Cursed Loot is the new name for last year's Winter Uprising title Epic Dungeon. It's still pretty much the same game, but Eyehook Games have generously added some new features in the form of a new character class and some new unique skills, making Cursed Loot, an already fantastic game, even better value for your 80MSP.
So what's the game like?
Well, Cursed Loot is a rogue-like RPG, meaning that you begin with one life and if you die in-game you have to start right from the beginning again. While this makes the game sound like it's only for the most hardcore of RPG players, this is not the case. A lot of the difficulties associated with the genre have been stripped away leaving behind a very streamlined experience that encourages fun and experimentation rather than grinding. When you die it doesn't feel like a major setback, rather an excuse to try a different approach.
The main premise of the game is to explore and battle your way through a giant 50 level dungeon, finding the exit to each level takes you deeper into the dungeon. Along the way you'll encounter many different types of enemies that get tougher the further you progress. There are no turn-based battles here, to attack you simply walk into your enemies and you'll land hits or receive damage based on your Damage, Defense and Dexterity stats.
You begin the game by choosing one of 5 different character classes, each with their own unique special skill. As you gain experience from battles and increase your character's level you can assign points to your stats, which allows you to refine your own play style. Every two experience levels gained also lets you assign a point to a unique skill (two points if it's your character's special skill), there are 9 of these in total to chose from.
During your adventure you'll collect plenty of loot (beware though, some of it is cursed!). From new weapons and armor to potions, scrolls, amulets, gold, and so on. Gold can be used to buy more items from various shops located throughout the dungeon. You'll also come across some special events in which a short scenario is described and you are given a choice on what to do, the outcome of which is based on your Luck stat.
The graphics are done in an 8-bit style, with crisp sprite visuals that keep the action clear and colorful.
What really makes this game stand out is it's replayability. With the sheer variety of character classes, skills, stats and equipment available, you'll really want to experiment with all the different combinations. Even once you've made it to the end of the game, you'll be itching to try again taking a new approach. The dungeon levels are randomly generated, so you will always have somewhere new to explore, as are the loot drops and the locations of the special events. There are also awardments to win and three difficulty levels to beat.
All in all, I believe this to be one of the best games on the XBox Live Indie Channel. It's short enough to just pick up and play, yet has enough depth to keep you coming back for more.