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Review: Sorcery Saga: The Curse of the Great Curry God (PlayStation Vita)

Review: Sorcery Saga: The Curse of the Great Curry God (PlayStation Vita)

What would you do if a large chain of curry restaurants opened in town threatening to take over your family curry business? Of course, you would follow the legendary magical curry recipe, which is exactly what protagonist Pupuru and her furry companion Kuu do in Witchcraft Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God. To save Smile Curry, the aforementioned characters’ favorite restaurant, they must embark on a journey full of twists and turns to protect the popular bistro. Despite the bizarre plot, the dialogue and personalities found in this quirky PlayStation Vita exclusive are often downright hilarious, and help keep the narrative going silly.

Typical of the roguelike subgenre, much of the game revolves around a grid of tiles. Every action you take as a Papuru has an impact on the world around you, meaning moving forward one block can result in enemies moving closer to you. If you take damage, you can restore your HP by moving – however, your accomplice Kuu will lose health with every step you take. As a result, you need to feed him items, which will not only restore vitality to him, but also provide him with the experience to level up and use temporary stat buffs.

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If you let Kuu run out of energy, he will start screaming, causing enemies from all over the map to converge on your location. Worse still, if you die while the character is incapacitated, you will lose everything in your inventory, as well as your equipped weapon and shield. It’s important to make sure his accomplice is alive, then, because you’ll retain all of his items when he’s not unconscious. This dynamic really adds a tactical challenge to the gameplay.

Each dungeon consists of multiple floors of enemies, chests, and random items that ultimately lead to a boss battle on the top floor. Killing your enemies will level you up, but you will only maintain your level in that particular dungeon. That means that if you return to the center city or die, you will return directly to your starting point. The real dilemma starts when you start getting to dungeons with layouts of up to 100 floors. There will be situations where you risk losing all your hard-earned levels and items to hide your rare casts, forcing you to start over.

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The combat itself is fairly simplistic, and is done by pushing X to move weapons that range from a fork to a magic wand. Finding books can also allow Pupuru to activate magical abilities such as damaging all enemies in a stage or randomly teleporting her to a location on the current floor. Spells can also be learned, but have a limited number of spells before being consumed and require recharging. Consequently, learning when to cast spells is critical later in the game.

Crafting stronger weapons and shields can be done in dungeons for free using Kuu’s skills, or you can pay a small fee in town. It’s as simple as finding two of the same types of items and combining them. For example, if you are using a sword and find a rusty sword, you can fuse the two together to create a more powerful pointed item. Elemental damage and various other stat increases are eventually possible after a few upgrades. This system provides a great incentive to explore entire dungeons or even replay old dungeons in order to find items that can be put together to make the ultimate team.

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However, don’t let the strategy aspect intimidate you. Different elements are added to the combat over time, making the system itself deeper, but also incredibly easy to learn. It’s often easy to master yourself and traverse each floor without worry, but later maps in the game offer a slightly more challenging experience. Balancing your health, Kuu’s strength, and your team will keep you busy at all times, but will also give you the impression that you’re making significant progress with each step.

Still, while this is a bit more manageable compared to other more ruthless entries in the genre, you’ll still find yourself grounded from time to time. Some enemies possess abilities that will degrade, destroy, or drop your weapons, meaning that after hours of farming to create an amazing sword, a goblin can demolish it in a matter of seconds.

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Kuu can also present his own brand of challenges. Sometimes he will decide to recklessly charge into a room full of powerful enemies or refuse to follow you properly. He is manageable on most occasions, but has the potential to bring about your immediate death if you don’t control him by taking down opponents quickly.

It can, of course, be overwhelming when you lose your items, but it adds a healthy sense of urgency to the experience. Careful planning and careful execution of each move makes for a very rewarding adventure – especially when it comes to a boss with his sought-after implements.

Better yet, the colorful graphics and animations come to life on Vita’s brilliant OLED screen. Frame rate tends to suffer in crowded rooms, and can make menus feel a bit sluggish – but when it works, the presentation is vibrant and energetic, with an amazing soundtrack. Also, all of the voice acting – and there’s a lot of it – is recorded in Japanese with English subtitles, but even without any knowledge of the language, it’s easy to hear the emotion in the speech.

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Sorcery Saga: Curry God is a spicy title that will make you smile. While you’ll be done with the campaign in about 20 hours, the wide variety of gear, costumes, and items will give you plenty of reason to double-dive. Like a fiery feast, the experience can be punishing at times – but the overall feeling of reward when succeeding far outweighs the fleeting sting of a lost item or two.

great 8/10

Scoring Policy

Review the copy provided by Aksys Games