Let's get one thing out of the way right now - if you don't like the idea of bad luck wiping out hours of progress, Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God is not the game for you.

If, on the other hand, you like a challenge - and I mean a challenge - you won't find better, cuter, or more difficult game on your Vita than Sorcery Saga.

This gem of a roguelike dungeon-crawler doesn't pull any punches and leaves you with an immense feeling of accomplishment if you're skilled (and lucky) enough to clear its dungeons.

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In Sorcery Saga, you take control of precocious young protagonist Pupuru.

Far from being a battle-hardened warrior or eldritch mage, Pupuru is a young girl who's trying to save a friend's modest curry shop from going out of business.

To pull off this good deed, Pupuru must delve into all manner of dungeons in a quest to find the ingredients required for the "Legendary Magic Curry" - a dish so delicious that it'll put her friend's curry shop back on the local map.

Each of the ingredients is hidden in a tower dungeon, however, and the adventure to collect each piece of the Legendary Magic Curry is a harrowing one.

To start with, Pupuru is reset to level 1 every time you leave a zone - so your precious hit points and stat bonuses won't carry over from dungeon to dungeon. Thankfully, you do at least get to hold on to your weapons and items.


Or at least you do when Sorcery Saga feels like letting you hold onto them.

It's entirely too easy to lose a weapon or shield that you've spent hours and innumerable grinds upgrading no matter how careful you are to secure it there, and even the items that are supposed to prevent gear from vanishing work only about half the time they're supposed to.

This is, I'm told, part of the rough charm of roguelike games - but when a randomly encountered onion priest transformed my kitted out Tubular Shield +8 into a useless chunk of pickled onions, I damn near sent my Vita on a one-way trip out the window.

If you're willing to endure these moments of frustration - and there will be many of them - Sorcery Saga is a great game with tons of polish in the spirit of games like Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja.

Combat is of the simplified 'press X to attack' variety, with skills/spells tied to the shoulder button. Enemies will only move when you move or take an action, so there's a very pronounced strategy element involved in how you tackle each dungeon.

Similarly, while Pupuru's hit points replenish over time, her companion Kuu's drop accordingly.

While it's often in your interests to let Kuu take on annoying enemies for you - especially those that can transform your precious gear into useless trash - relying on the flying sprite too heavily means that you'll need to dedicate much of your limited item reserve into feeding him.

Kuu also receives power-ups based on what items you choose to feed him, so you can customise him into a support role or more combat-oriented tank role depending on your playing style, and the items available in a given dungeon.

There's also an intriguing 'Curry' system that allows you to mix curry on the go while in a dungeon. Each dish provides different stat bonuses based on how it's prepared, so experimentation with ingredients can lead to truly impressive results.

Heaping helpings

For all the frustrations that you'll encounter in Sorcery Saga, the characters and excellent localisation will keep you coming back for more.

The voice acting - retained in the original Japanese - is suitably comedic and lends an overblown sense of appropriate absurdity to the genuinely funny dialogue between characters.

It might not be enough to completely erase the pain of a blown run up a tower, but it’ll certainly help make the rewards at the end feel more satisfying.

Ultimately, Sorcery Saga: The Curse of the Great Curry God is a game of risks and rewards.

It's aggressive with its autosaving, and this in turn forces you to make tough decisions as you slog through a dungeon.

You can press straight on to fight the boss and risk losing an inventory full of items accumulated over hours of play, or you can play it safe, store your items in town, and reattempt the dungeon at level 1 with the knowledge that your plunder is safe at home.

How you proceed is entirely up to you, but don't expect Sorcery Saga to be gentle with you if you make a mistake.