Curse of the Dead Gods is a rogue-lite dungeon crawler by Passtech Games [also brought: master of anima] and Focus Home Interactive [the surge & farming simulator]. This game is pretty challenging and not suited for a casual relaxing gaming session. Think Diablo meets Dark Souls. The mechanics are pretty solid and unique and, most importantly, it’s extremely polished for an early access game. This polished gameplay is absolutely necessary for a game in which mastering the mechanics is vital to overcome the punishing combat system. Passtech games nailed this one.
I’m not going to lie, I really like this game. I got a chance to play this game at PaxEAST, mostly by chance while waiting for some of my friends to finish a game nearby, and I was intrigued right away. Now, after having since spent a good 5+ hours playing it, I can say that it has a unique flavor and system that keep you coming back to do more runs over and over. Every time you play it’s different.
It starts off with a pretty simple but neat little cut scene as you stumble upon some Mayan-style temple. Every game you will see a randomized ‘path’ of different room styles (almost like a board game), leading you to a boss fight. These rooms typically vary based on the reward or shop at the end of the room (‘coins’, ‘weapons’, ‘stats’, etc.). The rooms branch out, so depending on which rooms you choose early on can determine whether certain rooms are reachable or not later on. You start with some default weapons but you can upgrade your weapons (primary, secondary and two-hander) to some pretty beefy tools. There are ‘rarities’ for each weapons, giving them some more stats or effects, which may synergize with different load-outs. For example, more damage with a secondary weapon if you have a sword in your primary slot. This makes the runs unique from game to game depending on how you strategize your loot priorities.
One of the most interesting mechanics in the game is the lighting. Being in the light reduces damage and can show you hidden traps (SPIKES!) as you make your way around. Your torch can light rooms but if you attack you will have to put your torch away, forcing you to try to light some braziers in order to see things or be in the light during battles. At first it seems a bit confusing how to use the light to your advantage but I eventually got the hang of it. I really like the graphics and mechanics around lighting, it forces you to decide between lighting rooms versus fighting first. Don’t worry though, you can see the enemies in the dark,. so lighting isn’t super punishing but it does help to conserve your health and get farther during the runs.
At this point you might be thinking, what about the ‘curse’? Well the MAJOR mechanics of the game is the ‘curse’ meter. When you pass through doors or get hit by certain purple curse attacks you will gain some curse damage. Once this curse damage meter exceeds 100, you will gain a random ‘curse’, which is essentially negative buff. I won’t go into all of the curses but some of worse than others. In fact, I might argue that some aren’t even that bad and may have some benefits if you modify your play style. You can even spend some curse damage at shops to get new stats, gear or weapons. So in some sense, maybe there is some strategy in building up curse. The beauty of this game is the variability and adaptability surrounding the room generation, loot mechanics and curse system all combined.
Finally, during the runs you can collect some skulls and use these to purchase some ‘blessings’, which are like permanent traits for your next run. They help a little but most of the improvement from run to run will come from you learning to dodge, roll, parry and smash your way around all of the different enemy’s attack animations.
This game is a GREAT rogue-lite isometric dungeon crawler with randomly generated rooms for each run. It is surprisingly polished for an early access game and it really nails some unique combat and skill mechanics, as well as solid sound and graphics too. It is an early access but, with some more content, it has the potential to become a true masterpiece.
Curse of The Dead Gods early access released on March 13, 2020 on Steam. As of right now its on PC only. Potentially it will be ported to console in the future. It was reviewed with code that was provided by Sandbox Strategies.