You seek untold riches, eternal life, divine powers - it leads to this accursed temple, a seemingly-infinite labyrinth of bottomless pits, deadly traps, and monsters.
Collect mystical Relics and an arsenal of weapons to make yourself unstoppable. Battle through hordes of enemies in dark, cavernous passages filled with traps and secrets of all sorts - fire-spewing statues, explosives, hidden spikes, and worse.
Corruption builds in you with every step - encourage or ignore it, but each powerful curse can be a double-edged sword.
Your greed will lead you to death, but that is not an escape. Rise to fight again. Delve deeper again. Defy the malignant deities that linger in this place. MAIN FEATURES
A skill-based roguelike exploring a cruel, dark temple made of endless rooms and corridors
Swords, spears, bows, guns - wield these and many more
Light and fire will be your best allies to overcome the threats that lie in the shadows
Unique curses influence each attempt, putting a twist on every action
Dozens of enemies, with powerful champions and deadly bosses to face off against
I will admit that when I initially saw a top-down action roguelite called Curse of the Dead Gods, complete with swords, bows, environmental hazards, and semi-random rewards based on what room you choose to enter next, my first thought was “Hey, this seems a bit like a Hades knockoff.”
It turns out, I was completely wrong. Despite featuring a smorgasbord of clear influences from other roguelites, Curse of the Dead Gods stands out in that increasingly crowded genre thanks to some cool new ideas of its own.
Its curse and corruption mechanics add an extra strategic layer to its already excellent reflex-heavy hack-and-slash combat by forcing you to make tough and meaningful decisions at every step of every adventure it takes you on.
Curse of the Dead Gods doesn’t do much in the way of storytelling, opting instead to simply throw you into a cursed temple, get out of your way, and let you read up on unlockable codex entries if you’re truly interested in learning more about its lore.
It’s a bit of a bummer to see it pushed to the side considering the way Hades has recently raised the bar for storytelling in roguelites (and its art style’s similarity to Darkest Dungeon makes me long for a creepy baritone narrator), but the moment-to-moment gameplay of Curse of the Dead Gods is its true focus – and it’s so good that a thin plot is easily forgivable.
All of the familiar roguelite mechanics that come with the territory are here: you fight your way through increasingly tough procedurally generated levels, collect new weapons and upgrades along the way, and when you reach the end (or die trying) you start your next run from scratch – except for permanently unlocked upgrades that make your next attempt just a little bit easier. But Curse of the Dead Gods does a number of interesting things to break from tradition.
For one, instead of stacking all of its levels together, they’re divided into three different temples for you to attempt to conquer in turn, each with their own set of devious traps, brutal bosses, and bloodthirsty enemies – from the godforsaken electric babies in the Eagle Temple to the plague-bearing monstrosities of the Serpent Catacombs.
Furthermore, instead of having you hopelessly attempt to beat a full temple right from the get-go, Curse of the Dead Gods eases you into its impressively challenging gauntlets by only giving you access to their first floors to start.
Each floor is made up of just nine levels, including a boss battle at the end, and it’s only once you beat those first floors that you’re then able to challenge each temple’s second one – then the third after that, until finally you open up the true roguelite experience of trying to conquer the entirety of a temple in a single run.
It’s a much more natural and forgiving difficulty curve that allows you to achieve small victories and have them mean something as opposed to just losing over and over again until you finally win.
Those victories also reward you with a large amount of Crystal Skulls and Jade Rings, two currencies that allow you to purchase permanent upgrades that aid in subsequent, more difficult runs, and there’s no shortage of choices to be made here.
Blessings can be bought with Crystal Skulls and provide you with various powerful buffs, like the ability to deal 50% more damage for six seconds if you kill three enemies in quick succession, or one that causes bosses to drop five pieces of loot instead of just two.
You can also spend your Crystal Skulls to improve weapon altars which determine your starting loadouts, or extra Divine Favors, which allow you to re-roll the gear at any mid-run shop. Jade Rings, on the other hand, can be used to unlock new weapons so that they are added to the pool of ones that are allowed to appear on subsequent runs.