Focus Home Interactive’s new release Curse of the Dead Gods, which was developed by Passtech Games, has been released for consoles and PCs, after first being in Steam’s early access program for a while. During that phase there was already a lot of buzz about this one, so we were eager to try it out – we did so on a PlayStation 4 Pro.
Ever since it arrived on the Switch to much critical acclaim, I’ve been waiting for some sort of announcement regarding a PlayStation 4 version of Hades. That hasn’t happened yet, and I didn’t play the Switch version, but for some reason the screenshots and trailers for Curse of the Dead Gods always felt like “something that’s a bit like Hades” to me. It’s also another interesting release from Focus Home Interactive, which is coming out with more and more smaller, quality indie-like releases next to their usual AA stuff that includes Vampyr and The Surge.
Curse of the Dead Gods is a challenging roguelike dungeon exploration game where all the maps are randomly generated. It’s dark and foreboding, and that darkness is one of your enemies as well, since you take more damage when you’re in the shadows than you do when you’re in the light. The darkness is also home to many traps in each level, so it helps in multiple ways if you use torches to light up your surroundings.
As a roguelike, you can expect things to be difficult, forcing you to restart again and again. Luckily, a wide range of weapons ensures that there is a lot of diversity between each run. All weapons have distinct styles and perks, and some weapons will feel more comfortable to you than others. Meeting defeat in a run where you were holding a beloved weapon hurts a little bit extra, but finding it again in a subsequent run is also a delight.
More permanent boosts that transfer across runs are gained through collectibles in the game, which come in the shape of skulls and rings. These include stat boost in the form of blessings, but will also help you build and improve your arsenal of weapons, which becomes easier to access in-game the more weapons you unlock.
The game’s title, Curse of the Dead Gods, relates to another mechanic in the game – your ability to gain ‘corruption’, which in turn casts a variety of curses on you. This happens automatically as you progress through each randomly generated dungeon, but a curse isn’t as bad as it sounds. It might actually make you more effective in combat while in the shadows for instance. There’s ultimately always a curse that’s really going to ramp up the difficulty for you though, so they have a big impact on any run – during which corruption can also be used as a form of currency.
Curse of the Dead Gods is a fast-paced and challenging dungeon crawler with some unique mechanics and satisfying combat – though some will find the difficulty level to be too daunting. For others, it’s a wonderful roguelike title with very attractive visuals that makes it easy to sink hours upon hours into it. I still want Hades on the PS4, but this will do nicely while I wait.