Written by  :  Bluddy (13)
Written on  :  Jan 23, 2011
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars

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Even if you don't like Diablo, you may still love Din's Curse

The Good

It wasn't the first time I came across the plain looking Soldak website. Each time I looked at the quaint site I examined their games with interest, but never really built up the motivation to even download the demo. It took a review by Tom Chick (now on www.quartertothree.com) to convince me to give their games a try, and boy was I glad that I did.

Din's Curse won't wow you with graphics, though if you can get into a circa-2000 mindset and if you keep the fact that this game is lovingly crafted by one or two developers, you CAN get in the groove of things. It won't wow you with a slick execution of the Diablo formula, which it borrows heavily. But it may just blow you away with the things that it does right.

The idea is simple. Take Diablo 2's gameplay of clicking, item seeking and skill trees, and combine them with a dungeon that is randomly generated and feels alive. As a champion of the god Din, you must attempt to rescue one town after another before they fall victim to the dungeon that lies beneath. Sounds a lot like Diablo, right? Except Diablo didn't have dungeon bosses that invaded the town when they got pissed. And it didn't have quests to rescue poor townsfolk where the hostage could actually die if you didn't get there fast enough. Nor did it have a dungeon that could cave in around certain parts if you use magic that's too powerful or hit support beams.

In other words, this is like Diablo, except randomized to the Nth degree, and packed with interwoven quests that really affect the game world. The favorite phrase on the Soldak forums is 'emergent gameplay' as fans tell stories of events they never imagined, all happening because the game follows rules that lead from one random event to another until the whole thing takes you by surprise. Leave a grouping of monsters in a dungeon for too long, and they'll fight until one becomes boss. The boss may challenge the town. He might build a machine that causes darkness everywhere, which will cause food prices to go up since food will be scarce, making it much harder for you to keep fighting. It's pretty awesome.

Speaking of forums, the developer may be one person, but he produces patches like... well I was going to say like a large game company but we all wish large companies were this prolific with their patches. He's extremely responsive and any issue is resolved promptly. If there's something you think should change in the game and you write about it in the forums (and it's a good idea), there's a good chance it'll change.

The Bad

I'm not crazy about Diablo :) And I don't deal well with the cognitive dissonance of not liking Diablo and yet loving this game.

Graphics may be an issue for you, but I have an old computer so I'm quite happy that the graphics aren't demanding.

The Bottom Line

This is a game you should really try, because there's a good chance you can't predict whether you'll like it until you try it. It's the classic indie underdog, but it's also something quite special that we should really be encouraging. A unique spin on an old formula that (IMHO) blows that old formula away.