Godstrike – Review
Follow Genre: Twin-stick shooter, Action, Arcade
Developer: OverPowered Team
Publisher: OverPowered Team
Platform: Switch, PC
Tested on: Switch

Godstrike – Review

Site Score
5.2
Good: Clean minimalistic art style
Bad: Needlessly frustrating
User Score
6.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Before we delve into Godstrike in detail, we’ll have to address the troubled development history, as this is essential to Godstrike’s genesis. About a year and a half ago, developer OverPowered Team released a twin-stick bullet hell game named Profane. Shortly after launch, Profane was removed from the eShop and Steam shortly after launch due to disagreements between OverPowered Team and publisher Alternative Software Limited. OverPowered Team then took Profane and reworked it as a game that was closer to their original vision -any similarities to what happened with Zack Snyder’s Justice League are coïncidental. The result of this rework is Godstrike. If you’ve played Profane, there’s a good chance that Godstrike will cause a feeling of déjà-vu. Is the second time the charm or should OverPowered Team have stuck with what was released originally?

Story

The opening scenes of Godstrike recall an ancient legend about a civilization that was granted magical masks by their God. Those that wore the masks gained tremendous power. For one of the mask wearers, the power of a single mask wasn’t enough, however. He was driven to obtain and consume the other masks. By doing so, he brought chaos to the world, resulting in an apocalyptic struggle. The humans united in an attempt to defeat the corrupted mask wearer, and succeeded in doing so. Upon defeat of the mask wearer, his mask was sealed away in a temple.

Centuries passed and the corrupted mask has started to regain its power. It’s now up to Godstrike’s unnamed protagonist hero to step up, put on a mask of his own and deal with the ancient menace that threatens to drown the world in chaos once again. It’s a simple and familiar premise that fails to really capitalize on its potential. Very little backstory is given on the enemies you face, apart from a little blurb that explains that they are the ancient mask wearers themselves, corrupted by the powers of the evil mask.

Graphics

Godstrike’s visuals are perhaps the game’s greatest achievement. OverPowered Team went for a relatively minimalistic design for the bosses, rather than including lots of small details. This fits the fast-paced nature of the game, as you’ll often be too caught up in the frantic -and often frustrating- gameplay to really focus on the character designs. Godstrike’s boss designs are a rare example of how “less is more” is correctly implemented. The lighting and neon effects used to simulate energy beams were suitably impressive as they added visual flair to the chaos that ensued on screen without feeling too overpowering. Add to this that Godstrike’s frame rate was consistent, something that’s essential in games with fast action, and we can only conclude that the game really delivers in the visual department.

Sound

Unlike the graphics, we were unimpressed with Godstrike’s sound design. The music that blared through our speakers was bland and generic and the sound effects didn’t add anything to our experience either. We also encountered a boss fight that had no music at all. Whether this was deliberate, or simply a glitch, wasn’t entirely clear but we weren’t really bothered by the lack of audio during that battle.

Gameplay

Godstrike presents you with a boss rush gauntlet which sees you take on a variety of enemies in fast-paced twin-stick bullet hell fights. Your goal is to beat every boss of course, but this is easier said than done as the game comes with a twist. Godstrike’s core concept is built around managing time, which acts as your hit points as well as currency. Battles are timed affairs, and the timer also acts as your health bar. As you are dealing with your enemies, the timer slowly ticks away. Getting hit by an enemy attack removes precious seconds from the clock. Once the timer hits zero, it’s game over. You’ll be facing a series of bosses, each more challenging than the last. If you’re a glutton for punishment, then Godstrike will be right up your alley, as it’s almost impossible to take down a boss on the first try. You’ll need to learn their attack patterns through trial and error. As every boss has multiple life bars and attack phases, mastering Godstrike isn’t a task for the faint of heart or those that are easily frustrated.

Upon beating a boss, you’ll earn access to new buffs. These come in passive and active forms, and you’re able to equip them before you move on to the next one. The caveat here is that you’ll need to “buy” these buffs by sacrificing seconds. This means that you’ll have to carefully balance your loadout: do you go for a powerful upgrade, meaning you’ll need to take down your enemies faster, or do you -quite literally- buy yourself more time by skipping on these upgrades?

While this all sounds good in theory, the execution of Godstrike’s time mechanics is disappointing. The game’s biggest flaw is that it never capitalizes on its gimmick by giving the player a sense of accomplishment. You’re taking down the bosses but beating one isn’t actually satisfying, as the upgrades you earn never feel like a true boost in power, and there is no sense of growth or innovation as you progress on to the next battle. Godstrike isn’t a boring game, and if you like boss rushes, there is a good chance you’ll have fun with it, but the game feels needlessly frustrating and unbalanced.

At times it feels like Godstrike is trying to pad itself through the time mechanic. With only 10 boss fights, the game is a relatively short affair, only increasing its longevity by the need to replay the same levels over and over as you familiarize yourself with enemy attack patterns. Beyond the story mode, the game also offers up a challenge mode, where you face off against all the bosses again, but with less access to buffs and an arena mode that allows you to customize certain settings, such as having access to every buff in the game.

Conclusion

There is a good bullet hell game in here somewhere, but Godstrike holds on too tight to the time gimmick to allow the other parts of the game to shine. Had the game eschewed the countdown mechanic and gone for a more straightforward approach, then Godstrike probably would’ve been an unremarkable title compared to its direct competition, but at least it would’ve been more fun. Instead, it attempts to differentiate itself from the crowd with a gimmick that adds a needless level of frustration. We were left wondering what the added value of the “time = HP” concept was, both from a gameplay point of view and from a lore perspective. While it’s difficult to find info about Profane online, what we could find indicated that the original version is actually better, but as that game was pulled from its respective online stores, tracking down a copy of the superior version could prove to be difficult.

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Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Godstrike - Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
SebastiaanRaats


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