Tribute Games’ Curses N’ Chaos isn’t a game that will be for everybody. It is a game that is all about trial, error and repetition, until you are good enough to pass a challenge. It is an arena brawler with some old school graphics where you only have three lives per area, and if you lose all those lives you have to start that segment all over again, learning as you go along. It’s a challenge and it can take ages to get good, but it’s partly because of this that Tribute Games’ creation is can be addictive to play.
The basic story is that The Wizard King has put a curse upon the protagonists Lea and Leo. They now have to concoct the Elixir of Life to end the curse and stop the monsters that follow them everywhere, but the pair need ingredients which can only be collected by killing the beasts that haunt them, and then the help of the alchemist Allison to mix them together.
There are only a couple of basic moves like regular punching, uppercuts, and flying kicks, but these moves seem to be more powerful if you’re sprinting towards your target when you unleash them. You’ll have to learn to combo these moves and also prioritise which enemy type you go after, though. Each monster type requires a different number of hits from one to five, and six and more in the boss fights.
The best way to get used to the monsters is playing over and over again, while looking out for their various patterns. At first it does feel like the enemies are coming in from both sides in a chaotic fashion, but you soon realise that there is a routine and enemies will trigger at a certain time. For example in one wave of monsters in the forest stage a bird will fly in at 30 seconds every time. Once you recognise these routines things to become simpler, but that doesn’t necessarily mean easier.
As you advance through the stages, more enemy types are thrown into the brawl, changing up the way you have to play. At first the monsters are quite slow and easy to dispatch, but eventually you’ll face beasts that sprint at you so quickly that you’ll need to jump to avoid them, while also making sure you don’t have Lea or Leo land right next to something else.
While fighting, weapons will be dropped by your enemies, but the characters can only carry one at a time. You can call upon Owlie the owl to grab an item and hold onto it for later, but you’re always using the weapon that you last ran over, which can get a bit annoying if too many drop and you find your weapons constantly changing. One way to alleiviate this is to use a weapon as soon as you get it to take out a monster, but again, different weapons have different strengths against different enemy types, forcing you to think fast but tactically to get the most effective chains going. If you don’t, you could easily waste a bomb throw, and rue that fact when a more powerful creature turns up later.
Alchemy is quite the simple affair, as you try to concoct various potions. You unlock the items through fighting and then have to buy additional quantities with the gold earned in fights. You could go in and try to experiment, but it’s pointless when there is a grimoire available showing you what items will mix together to give you something new. This means you don’t waste the gold you earn, and you can get access to more powerful weapons and potions to help out.
The action is accompanied by music in a chiptune style, with each area and boss fight featuring its own theme. Of course, this and the art style are reminiscent of games from the 90’s, but it works well for Curses ‘N Chaos, even if the graphics will be a bit of a turn off for some people.
Curses N’ Chaos is a good arena brawler that throws you right into the action. It may not be the most graphical intensive games out there, but Tribute Games has created something that you can get engrossed in really quickly. You will die a lot to make progress, and that may not be for everyone, but if you like your brawlers, then Curses ‘N Chaos is certainly worth a look.
Version tested: PC