Posted: November 27, 2013
Early Access Review
GODUS 2.0 - The Regenesis of the Regenesis of the God Game?
Godus 2.0 was supposed to be that big patch [that took them half a year to deliver] that would change and improve everything. But what has really changed? Is Godus now the God Game we all thought it would be when Peter asked for our money on Kickstarter and Steam Early Access or is it still something you should avoid if you haven't bought it yet?
The short answer is: Godus is way better now but still not worth your money, maybe at a 75% discount but not if you have to pay 19€ for it. Do you want to know why? Keep on reading.
2014-05-27: Review is still accurate, Godus is still not a real (PC) game.Core Gameplay
The land in Godus consists of different layers which you can push, pull or completely remove, but not add. This so-called sculpting it the main mechanic of the game, you will spent most of your time flattening the land so that your followers have enough room to build new abodes and spread.
Compared to the previous versions you can now sculpt more land before you have to click again, which is a real improvement but the mechanic still doesn't feel quite right. It's more enjoyable but only if done in small peaces, if you try to sculpt larger areas it gets really annoying especially cos stuff like digging down or moving multiple layers doesn't unlock till way later in the game.
In addition to sculpting you have some god powers like beautifying land, plant trees or conjuring rain to aid your farmers. These powers look neat but you won't use them very often, they just don't add anything noticeable to the gameplay. Belief
In order to sculpt land and to fuel your god powers you need belief, the main resource in Godus. Belief is generate by your people while they are breeding and appears in form of bubbles over their abodes which you than have to collect manually. Granted, the mechanic has been vastly improved compared to 1.3.1 cos you can now click & hold the mouse button and then drag the cursor over as many bubbles as you want to collect them instead of clicking each one individually, but it still is unnecessarily complicated and makes the game feel like a mobile game.
This is especially annoying - and concerning - cos pretty much every alpha and later beta player complained about this from the very beginning. People basically begged 22Cans to automate the collection of belief but they just didn't listen. Timeline, Stickers and Chests
Your civilization's progression is represented by a timeline (former scrap book) which consists of technology cards that unlock once you reached a certain number of followers, crops, ore and so on. To activate cards some of them have to be assigned a certain amount of stickers (starting at one but raising up to above 20 very soon). These stickers come in different categories like social, tools or industry and are obtained by either playing Voyages of Discovery missions (see below) or by finding them in chests which you have to dig up by sculpting land.
This "resource" system is probably the most flawed system in Godus. First of all digging up chests to get random stickers is not fun. Secondly it hurts the sandbox element of the game cos chests (or missions), and therefore stickers, are extremely limited. And finally it's just a shallow and uninspired substitute for a real resource system.Settlements
Once you have unlocked and activated the respective cards you can place different kinds of settlements (regular, farming, mining, ...) on plots. When you do that a settlement is create that contains the plots or abodes in it's close proximity.
Compared to the previous versions settlements now no longer just gather belief of all the abodes in their area of influence they now allow you to customize your civilization a little bit. The people in a settlement can have one of three jobs. Breeders create new people (as long as their are abodes for them) and belief, Buffers increase the belief generated by your Breeders and Worker do the job specific to the settlement. In a regular Settlement Workers are just common builders (your regular people), in a farming settlement your Workers are Farmers that can create Farms on free plots and harvest crops and so on.
The new settlements really add to the game and most definitively are the feature I like most about 2.0. Granted, assigning people jobs is still a little bit clunky and I can't for the love of god figure out how to deal with that stupid unemployed people that just waste valuable space in my settlements, but it is still a great idea.Voyages of Discovery
Voyages replaced the rather lackluster PvP Battles and story missions in the former versions. Voyages basically play like a light version of Lemmings, you have a small group of followers that have to reach a shrine. Your job is to make sure that there not just is a path that allows them to do so in time - there is a timer ticking down - but also that they avoid hazards that try to kill them on the way. On a successful run you get stickers, if you fail you lose all the people you send and you to use belief to get a new group.
As simplistic as this might be it also is kinda fun, it's the type of mini game you might wanna play during lunch break. However, it also is incredibly annoying that you have to do all these mission to get the stickers in order to advance. If you don't grind Voyages you will run out of stickers rather soon and won't be able to play the game anymore.Follower AI
One 2.0's big features was supposed to be the follower AI. Your people would not longer hide inside their abodes and only come out if you had a job for them. Instead they would stroll around and to interesting stuff.
Well, that's true and false at the same time. Your followers now actually do stuff but it's a) basically always the same (resting beneath trees, gathering around camp fires, standing next to each other and talking), b) only very few of your people actually do that stuff (maybe 10-15%?) and c) it has no affect whatsoever on the gameplay nor does it reassemble the behavior of a real civilization.
The world looks more alive in 2.0 than it did before, but, at least for me, it's still not enough, not by a long shot, it's just a nice little start.Look and Feel
All in all the game still looks and feels like a mobile game, it is designed to be played on a 5" display and not on a 24" monitor, and that might be a K.O. criteria for many people. Godus has no tooltips at all, instead you always have to bring up an info screen that covers the whole monitor. There is no quick action bar to select god powers, you can't use the mouse wheel to scroll threw the timeline but you have to click and drag it instead and so on. The more time you spend playing Godus the clearer it gets that this game's main target group are mobile gamers, it being on PC is just an addition to that concept, not the other way around.
Another aspect of the game that just screams mobile are it's timers, it takes ages to get anything done. It starts of okay but once you reached the second age building simple abodes take more than 20 minutes and rebuilding a new shrine requires several hours. That's okay if you just want to play the game for 5 minutes and then leave it till these things are done (currently you have to keep the game running cos there is no server yet) but if you are the kind of gamer that likes to play a game for at least an hour straight you will run out of things to do and spend most of your time waiting.