Primeval fire lightly grazes the confines of the room. You feel your chest breathing heavily, your unsullied hand firmly grasping the torch that forbids the umbral maze trapping you from swallowing you whole into its gloomy maws. You touch the stone walls pondering if you have been through these halls before, dreading the next occasion you must fight their defenders. And for all that you might spite the temple, know this in your heart: there is no other architect for your downfall than yourself.
Curse of the Dead Gods is a 3D roguelike where players incarnate a conquistador in a Mesoamerican labyrinth, dedicated to gods long forgotten. As soon as you set foot inside you were trapped and cursed (hence the name of the game). Now your arm is all purple and corrupt magic is bidding for control of your body.
If you want to experience the beauty of ancient architecture, the game offers three distinct types of temples, each with its arrangement of foes and traps, which you will want to light with your torch. Otherwise, they will be invisible and deal more damage. Light becomes one more element to manage and the game is much better for it because you will want to see the decadent riches spread throughout the mesmerizing environments. It creates a fascinating spelunking experience in a game you wouldn’t expect it from.
Note that our dear protagonist can either hold the torch, two primary weapons, or a heavy weapon. We must then rely on enemies catching fire or braziers to light in the right spots. Combat is the main activity of the game, and it does an excellent job. Five spots show your stamina: run out of it and you won’t be able to do stronger attack combos or dodge. You must pull back for a moment, or parry attacks to expose your enemies’ weaknesses. This is not always easy; you will always be outnumbered but never outmatched. The game slips into a collection of movements that weave into a macabre dance of death and prowess.
For all their troubles, the forgotten deities do not shy away from worship, and you will be able to honor them as you construct your arsenal. Littered throughout are shrines to buy upgrades and new weapons for gold, or blood if you so desire. The latter affects the corruption meter. This gauge fills whenever you change rooms, and if you’re hit by some of the more dangerous attacks. When full, a new rule will spawn. Usually negative, they all have a balancing minor positive element to them. This is one of the highlights of the game and the thing that keeps me coming back besides the visuals and the combat gameplay.
All these masks come together for your character to face his own horrors. Presented as a problematic proposition, it is nonetheless an unapologetic excellent time that doesn’t shy away from talking about some of the more gruesome aspects of the historical context. If you’re looking to sink hours into a game with a deep and rewarding combat system, you better be ready to pay the price: having a good time.
Curse of the Dead Gods Basic Info
Publisher: Focus Entertainment
Developer: Passtech Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020
Genres: Roguelite, Soulslike, Dungeon Delving
Age Rating: 13+
Photos: All images have been taken by the author as screenshots in the game.
A game designer multiclassing into game studies, Juan often talks about games as long as he's not playing any. Adept at the board, the role, and the video, he finds his comfort areas in rogueli[k/t]es and all things card-related, even though to be honest, he's not that good at them.
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