Action roguelike Curse of the Dead Gods from Focus Home Interactive and Passtech Games is ready for you on PS4. Learn more in our Curse of the Dead Gods review!
In Curse of the Dead Gods from Focus Home Interactive and Passtech Games, you’ll take on a roguelike action game in which you’ll dive into exploring dangerous dungeons in which every room can be your doom because of the many enemies you’ll have to fight and the traps that will be waiting for you to make a mistake. The game’s name has probably clued you in on how there’s something very bad about to happen, and that is certainly the case within minutes of starting to play Curse of the Dead Gods.
The journey began as my character walked into the temple after walking through heavy rain. As soon as he sets foot in the temple, the door behind him starts to close down, so he rushes forward into the darkness. Luckily, there’s an oil-soaked torch in my inventory, which allows me to see the path that lies before me. With a machete for close-range melee attacks and a Webley top-break revolver for attacking from a safe distance, I set forth into the unknown in what will be my first of many explorations into the everchanging temple.
You’ll move your character with the left analog stick, using your main weapon with the Square button and your secondary weapon with the Triangle button. You can also swing a two-handed weapon with the Circle button. If you press and hold down an attack button, you’ll be able to prepare a charged attack. If you do this for your secondary weapon and release the button at the right time, you’ll get to deal more damage with a perfect shot. Attacks can also be chained together for a combo.
If you need to switch between the enemy you’ve target locked onto and another one that requires your immediate attention, you can do so by pressing the R3 button – that means pushing the right analog stick in. You can dodge attacks with the R2 button, and if you time things right, there’s also the option of parrying attacks with the L2 button. Dodging attacks uses up your stamina, so do keep an eye on your total stamina so that you’re not caught by surprise with none left when you really need to dodge an incoming attack! The good news is that if you get good, you can time your dodge just right to do a perfect dodge, which will restore one stamina point to your count. The even better news is that a properly done parry will restore two of your stamina points.
Remember that oil-soaked torch I mentioned before? It will prove to be very important for your survival within the temple. You see, light reveals hidden traps, but you can’t have your torch out at all times since this will keep you from being able to attack. As soon as you attack, the torch is put away, leaving you in complete darkness… unless you’ve managed to use the torch to light some braziers along the way! You could also use the torch to set some stuff on fire, which will make the fire spread as it provides a bit of extra light. If you’re standing in the darkness, you will receive 50% extra damage, so you should keep an eye on the indicator on the bottom center of the screen, which will let you know right away if you’re in the light or the darkness.
To aid you on your journey through the temple, you can win the favor of the Dead Gods, unlocking boosts or new abilities that can prove to be very valuable. You do this by way of blessings. Blessings of the Dead Gods offer passive abilities that will help you during subsequent runs. After you’ve unlocked a blessing in the Underworld by paying its price, you’ll need to equip it in one of your three blessings slots, although you start the game with only one slot available for equipping a blessing.
You should also make the most of the relics that you find since they can be equipped to offer boosts to your overall max health, your dexterity, or your perception. While boosting your max health is self-explanatory, dexterity and perception do require some extra information. The first one will increase the damage you deal, while the second one will have an effect on how much treasure you can find. You have a limited number of slots for equipping relics, so you might end up having to dump one in favor of another, depending on what you need for your current run.
The Dead Gods will also acknowledge your efforts by providing you gifts by way of jade rings. After each exploration – be that it ends in success or tragedy – you will get a chance to trade jade rings in the Underworld to obtain access to new gear. There are also crystal skulls to collect, powerful artefacts from your fallen enemies, which can carry over between deaths. Crystal skulls can be exchanged in the Underworld for permanent upgrades, which is how you can slowly but surely make some progress as you play Curse of the Dead Gods.
Every time you explore the temple, you will get to check an area map that will display the series of rooms that are linked together. Each room type will let you know what type of reward can be found inside so that you can plan your run accordingly. Complete a room, and you will get to select the next path you’ll take as you progress through the temple. You should always check your map every now and then so that you don’t forget where you want to go, or in case you need to change your plans. Each room will have an icon that represents if you can get gold, an upgrade, a weapon, relic, or attributes altar, healing, or face a challenge. A room could also have a big question mark, letting you know that, well, you can’t really know what you’re about to deal with.
