PREVIEW: BattleCursed

A small village is the gathering point of heroes where four of them will embark on a quest under your command for the riches that lie in the dungeons. Crawl the dungeons with a battle system that has potential, but is too incomplete even for an early access game.

Steam: Early Access
Type: Single-player
Genre: Casual, Action
Developer: Codex Worlds
Publisher: Codex Worlds
Release date: 7 Feb, 2018

Crawling in the dungeons

My earliest memories of a dungeon crawler is the old classic Eye of the Beholder, a game that I didn’t understand as a 6-7-year-old kid with no experience in the English language except some basic words like yes, no and pizza (from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie). I just loved to go there and look for both monsters and treasures with cool looking character avatars facing who knows what kind of horrors. The trailers for BattleCursed were interesting and seemed really action-packed, fast, and with many different environments and spells to use. Also, the “uncompromising” word in the Steam store page’s description caught my attention. I’m a sucker for hard games. Let’s start the adventure!

Gameplay Video

Form the party

I launched the game and was presented with an interesting starting screen. You start with a village with a cemetery, the hall of heroes, and an inn. I started my adventure there, looking around the small village that i presumed to be my HQ. I quickly noticed it looked interesting but didn’t offer much. Everywhere I went I ran into a screen that text saying “not functional” at the bottom. There are a lot of options and I liked that they’ve put them on display even if they’re not working yet. This gave me a good idea of what’s to come instead of reading it on a roadmap. If they ever do get completed, there will be a lot to do in this game.

“Not in order”

After going through all the locations in the village for nothing, my only choice was to start the adventure, which brought me to my available heroes. I could only take four, but I had a few more options with a little variation on their skill sets. I went with the safe-bet formation. Frontline had two Graveknights, melee warriors that bear a strong resemblance to the Space Marines from Warhammer, and backline consisted of an archer and a mage. A Space Marine look-a-like can’t go wrong. The party building aspect as of yet seemed to be really simplistic and not as diverse as I initially thought. I didn’t even find a way to upgrade the skills in any way or do any kind of customization to my characters, not even change their weapons.

I didn’t even actually believe it at first, I was sure I missed something so I started double checking everything. However, it seems there is no way the player can customize the characters at this point of the game. No inventory, no weapons, no skill upgrades. Not even a glimpse of what kind of system the developers are planning.

Their huge skull on the chest was the first thing that reminded me of Space Marines.

Crawling in the dungeons

The combat system has a great idea at it’s core.  There isn’t a normal attack, but instead there are two skills per character, bound to left and right mouse buttons. Each one of them has a cooldown so I had to learn to combo them and switch the characters all the time with the 1-4 keys. I said its a great idea at its core since it is hindered by many bugs and simplistic enemies in general as enemies do very little damage, I quickly got bored of the combat and it’s lack of challenge and just ran around the arena-like maps. My 4th party member, a cleric, was useless since he only knew healing spells and the potions I got from completing previous missions were more than enough to keep my party alive.

I was strolling around the maps, just running through the harmless enemies until I came to a map that was a bit more interesting than the others I’ve waltzed through until this point. It had burning trees in the background and small lava pits. It seemed I finally got out of the caves! Unfortunately, it seemed to be pretty much a one in a million type of map. and I was again back to the underground caves infested with rats, skeletons and few spiders.

This was a great looking scenery


Battlecursed currently costs 9.99€ on the Steam store. I wouldn’t recommend to buy it at that price if you’re short on cash and looking for an interesting/promising dungeon crawler. The foundation is in order, but as with all early access games, but there’s no real guarantee that it will ever get to the point that it’s promised to be. Even for an early access title, the game needs more tweaking in its difficulty, more features at the village unlockeed, and some skill customization or something more concrete to show to the players. Right now it’s really bare, and feels like you are just jogging through dungeons simulator in arena type maps.

If this is eventually completed as planned, then that 10 euros would be a nice investment and a cheap price. The combat system has some serious potential.  Just add customization to skills and gear so the players can build a 4-member killing machine and plan out skills and equipment so that the combos are as deadly as possible. Give us a glimpse of that to test out and play, and the 9.99€ price tag would be much more justified.  Currently, it just feels like cheating since the actual gameplay isn’t like it is in the trailer, not even close.

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April 2018

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