Dungeon crawlers have been sparking the imaginations of RPG lovers since day one, with intricate levels haunted by increasingly more difficult enemies, traps, and sweet sweet loot. A game that redefined the genre and introduced the “hack and slash” mechanics, where you tirelessly plow through waves and waves of enemies, skillfully combining your skills and spells in order to come out on top, was the classic trilogy by Blizzard, Diablo. Since these games, many have tried to copy their intensely fun gameplay, but few have come out successful. Games such as these are appearing on mobile as well, with a new title by Curacha Games trying to grab that prestigious title of “well-made mobile RPG” which seems so elusive – Heretic Gods.
Heretic Gods sees you take the role of a lonesome traveler, traversing many a crypt, dungeon, and atrium, disposing of foes using moves from one of three diverse skill trees, Crusader, Hunter or Exorcist. Each level you’re awarded points which you can spend in one of four stat choices, Strength, Vitality, Dexterity, and Spirituality. These points affect other stats like Damage/sec, Attacks/sec, Walk speed, Life regeneration, and more.
As for the skill choices, they affect the way you’ll engage the enemies. If you opt for Crusader, you’ll base your gameplay on a bruiser type fighting style, with melee moves that stun, cleave, and do loads of hand-to-hand damage. The Hunter skill tree is more suited for people who find it better to pick off enemies from afar with their trusty bow and arrow. Here you’ll find multishots, poison arrows, traps to lure enemies to a location, and the like. The final skill tree is suited to the mages amongst us, or as this game calls them, Exorcists. These crafty travelers engage in combat with spells that deal damage, such as malady, or spells which heal and protect, like blessed palms. Ideally, you’d need a combination of the three skill trees to safely travel the crypts, but you’re realistically going to invest heavily in just one of them, which will determine your way of approaching combat.
The fights themselves are very Diablo-esque, with multiples of various creatures attacking from every side, although they seem to lack the skill level needed to win, especially in Atrium mode (easy). I could almost leave my character auto-attacking as I kept clicking on the loot and collecting it, and he’d get through the enemies with no problem to speak of. This is surely a drawback, but I hope things are a little tougher in the other two modes, Purgatory and Inferno.
As for the controls, they’re easy to handle and intuitive, the left side is a virtual joypad which moves your character, whereas on the right side you’ve got buttons for the various skills you’ve leveled up and selected to use. The items and inventory take another page out of Diablo’s book, almost word for word. You have items in various levels of rarity, like Gray, Blue, and Orange, with the rarer items often requiring identification before you can use them, just like in Diablo. Between every two levels, you’ll visit a town with different merchants, which can help you identify and repair your gear, sell your surplus items, and offer you new equipment if you’ve got extra gold.
The dungeon levels seem well designed in terms of layout, but the enemies are pretty weak and have a confused AI at times, not even attacking you when they should clearly be aggro’ed. Visually, the game is superb, but the audio department leaves something to be desired, as you’re met time and time again with the same “caw” from a hoarse raven, or the same murmurs of zombies waiting to eat your brains (presumably). The sounds of attacking and casting are also repetitive. This can get old very fast, and I found myself shutting down the volume completely.
All in all, Heretic Gods can offer a respite for a few minutes at a time, especially since the levels are fast and designed in a way to offer a quick and mobile-friendly gameplay when you’re on the bus or in a waiting room. The skill trees are interesting and diverse, although you won’t find them extremely necessary on easy mode and in the first few levels, as your character easily plows through the hordes of undead with almost no help from you. So far, the game is still in development, and two more game modes are on the way, and I’m hoping they will add a level of complexity and perhaps distance the game from Diablo a bit, so as not to be a full 1/1 clone of it. Until then, my score for this game is a rather low 62/100.