Over the past few years the asian continent has been a rich mine to dig into for ancient legends to be adapted into video games. Jade Empire started the recent trend. Bioware bringing their usual talk heavy and world engrossing magic to the Asian set RPG. then a few years later Enslaved rocks up and shows us how a game with meh gameplay can have some of the best motion capture and beautiful scenes in this current generation. Now Calvi Games and Chillingo have come to the table with their offering; The Gods: Rebellion for iOS devices
The game sees you play as Fu Xi, a guy with two axes on his back, an aversion to wearing a shirt and a taste for demon blood. From an isometric view you must lead Fu Xi through a varied selection of themed levels, think the various themes of levels you would get in a Mega Drive game back in the day.
The game is at heart an Action RPG a term that gets banded around a lot these days to describe every game under the sun. This one is true to that genre though, you have various abilities you can level up, but apart from that every effort has been made to make this game all about the fighting. Using a virtual stick on one side of the screen and various icons, representing different attacks, on the other side of the screen you can easily guide Fu Xi around the world.
The game reminds me a lot of Diablo 3, oddly both in graphics but also gameplay. Before all my fellow nerds and geeks get too excited at that prospect I don’t mean that this game is loot heavy, in fact there is no loot. The Diablo 3 comparison comes from the graphical stylings, helped by the evergreen Unreal Engine, but also the move Diablo 3 made more towards the action and the cluster love chaos of being swarmed by demons.
The game’s enemies vary from the mildly annoying to the bloody inconvenient. The first few levels you are treated to a range of grunts with specialities from “There are lots of us so we’ll all jump you” to the “I’ll stand way away over here and you can dodge my fireballs”. Most enemies can be foiled just by mashing attacks but a couple require well-timed dodges or a basic level of understanding to work out an enemies sequence. The game lost respect from me a few levels in when a minotaur enemy, with no warning, changed the pattern of his attacks, the enemy looked the same as all the ones I felled before him but this one just seemed to be singing from a different hymn sheet.
The attacks at your disposal are at first simple, you have a basic attack that when leveled up produces quite brutal combos, A harder attack that has a use dictated by a meter, and you have a counter and dodge button. All are simple to understand and can be used in various combinations to produce some pretty fun effects. From dead enemies corpses spills orbs, each with a colour representing health, special attack and hard attack. The problem comes with the game having no real explanation in-game of what the bars mean, I got 4 levels in before I knew what the blue bar did. It turns out the XP I was spending to level up my basic attack, a good tip for new players, could also be spent on special combos. The game lists possible options by their name “Whirlwind” or “Bonesnapper” and that’s all you get for information. I’ve been brought up to spend my XP wisely so without further knowledge of how useful these new attacks where I was hesitant to pay out to learn. That being said I’m a kind reviewer so for everyone out there, the Bonesnapper is meh and expensive.
The story of the game will wash over you, despite being presented in a great art style it just isn’t all that relevant to the game. Graphically the game is amazing and on my iPad 3 I was genuinely impressed at how well the game looked but also the fact that when the area was filled with enemies there was no frame rate issues. The game is a bit rinse and repeat in its nature, you go to one area of, for example, a lava level, kill some dudes, go to next area and repeat. It’s a great mix of pick up and play but also a game that you can easily lose an hour to. It tries to mix things up with a couple of traps like spikes coming from the floor that you need to run over quickly but on the most part the game is essentially just a shooting gallery, except you the only guns are Fu Xi’s arms and they’re holding two axes.
+Fun and Familiar
-Not Enough Explanation of Moves
-A Tad Rinse and Repeat
+Ancient Chinese Art Style
+Clinking and Clanking of Swords and Gushing of Blood All Work Well
-Not Quite The Oriental Soundtrack I Would Like