The gods aren’t kind – not in this world. They’re cruel and rule over humanity with an iron fist. Humans must submit and blindly worship these omnipotent deities. Those who don’t end up dead – from a slow and painful death at that. After a millennia under the gods’ rule, the humans decide to revolt. Being as powerful as they are, the gods almost completely wipe out the rebellion. All that remains is a band of eight Celtic warriors shipwrecked on the island that the gods call home. These eight warriors must venture forwards in an attempt to end this oppression or die trying. A worthy endeavour if they can muster up the strength to do so.
Gods Will Fall by Clever Beans is a beautifully designed hack and slash action roguelike that requires you to fight your way through ten dungeons to take on the gods within. Outside the dungeons, all of your warriors move as one, which makes it a little difficult to navigate as it takes a while to recognise which one you’re actually controlling, but you get used to it. Once you reach a dungeon though, only one can enter at a time. If they die, they’re trapped there until another warrior finishes the dungeon. If you deplete your supply of warriors, it’s game over. There are times you might lose a warrior if they’re killed by a certain type of attack, but the game will run you through this.
Meet Your Warriors
Each run you attempt will introduce you to a new set of warriors, each with their own strengths, weaknesses and relationships – both with their fellow warriors and with the gods themselves. Some have grudges with the gods that make them raring to go, while others tremble as they approach their dungeon. If one warrior falls, it might be the case that another deems it their duty to rescue them as they owe them a debt. This can lead to various stat boosts, which can really help you out in battle. It does go both ways though, stat debuffs come with defeat, even if the warrior in question is rescued and it takes a while for them to recover. That won’t stop wounded warriors feeling invigorated though – desperate to prove themselves after their prior defeat.
As you progress through the game, your warriors will also pick up new skills that will help you take on the gods, so the warriors you use the most are going to end up gaining the most out of this.
Each warrior comes equipped with a fairly basic weapon, but you can find better weapons as you progress, though warriors can only wield their specific weapon type. The bigger warriors, for example, are the only ones that are going to be able to wield the bigger weapons, but they move much slower. You’re likely to have a warrior preference. I tended to go for the smaller, more agile warriors. They pack less of a punch, but they’re much quicker when they’re dodging, which more than makes up for their lower attack power, so it’s all about figuring out your preferred style of gameplay.
Gods Will Fall does try to encourage variation though. In my first run, I had a favourite warrior. She had some pretty good stats along with a number of skills and a five-star weapon, and as such, she’d always be my go-to when it came to entering a new dungeon, and most of the time, I managed to complete the dungeons with just her. The game doesn’t seem to like that though, providing, as I mentioned before, incentives, such as stat boosts to things like vigour (health), strength and speed, but again, along with debuffs to warriors that have been used frequently.
Uncover the Secrets of Each Dungeon
There are ten gods in the base game, and as such, there are ten dungeons but they never feel repetitive. Each dungeon both looks and feels different, taking inspiration from the god that resides within it. Some dungeons are dark and…well, dungeon-like, whereas others are bright and almost tranquil if you ignore the hordes of enemies trying to kill you. A couple of moments of platforming are thrown in. It’s a nice touch and mixes things up, but the warriors, especially the bigger warriors, move almost painfully slowly. This makes it hard to judge a gap and perform a running jump – most of my deaths on my first run were due to falling, rather pathetically, to my death.
Exploration is rewarded with scrolls that give you tips – although these are a little redundant – and items that can help you on your journey. These items range from healing items, temporary strength boosters, projectiles and vigour boosts that last the duration of the dungeon. For this reason, and to kill as many enemies as possible, it’s worth exploring every nook and cranny of each dungeon.
Hack and Slash Your Way to Victory
As you can probably figure out from the title of the game, the aim of Gods Will Fall is to take down the gods that have been oppressing you. Before you can do this though, you have to reach them, which means fighting your way through a whole load of smaller enemies. Most of the time, killing these enemies will actually damage the dungeon’s end boss, so it’s worth taking down as many as you can before you reach the dungeon’s god.
As I said before, Gods Will Fall is a hack and slash adventure, and for the most part, combat isn’t particularly hard to grasp. It is, however, hard to master. Combat takes the form of fast and heavy attacks, dodging and, when timed correctly, parries. To parry, you’ll need to dodge towards your opponent rather than away, but it’s risky because if your timing isn’t right, you might end up taking a big hit. The game tries to help you out here though – an enemy’s weapon will shine when it is about to attack, which helps you time your counter. You’ll no doubt take damage throughout your run, but you can regain vigour by defeating enemies and successfully parrying, so it’s worth getting parrying down.
What’s really unique about Gods Will Fall is that the difficulty is procedurally generated, so it varies from run to run. It keeps things interesting as you’re never really sure what to expect before entering a dungeon, even if you’ve been there before since things are going to be a little different each time you play, both in terms of your band of warriors and the difficulties of each dungeon. That being said, I can see how procedurally generated difficulties aren’t for everyone. People tend to like to be in control of how much challenge they face – personally, I found my first run easy with only one god causing me any problems, but I’m sure others no doubt encountered the complete opposite.
For the most part, Gods Will Fall was a relatively smooth experience, but it could be a little clunky at times. Sometimes I would have to move away and re-approach an item to interact with it, and the interaction button itself was a little difficult to see. It was also a little too easy to fall off ledges in the middle of combat, which accounted for the majority of my deaths. There weren’t really any glaring problems though.
Gods Have Fallen
Gods Will Fall is an interesting take on the genre with a lot of charm and beautifully fresh, cartoony graphics, but the procedurally generated difficulties will no doubt put people off. The combat is fun – simple to grasp and harder to master, and it was beyond satisfying being able to pick up the weapon of a downed enemy and using it to impale another, as sadistic as that might sound. Gods Will Fall does a lot of things right – it looks good and is genuinely fun to play, but its shortcomings hold it back, and it doesn’t really add anything new to the genre.
Developer: Clever Beans
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platforms: Ps4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS5, PC, Switch
Release Date: 29th January 2021
Gaming Respawn’ copy of Gods Will Fall was provided by the publisher.