Almost regularly (over the span of a few years) Locomalito has published highly polished retro games that make a lot of commercial attempts at retro games by other indy teams look pitiful. And the most recent one, The Curse of Issyos, is no exception. A great consistent art-style, perfect controls that make the high difficulty bearable, a variety of levels each with their own unique visuals.
The Curse of Issyos is an action platformer with a few action-adventure elements thrown into the mix. As with most Locomalito games, it’s pretty difficult (limited lives, limited continues, but at least a few hit points), but never impossible. You can get two different melee weapons, the spear and the sword, each one useful in different situations. If you find you can’t advance at a certain point, try to get the other weapon to see if it makes a difference. Also there’s a very efficient bow, though ammo is limited.
If there’s one thing above all others I love about Locomalito’s games is the attention to detail, from all the surrounding materials he publishes (like the box cover art or the great looking manual) or all the little stuff he adds to his games that just make them such great experiences. For example the overland map in TCoI isn’t exactly mandatory, but its addition shows that even seemingly lightweight elements get their due.
It’s not a big game by any measure, but the highly polished gameplay makes sure that you’ll enjoy your stay and the difficulty makes sure that you won’t breeze through it.
[There’s a secret ending: you get it when you heed the advice about saving one guy, which gives you a new weapon to still the soul flames in the underworld.]