Altars are important since they will be split into weapons, relics, or attributes altars. Once you interact with them, you will get a chance to make an offering to the Gods to claim one of the three presented bonuses. For an offering, you can either decide to part with a big chunk of the gold you’ve managed to obtain up to that point, or you could make a blood offering, which sorta makes it possible to get a boon at no cost – since no gold is offered. But instead of gold, you will need to add some corruption to your gauge, which is not good.
While exploring a temple, you should always keep an eye on your corruption bar, which is displayed in the lower right part of the screen in a purple hue that is hard to miss. Every time you walk through a door, your corruption will increase. Every time the gauge is full, the next time you walk through a door, you’ll be corrupted, which will place a curse on you! To lower your corruption, you can offer to the Dead Gods the weapons and gear you find in the temple so that your overall corruption can go down a bit. When offering items to the Dead Gods, you could also end up with a small health recovery instead of a lower corruption level.
What types of curses can you get? Without spoiling things too much, allow me to discuss one curse in particular: Dancing Flames. While you explore the many rooms in a temple, you’ll sometimes run into flamethrower traps. These traps can be activated by using your torch on them, which means that you can use it in your favor by luring enemies near it before you set it off. What Dancing Flames will do, is have flamethrower traps activate automatically if you stand in front of them, which can end up dealing some serious damage to you!
There’s also a multiplier combat system in place, called the greed kill timer. After you defeat an enemy, the timer will start at 1X and will quickly deplete. You will need to chain kills one after the other so that you can boost your greed kill multiplier to maximize the amount of gold that enemies will leave behind. Hitting an enemy, doing a perfect dodge, or parrying an attack will also fill up the meter, so do keep this in mind so that you can have it running for as long as possible. If the timer runs out, or if you take damage, then the greed kill counter will stop.
In the Codex tab, you will get to populate a Bestiary. It is there that you will get to write new entries for each of the many beasts you’ll run into. In order for you to 100% the game, you will have to complete the main objective, as well as a secondary objective. For example, for the Lurkers, the main objective will ask that you defeat 50 enemies to write down a new entry in the exploration diary. As for the side objective? It requires that you defeat 50 Elite Lurkers without taking any damage from them, which, as you can imagine, will require a bit of extra work.
Along with the Bestiary, the Codex section also has a card for Statistics, which offers a lot of information on what you’ve been up to. You can see your progress in explorations, completing the Bestiary and obtaining everything you can from the Underworld, your total play time, the total number of explorations, your total victories, and defeats, how many crystal skills and jade rings you have managed to collect, the number of Regular, Elite, Champions, and Bosses you’ve defeated, your percentage for successful parries, your favorite weapons, the total gold offerings, and blood offerings, your favorite gear, how many times you’ve died – which will probably be a lot -, how you died, quickest death, and the highest damage taken in a single room. I told you it was a lot of info!
As you can see, there’s plenty to do on Curse of the Dead Gods, and that means that your trophy run towards 100% is going to take a while. The good news is that this game has a full trophy list with a Platinum! The first trophy you will get will be for completing the starting area, which will also act as the game’s basic tutorial. A bunch of trophies will be tied to defeating the mini-bosses and bosses in the game, for unlocking 20 blessings from the Dead Gods, for unlocking 20 forsaken weapons, for writing all Bestiary entries with their complete sketches – which means you have to defeat a ton of Elite versions of the many enemies you’ll fight against -, getting a 10X greed kill counter, and making ten blood offerings in a single run, to name some examples.
Curse of the Dead Gods is a very fun action roguelike with an addictive gameplay loop and plenty of content to enjoy at an affordable price. You won’t be able to progress further into a new temple until you manage to go deeper into the previous one to obtain proof of your accomplishments for beating the temple’s main guardian. Having to manage your corruption and how it ties to the curses that can fall upon you is an interesting mechanic that will keep you on your toes since you don’t know what you’ll be dealing with. Curse of the Dead Gods is out on PlayStation 4 with a $19.99 price.
This Curse of the Dead Gods review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Focus Home Interactive.