Before I start this review, I have to be clear that Curses ‘N Chaos is not a Ghouls ‘n Ghosts ripoff in any way. Sure, both use pixels to convey their charms and a few enemies are shared between the games but that is about the end of the similarities. Curses ‘N Chaos is quite literally a single screen arena battle game that keeps things focused and tight, no having to run and jump over platforms, no having to find potions to do this or that. Nope. None of that. Everything is kept nice and neat on one single, solitary screen. That may sound boring to you but read on and find out why it is quite possibly the best way to handle this type of challenge.
Since it is nearly a requirement to begin with the story, and make you wait to read the real meat of the review, here it is. There is this evil wizard king named Algarr and he is kind of a jerk. He curses two bounty hunters, Leo and Lea and then lets his army of baddies loose on them (what a nice guy). All is not lost though as there is a really cool girl that knows how to mix things and create helpful concoctions. Alchemist Allison knows the recipe for the Elixir of Life but it is going to take a lot of dead monsters to gather all of them. Guess what you have to do now?
The fun that you will have with Curses ‘N Chaos is learning the ins and outs of the enemies. Some enemies will require but one hit to dispatch (orc looking guys) while others will require a bit of strategy to lure them into striking distance (birds, ghosts, frogs, etc). One thing that you will want to do early on is mess with the controls, whether playing on a keyboard like I did (not recommended but none of my controllers are being recognized on this computer so what are you going to do?) or using a controller (not a problem on the Playstation 4 or Vita). The default button layout is alright but I found it much easier to set up a “WASD” first person style control scheme for the various commands at my disposal. After that little change was made I was off bashing enemies like no tomorrow.
“Curses ‘N Chaos is a throwback to the good old days of NES/SNES gaming”
Some weapons that you pick up lay right where you hit the button (bear traps) while others are little more difficult to use properly (spear and bomb). The hammer is a real bitch to use but powerful. The kick in the pants? You can only carry one weapon/item at a time- walk over another one and you swap them out. You collect coins to use in between levels to purchase power ups and the like, collect food to replenish your health and knock the hell out of the enemy while doing it. As you progress the enemies will multiply in number and become more powerful to boot, get ready to be a keyboard jockey and fast. Pull down on the controller and see what happens, quite funny and unexpected.
The controls are tight in Curses ‘N Chaos, Tribute Games have this down pat. That is good because these types of games require good control. Nothing ruins a fun game faster than crappy controls. Graphically, Curses ‘N Chaos is a throwback to the good old days of NES/SNES gaming, when graphics weren’t the most important thing to a game (though it helped if they were good).
There, I made it through the review without making references to Ghouls ‘n Ghosts or Ghosts ‘n Goblins left and right. Curses ‘N Chaos is going to be compared to those Capcom classics and that is fine, there is nothing wrong with being compared to some of the best retro games out there. The thing is, Curses ‘N Chaos has more than enough merit to stand on its own, let’s not forget that.
Also, I have to give a thumbs up to Tribute Games for accepting unconventional payments for their game. You can pay in Bitcoin (awesome because we use a Bitcoin advertising service), Amazon, Paypal and a normal credit card.
Tribute Games have a real winner on their hands here. If you want more classic styled, but new, games then support companies that are giving you that. Who knows, if enough people purchase games like Curses ‘N Chaos, we just might get more of them!
Curses ‘N Chaos by Tribute Games
Platform: Windows (reviewed), Mac and Linux through Steam. Also on Playstation 4 and PS Vita
Genre: Battle Arena/Action
Rated: Teen or so, there is no real bad stuff here, just pixelated fun
Available now on Steam and the Playstation Network