even damage resistance. Like everything else these are random and down to the game’s RNG. The more difficult enemies will drop a currency in the form of crystal skulls. These skulls allow you to unlock blessings that carry over into each run. Blessings can range from making traps deadlier to your light travelling further.

Some areas also contain altars that allow you to exchange gold for various weapons or relics. If you don’t have the required gold you can offer blood instead. However, this comes at a price as offering blood significantly raises your corruption level. Various “safe” areas lay hidden about allowing you to heal any lost health. However, this also requires you to take a hefty hit to your level of corruption. Nothing is free in Curse of the Dead Gods, and it’s a great example of risk vs reward.

Audio, Visual, Control

Passtech Games have done an incredible job in bringing Curse of the Dead Gods to life. The visuals are all in a cell-shaded and almost hand-drawn style which gives off an appealing colourful, vibrant feel to the game. Even the darkness looks gorgeous with various shades of blue and purple. This is all backed up with an incredible eerie soundtrack that gives off an almost haunting feel to the surroundings.

Controls are also one of the game’s strong points. Combat is incredibly responsive and simple which allows you to pull off some devastating moves with a simple button press. Movement is also fluid and you have quite a degree of freedom in how you tackle each area. Sadly you’re unable to jump, but in reality, you don’t need it.

Final Thoughts

Curse of the Dead Gods is a fantastic Roguelike experience. It’s highly rewarding with a wealth of replayability. With plenty of weapons to choose from each temple offers multiple ways for various combat strategies. While the RNG can feel unfair at times, there’s plenty of fun entertaining moments to offset this. If like me you’re a fan of Roguelikes then don’t sleep on Curse of the Dead Gods, it’s a game that will hold on to you for some time.

Rapid Reviews Rating

You can purchase Curse of the Dead Gods via the Microsoft Store here.

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