Cursed Labyrinth -Hack & Slash review
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Cursed Labyrinth -Hack & Slash review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on March 9th, 2023
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FRESH AND FREE
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This deck-building roguelite doesn’t look like much, but it is one of the fresher takes on the genre in recent memory.


Price: Free
Version: 1.5
App Reviewed on: iPad Pro

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Everything about Cursed Labyrinth -Hack & Slash doesn't sound all that great, perhaps aside from the price. It's a kind of janky roguelite deck-builder with a progression system that is fairly linear. The saving grace of the pitch--and why I decided to check it out--is the fact that it's free (read: not free-to-play). And, to my surprise, it's actually a pretty fresh and fun deck-builder despite the things working against its initial appeal.

Stop me if you've heard this before

Cursed Labyrinth -Hack & Slash is a card game where you play as an adventurer who must battle their way through dungeons and defeat bosses to earn loot. Your abilities are dictated by a deck of at least 30 cards you can customize to bring with you into battle, and with that one deck you need to fight through quite a few enemies and a midboss before reaching the final encounter.

The cards in your deck can do anything from attack enemies directly, create shields, heal, apply buffs and debuffs, and more. The enemies you face use cards as well, though they don't really use a deck. The cards enemies plan to play are laid out on the game board at the start of your turn so you can decide how to best thwart their attempts to defeat you.

Combo breaker

The game board itself is where Cursed Labyrinth -Hack & Slash starts to depart from territory covered by other deck-building games. As opposed to having any kind of stamina system for playing cards, you can play as many cards as you like so long as they fit into the five slots available on the game board. Where it gets even more interesting is the fact that most cards can be played on top of each other to combine their effects, meaning if you have an attack card and a heal card, you could add them to the same slot to have both of those effects trigger at the same time.

Whenever you end your turn, all of the cards on the game board resolve one slot at a time from left to right, which also adds an element of strategy in terms of skill ordering to the mix. And if that weren't enough, there is a system for something called "composting" cards, which allows you to effectively clear out slots of the game board by stacking a certain value of cards on top of each other. Mastering this mechanic is key to later stages of Cursed Labyrinth -Hack & Slash where enemies get really tricky with their combos.

Priceless grind

As you can tell from screenshots, Cursed Labyrinth -Hack & Slash isn't the most visually appealing game. Its onboarding tutorial is also a bit roughshod and doesn't do a great job of explaning all of its mechanics thoroughly. In fact, there are a few things that still occasionally pop-up in the course of a fight that seem to run against what I've learned of the systems through playing.

You can figure out most of what you need to have a good time with the game, though, and as you put more time into it you get rewarded with a lot more card variety and even new classes to play as. It definitely is a grind to unlock new things in Cursed Labyrinth -Hack & Slash, and some of the things that you unlock are just categorically better than the things you've unlocked previously, but the journey to get to those unlocks is still fun thanks to the game's unique mechanics, and it's hard to complain too much about rougher edges of the game considering it offers up such a fun core for zero dollars.

The bottom line

Cursed Labyrinth -Hack & Slash may not be the most polished package, but considering what it offers and its asking price, it is well worth checking out. This deck-builder feels unlike any other in ways that will keep you coming back to try and master its hardest challenges.

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