Godus by 22cans is now available via Steam Early Access for £14.99, giving everyone the opportunity to help test the beta version of the spiritual successor to Peter Molyneux’s Populous. As a backer of the Kickstarter project we’ve received our keys and are currently spending all of our free time playing God.
We’ve been waiting patiently for access to the beta version for a while now, tracking the development team’s progress via their weekly update videos. As soon as it became available for download last Friday, 13 September 2013 I grabbed my copy and jumped right in.
The visual style of Godus is quite unique, with its contour-map style of the world making it stand out from any other isometric game. This, along with the simple yet colourful design of the followers and buildings, make the game easily recognisable and allows for the scale of your civilisation to grow tremendously.
From the responses I’ve seen so far across the web, the beta release of Godus has been met with mixed opinion. The enjoyable aspect for most players is the ability to sculpt the landscape to create your own design and – more importantly – make more space for new dwellings. The gameplay at present is all about numbers; by creating more buildings for your followers to live and multiply in, the more belief you’ll receive.
Belief is very important as it’s the main currency and is spent on sculpting the land and using God powers. As it’s generated by your followers, it can be collected from each dwelling simply by clicking on the pink bubble that appears. But here’s where the first problem with Godus arises: for the first few hours the title consists entirely of constant clicking. As your civilisation grows, the time spent on the bubbles increases massively and can end up becoming a chore. Unfortunately this clicking is required to progress because almost any action costs belief.
Luckily it’s not long before this issue is resolved: you can purchase a settlement and this becomes a central point for collecting belief from connected houses. Unfortunately however, the hassle early on could easily turn some players away. As Godus is intended to be released on tablet devices as well as PC it’s obvious that the controls would need to be simplified to support touch devices, but I feel this could easily be resolved by rethinking the way belief is collected.
Continuous clicking aside, I’ve been impressed with the game so far and – considering we’re still only at a beta stage – there’s plenty of time for it to be improved. Godus is about progressing from the primitive age all the way through to the space age; this is achieved by increasing the size of your civilisation and finding resource cards used to unlock better housing, scientific advancements and social development. The beta doesn’t go further than the primitive age currently but a recent update includes preparation for farming as part of the bronze age.
What I’ve played so far has been enjoyable regardless of the above issues and it has taken me seven hours to get to the current limit of the landscape available in this beta version. I’m really looking forward to seeing more ages added to the game, and if they manage to include all proposed ages at release then Godus is going to be epic. Molyneux is of course known in the video game industry for not fulling his promises and so I hope this project doesn’t up being another example.
One final comment to make is to do with micro-transactions: gems in Godus are used to speed up building and to purchase items after you’ve bought a few with belief. They can be mined but it’s very likely we’ll be able to purchase gems in the final version. At the moment it’s possible to get some decent gameplay before having to use them but if they wish to make money from micro-transactions then it will most likely be through this mechanic.
If you’ve been playing Godus, let us know your opinion in the comments section below. Otherwise, make your way over to Steam to get involved in the early access program.