Review: Curses ‘N Chaos (PS4/PSV/PSTV)

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Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation Vita

Extras:

  • PlayStation TV Compatible Yes
  • Cross-Buy Yes
  • Cross-Save Yes
  • Cross-Play Yes
  • Cross-Chat No
Title: Curses ‘N Chaos
Format: PlayStation Network Download (PS4 194 MB) (PSV 123 MB)
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Tribute Games Inc.
Developer: Tribute Games Inc.
Original MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
Curses ‘N Chaos is also available on PC and Mac.
The PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita versions were used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Curses ‘N Chaos is yet another game with a throwback look. While some gamers are tired of pixel art on their current generation consoles there are some games that are worth giving a shot and this just happens to be one of them.

The game is a single screen brawler where heroes Lea and Leo must battle waves and waves of enemies in order to lift a curse from the Wizard King. It’s simplistic in art style and combat, but differentiates itself with its extreme difficulty. Controls are a punch button, a run button, and jump button and you can combine them into more powerful moves like an uppercut or running punch.

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As you progress and kill enemies, random power-ups and weapons will drop. You can only hold one item at a time and have your owl companion hold onto one item as well. These vary from an arrow or cannon to a lucky clover that increases money drops. The items become vital in making it through the waves of enemies and more can be purchased before each new game using in-game currency earned by killing enemies. There is even a mixing aspect where you can combine items in hopes of making more powerful items or potions.

… you will die a lot …
Each stage is broken down into ten waves of enemies plus a boss fight with each wave being timed for sixty seconds. If you complete the wave before the timer expires you get a points bonus. If you do not, the game punishes you by having the Grim Reaper appear in an attempt to one-hit kill you as you try to clear any remaining enemies from that wave. The Grim Reaper adds another level of punishment to a game that is already pretty difficult.

It’s pretty relentless at first as you will be faced with failure when learning the game. Curses ‘N Chaos is all about trial and error, especially since you only have three lives through an entire playthrough. This means you will die a lot, but as you learn you will get better and better and make progress slowly. For a while I was stuck on the second level on wave seven and it took me hours till I finally made a breakthrough. The game is difficult, but I never once felt it was being cheap. It felt more like it was me not being ready to pass that section and I wanted to get better.

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The game throws a variety of enemy types at you with new ones popping up as you progress. This means you will likely die when you see a new enemy because you will not know what it will take to down that type. There are ground enemies, flying enemies, and magic enemies each taking a different amount of damage. So at first, the game’s difficulty will mostly be due to pure ignorance of how to tackle a particular type. Learning is the key to making progress and the only way to learn is to try and try till everything comes together.

… good old chiptune nostalgia …
Visuals:
The visual style of Curses ‘N Chaos is pixel art in the style of the NES/SNES era. Now while pixel art games seem to be flooding the market over the last couple of years I have never found that to be an issue but I know some will be turned off by it. The character designs are stylized with a variety of enemies and backgrounds to keep things fresh for the amount of times the game will require you to play stages over and over.

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Audio:
I love chiptune music and Curses ‘N Chaos has a great set of songs that give off that good old chiptune nostalgia. There is no voice acting due to the game trying to emulate an era without it so the soundtrack and random battle noises are doing the heavy lifting. Luckily the music is a good blend of battle music that helps motivate while staying in the background and fitting into the world.

… give co-op a chance …
Online/Multiplayer:
Multiplayer is the key to any success to be had here. Playing this game solo feels like a challenging uphill battle as the game might be more balanced for co-op. Thankfully there are two protagonists which means it can be played in co-op and this is where I had the most success. The game is much easier with another player, but it does have one caveat in that you are still limited to only three lives and these are shared between the two players.

I played a majority of the co-op offline on the PlayStation 4 because it was hard to find people online before the game’s release. Luckily though when the game came out I was able to connect with random players and friends with little issue on both the PS4 and Vita. I highly recommend if you plan to pick this game up to give co-op a chance.

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Conclusion:
Curses ‘N Chaos is relentless, difficult, and addicting. It features tight controls plus fun gameplay that makes the difficulty bearable. You will struggle at first, but if you give it enough of a chance, or grab a buddy, you will find the game to be rewarding. It’s on both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita and both versions ran great in my experience. If you have a love for old school brawlers then this wave-based brawler should be right up your alley. And if you like a game that will challenge you or not hold your hand, this game is something that might interest you.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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  • Peacock

    cool game wish i can find people to play with however.