In whichever world Gods Will Fall takes place, humanity has had enough of the cruelty and suffering brought upon them by their gods. And so they’re going to do something about.
Or at least try to. Heading out to a strange island on which portals to each of the gods’ realms can be found, the eight-strong band of brave warriors you take control of in Gods Will Fall will first have to overcome being shipwrecked. Then, after dusting themselves off and drying themselves out, they’ve got the act of exploring a tranquil overworld in order to locate and enter the realms of their troublesome gods to tackle. One by one, they must fall.
But there are complications. Upon entering a portal and emerging in a god’s realm, they’re not simply waiting on the other side for our brave warriors; each god demands that you earn the right to face them, forcing you to best countless minions and negotiate hostile environments before arriving at the arena of battle. And, to give themselves the best chance of survival, a god will only permit one warrior to enter their realm at a time. Needless to say, our warriors have their work cut out.
Developed by Manchester-based studio Clever Beans, Gods will Fall is a rogue-like unlike any other. With a random assortment of eight warriors at your disposal and ten gods to defeat, the odds aren’t on your side – especially when you consider that the strength of each god is an unknown quantity. During my many attempts at completing the game, however, there does seem to be somewhat of an ideal order to tackle them in. The spider-like Osseus, for example, always seems like a good place to start.
Ultimately, though, every time you play, the difficulty of each god, and the minions you have to beat to get to them, will be somewhat random. Along with other random variables, such as the build of each member of your team, their weapons, skills, and more, you can never rest on your laurels. Upon clicking that New Game option via the main menu, you’re never 100% sure of what lies ahead. A realm you’ve previously breezed through might have some new, stronger enemies in it, for example, while that warrior under your control that seemed like a beast last time around may not have an equal.
To some extent, then, succeeding in Gods Will Fall feels like it depends on the roll of a dice. Sometimes you’ll have a run where you seemingly can’t catch a break, but if you’re lucky, everything might just align in your favour. Though even when the latter happens, you’ll still need to have a good knowledge of the gods you’re up against to stand a chance at success. And that will only come after you’ve fallen at their hands many, many times.
For some players, failure might become a bit of an issue given how much time you have to invest in a playthrough of Gods Will Fall. In rogue-likes such as The Binding of Isaac, one run will rarely take more than 30 minutes, and you’ll beat it in one sitting once you’re good enough. In Gods Will Fall, however, you might spend hours upon hours fighting against the gods before ultimately failing. And with no persistent upgrades to unlock, you’ll find yourself back at square one on your next run.
A part of the reason why an attempt to complete Gods Will Fall can last so long is because it’s fairly rare for your warriors to actually die. Unless the blow that incapacitates them in any particular realm is a deadly attack which flashes red, they become trapped rather than killed. Out on the island where their friends await, the door to the realm will open once more, allowing yet another warrior to attempt to conquer the challenge that awaits inside. Should they emerge victorious, any trapped heroes will also be freed, improving the team’s chances of continued success. Should all of your warriors end up dead or trapped, however, it’s back to the main menu you go to start anew.
The success or failure of any of your warriors on any given run also has an impact on the stats and abilities of the remaining party members left in play. If a warrior heads into a god’s realm and emerges victorious, for example, the others might be fired up, gaining new skills or raising their vigour. Weapons and items might also be looted, which can then be distributed as you see fit. If the door to a realm reopens and no one emerges, however, the remaining warriors will generally be disheartened and might lose a point or two to some stats. Close friends, though, might be determined to seek revenge or free them, gaining a notable stat boost for that particular realm.
It’s a fun system that really leads to your journey feeling unique. Though your team of warriors will be familiar every time you play, on any given playthrough you might find yourself really attached to one or two of them, especially if they’ve proven their effectiveness in battle. Some warriors always seem more capable of getting the job done than others, though. A slender warrior generally makes any realm easier to overcome thanks to their stereotypical nimbleness. And if they’re equipped with a spear, that’s even better; fighting any enemy one-on-one becomes a cinch thanks to their quick attacks that don’t allow for a reprisal.
Gods Will Fall‘s combat falls apart, however, when you’re faced with multiple enemies at a time, especially if you’re playing as a bigger-built character that’s not as graceful on their feet. With blocking not possible unless you’ve been lucky enough to pick up a limited-use shield, your only real method of defence becomes your ability to parry. That’s increasingly tricky to perform when you’re surrounded by three or more enemies. And with most of your adversaries’ attacks hitting hard, death can come very quickly.
It’s risky, but your best defence in Gods Will Fall is often to go all-out; a roar system allows you to restore a portion of a warrior’s health after they’ve landed sequential blows on their opponents, with more health and other bonuses awarded for those who wait before unleashing their thunderous shout. It’s not a tactic that works for the majority of the game’s bosses, however. For them, you need to study their patterns and work out when it’s safe to attack. The problem is, with slower characters, it’s really hard to capitalise upon them.
The key to victory in Gods Will Fall, then, is falling lucky with your band of warriors and also having a good knowledge of the gods you’re up against. Once you have both, you can be done with it within a few hours. Until then, however, you might spend tens of hours trying and failing, running through realms and attempting to defeat their troublesome gods time and time again. Is that fun? I’ll leave that decision to you.
For the most part I’ve found Gods Will Fall to be an enjoyable experience despite some frustrations. Many of its gods are ugly but it has a charming art style otherwise, while a sinister soundtrack perfectly sets the tone. And while the combat could do with some tweaking to make your bigger warriors feel more useful, it’s generally fair and fun. So, if you’re into rogue-likes and want a game that tries something new with the formula, you could do far worse than attempt to lead your band of warriors to success in Gods Will Fall.
Gods Will Fall Review: GameSpew’s Score