Platforms: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, PC, Stadia
If there’s one thing worth praising Gods Will Fall for, it’s the game’s concept. This isometric hack-and-slash adventure from Clever Beans borrows a bit from Gauntlet, Souls-likes, and the roguelike genre — and it works. Thankfully, there’s more than just one thing worth praising this title for as it’s genuinely a fun game, its clunky mechanics and controls be damned!
Man vs. God: Round One Billion
Loosely inspired by Celtic mythos, Gods Will Fall tells the tale of a group of folks who have risen up to battle 10 cruel gods. Okay, yeah, we’ve seen this type of story before, but the simple setup makes for a really cool dungeon crawler.
Your group consists of eight playable characters, each with randomized stats. You’ve got limber characters that are fast but weak, and bulky warriors that are powerful but slow. They’re armed with blades and axes, and though there are some differences, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting used to how they all play. And really, you’re going to have to get used to how all of these characters play because chances are you’ll eventually run through each of them at least a couple of times.
After a brief tutorial, you’re able to take on the game’s gods in any order you choose. Some are tougher than others, so if you find yourself struggling with one encounter, you might want to try your hand at a different boss. Of course, things can get pretty tricky — and tough — for you, because if one of your heroes falls in battle, you’ll have to start that specific dungeon over as a different character. This creates a nice little gameplay loop where you find yourself running through dungeons with different characters if you get captured by the gods.
If it isn’t already obvious, when all of your characters are defeated, you’ll have to start the game over, at which point you’ll be able to play as the eight heroes now with new, random stats. It’s worth noting, too, that you can’t always rescue your fallen comrades. If a character is dealt a killing blow by an enemy during battle, that character will be permanently removed from your rotation of heroes. This adds a forgiving roguelike sensibility to Gods Will Fall that still puts a bit of pressure without ever feeling too extreme.
Solid but Clunky Combat
The combat mechanics in Gods Will Fall are a cross between the simple-yet-functional hack-and-slash style of Gauntlet and the wait-before-attacking approach of a Souls-like. This makes for a good gameplay foundation and really entertaining action. Unfortunately, those pesky gods really seem to hate you, the player, because the character animations and controls feel a tad clunky. It’s nothing that’ll make it impossible for you to defeat enemies, but sometimes timing and positioning can feel off, leading to an untimely demise for one of your heroes.
Had the game’s controls and character animations just been a little bit tighter and more precise, the combat would’ve been excellent. As it is, though, it’s unfortunately worthy of comment along the lines of, “It’s good, but…” Thankfully, the level of polish isn’t game-breaking or disastrous in any way. It merely makes moving around enemies and successfully landing blows — the crux of the gameplay — a little tougher than it should be at times.
Graphically, Gods Will Fall has a nice, simple look to it. Some environments are better-looking than others, and though there is some generic scenery, there’s nothing overtly bad about the game’s art direction.
The same goes for the sound design. You’ve got some basic themes and sound effects that are hardly offensive but won’t stay with you after you’re done playing. It is pretty fun, though, hearing the characters cheer and rejoice as they take down the oppressive gods.
There are a lot of things about Gods Will Fall that you’re likely to truly appreciate and, honestly, maybe even genuinely love during its eight-hour length. The concept is great. The combat is fun. The challenge is solid, too. It’s just lacking some refinements that would make this otherwise good game a great game. Even then, it’s certainly worth playing if you dig tough isometric action games. Just keep your expectations in check.