There are few things I enjoy more than a great roguelite I’ve lost countless hours to the likes of Binding of Isaac, Enter The Gungeon and more recently, Dead Cells. Curse of the Dead Gods is amongst the latest to enter the genre, bringing with it a horror aesthetic and a whole new take on the roguelite.
Set in an infinite labyrinth of turns, traps and terrors, Curse of the Dead Gods challenges players with the lure of taking on curses in order to obtain stronger weapons, stats and blessings. It’s a pure risk vs reward choice for you to make.
Viewed from an isometric angle, combat is a mix of ranged and close attacks with players also able to dodge and parry. An action RPG style stamina system limits your ability to continually spam dodge rolling around the area, but parrying is more beneficial in general, opening the enemy up to critical attacks. Using swords, daggers, pistols, maces, greatswords and many other weapons, you must fight your way through a number of monstrosities, whose difficulty escalates with each new level, culminating is an end of area boss that you must face off against.
As is typical of the genre, levels are randomly generated through the game, but come with specific modifiers changing the experience through each. These can include limiting players to a specific weapon type, hiding your health or changing the toughness of enemies. These modifiers bring variety to each level and provide new and challenging ways to play.
Gold and blood are the two main forms of currency ingame which allow you to unlock weapons and buffs. Gold can be collected through each level and by building up your combat multiplayer, while paying with blood increases your curse meter. The curse meter has five different tiers, and with each passing one you are cursed, which can bestow both negative and positive traits.
Players can also collect skulls across levels which they can spend on Blessings and Divine Favours, the later of which provides you permanent buffs (only two of which can be equipped at a time) and the former giving you a chance to reroll the weapons available at shops in game.
Lighting plays an important role in Curse of the Dead Gods, with certain traps and pitfalls remaining invisible without the aid of a torch or a light source, and enemies hitting you harder when in the dark. This works really well thematically, given the dark and grim aesthetic of the entire game. There are also a couple of curses and buffs that play into the light, increasing or decreasing your capabilities depending on the light sources around you, adding to the tension in each dungeon while tying the game’s systems and lore together in one creepy package.
Curse of the Dead Gods is currently in Early Access, but the developers have shown their commitment to building and updating the game already. In the short time I’ve been playing the title, there have already been a number of updates as well as the developers releasing information about what they are working on. While the 1.0 release date doesn’t seem to be on the horizon just yet, I’m confident the development team will continue to add to the game in near future and shape it based community feedback.
So far Curse of the Dead Gods has proven itself a competent and enjoyable roguelite. It’s unique art direction and interesting gameplay dynamics tie together perfectly to create a fascinating and cohesive experience.
Curse of the Dead Gods might be the near the start of its journey to completion, but what we’ve seen so far points towards a bright future – unless you’re stuck in the depths of its labyrinth, of course.