It’s time to delve into the unending dungeon known as “obscure Indie games”. These are games that are made by independent developers and unfortunately get swept under the rug by bigger releases. Today’s subject is an underground cult classic, “Din’s Curse”. Din’s Curse is a “dungeon-crawling RPG”, one that was released in 2010 for PC and Mac.
Din’s Curse is certainly one of the more interesting dungeon-crawlers I’ve ever played. The plays very similar to the first Diablo game. You start in a small town and have to ascend a dungeon comprised of multiple floors, while fighting various monsters along the way. You gain new weapons, armor, and various items along the way.
It sounds pretty standard, right? Well, Din’s Curse throws in a pretty good twist: Randomly generated dungeons and towns. Each town is different from the last, with its own NPC villagers and town layout. On top of that, each dungeon is randomly generated based on a number of different tile-sets. What this means is that a lot of the dungeons you romp through will have different layouts than the ones you’ve done previously.
Because of the randomness, you’ll also have different quest objectives and monsters to fight. Some towns will feature different things in them, or feature completely different quests. For example, one town I went to suffered from the constant threat of starvation, while another was plagued by escaped prisoners roaming the dungeon.
There’s honestly a lot of randomness into the game, which I dig completely. For example, there was a really silly event in my game where one of my villagers MURDERED the local Armor-Smith for no reason. I was so confused as to why this happened! Was that armor-smith some kind of “mysterious shady individual”? Nah, this appeared to be some kind of random event that just happened.
I was never given an in-game explanation as to why a villager up and murdered my Armor-Smith. Said villager later died of starvation anyways, so it was no skin off my back! Honestly, I think that’s the best part of the game: That it’s also a town management game.
Doing quests benefits the town in various ways and you have to make sure there are no nefarious individuals causing crap in your neck of the woods. Traitors could enter the village, even set up traps. The amount of variables in each different town makes for a fun and unique play-through every time!
Couple that with the fact that you can tweak a ton of settings before creating your own village and you’ve got a game built on experimentation and fun. Unfortunately, not all is sunshine and rainbows with this game. For one thing, the random nature of the game also relates to how to win it. You see, you need to do a random number of “key quests” in order to successfully save a town.
The problem? The game doesn’t tell you what constitutes a “key quest” and how many you need to do to win. As such, you’re just doing random quests as quick as you can in an attempt to reach the goal. While this is fun, the lack of any clear goals makes it hard to know what to do next.
It doesn’t help that killing the final boss of a town’s dungeon doesn’t really change anything. You’d think beating the main bad would save the village, but you also have to sort out a million other trivial problems on top of that. Because of this, it feels like success is completely random and based on how many trivial tasks you can do before the game decides to hand you a win.
On top of this, sometimes a town can out-stay it’s welcome. While some towns can be beaten in 20 minutes, some can last as long as two hours. This means that a cool-looking town could easily outstay its welcome after a while. Regardless of its flaws, the game is a ton of fun! It doesn’t do anything too unique for the genre, but it offers up enough to stand on its own.
You’re not getting a wholly unique experience, or something revolutionary. Instead, you’re getting a well-crafted RPG with some unique game-play twists. Sure, the random nature of the game can cause headaches at times, but I still dig it. Then again, I dig anything that’s experimental!