As a big fan of top-down twin-stick shooters, the fact that they tend to be so few and far between on Xbox One is something that I find disappointing. Here to shake off that disappointment though is God’s Trigger, a twin-stick shooter that puts you in the shoes of an Angel and Demon duo, Harry and Judy. And it is their task to work together harmoniously to kill their way into Heaven and put the brakes on the impending apocalypse.
Of course, as you’d expect, stopping the apocalypse isn’t exactly going to be the easiest task in the world, especially when it means hunting down and putting a stop to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. But whilst it may take grit, determination, a certain amount of planning and the ultimate precision to pull it all off, the adventure is surely one that you’ll remember for all the right reasons.
From the very start of the game, players are quickly introduced to just how things are going to go. You start off with an easy welcome into character movement, with the left stick controlling player movement and the right controlling the direction you want to face; essentially making it your aim. From here, it’s only a matter of seconds before you’re sent in for that first kill – the first of many.
In terms of gameplay, God’s Trigger feels a lot like Hotline Miami with its fast-paced and highly brutal running and gunning action all played from a bird’s-eye viewpoint. As mentioned before, you take the role of Judy, a Demon, and Harry, an Angel, and the game can be played from start to finish in either co-op or completely solo; single players are able to switch between the two characters with ease. Both choices are equally smooth, however playing co-op is by far the way to go, even if it’s just to share the enjoyment.
To succeed in this game though you are going to need patience. Patience, skill and then a bit more patience in fact. The reason for this is death. As most would agree, dying in a game over and over can be a quick way to kill interest, but while you will most definitely succumb to many deaths throughout your run through to the fatal horsemen, the gameplay loop of God’s Trigger is certainly one that will pull you back for more. What makes this so easy to jump back into is the fact that dying is met with an incredibly quick restart – much like failing in a Trials game – and because of this there isn’t much time to think about how irritating death is; you are thrust back into the action almost instantly.
What will likely cause such a high number of deaths however is the fact that when taking on the numerous enemies that populate each area of the game, players must get their shots spot on. Fail to do so and you’ll quickly find yourself on the end of a one-shot kill. Of course, get your attacks on target and each enemy can also be bested with the same one-shot treatment which can make for a truly satisfactory play – provided you happen to be quick enough to run through a level with near John Wick-esque precision.
To complete each level, players must clear the areas of enemies, be it by using stealth and silently dispatching each one before they know what is coming, or by completely splattering every inch of their brains across the floor, whilst also avoiding death and walking on through to the exit point. When you’ve progressed to a chapter’s end, you’ll find a boss fight waiting, and with five sectors to work your way through, there is certainly plenty of time to try, test, fail and practice a host of techniques to at least stand a chance of success.
As for the characters you’ll be controlling and each one is unique beyond the obvious holy and unholy differences. Depending which character you are, will depend on the unique ability you have access to, with Harry bringing a short range melee attack, as well as being able to dash through weakened or fragile walls. Judy meanwhile has a more far-reaching chain melee attack and can teleport short distances through objects. Abilities do cost energy, but this is never too hard to gain with killing enemies – your key objective – being all that’s required. Both characters abilities are equally brilliant and capable of getting the one up on enemies if used correctly. Utilising both characters’ abilities is a sure fire way to bring a tactical advantage to any fight.
In terms of weapons and God’s Trigger has a decent selection of deadly tools to put to use. This will see you either utilising the weapons of fallen foes or going snooping through boxes found within each level to find something capable of dealing some pain. The options aren’t exactly limited either with a variety of firearms including pistols, machine guns, and crossbows as well as melee opportunities in the form of swords and baseball bats. Hell, there are even explosives available and you’ll soon find yourself wading through the masses creating an appropriate bloodbath.
In terms of the core gameplay and once you’ve laid to waste the various enemies, made every split second decision and action count, and placed every damn bullet into the face of obstruction on your path to halting the apocalypse, you’ll reach the end level screen. There’s one at the end of every level and here players will receive the good (or bad) news on just how they performed. This is shown mostly through gained experience points which are awarded to each character individually for enemies killed, the speed in which they were killed, and the multiplier reached during the level. All this will then allow both Judy and Harry to level up, unlocking new skills and abilities in the process. Further to this will come new modifiers to enhance previously unlocked abilities, meaning the longer you play, the better things become. Once all this is accounted for, you’ll receive your overall level rank – a letter-based ranking from C to S… something Devil May Cry fans will know about all too well!
A small bonus to note is the inclusion of collectibles. These come in the form of magazines which when found unlock a page in the Helldude magazine; a hell-ish spread complete with barely clothed women. There are also perks, which can be found by heading away from the mostly linear stage route, delivering notable benefits such as a multiplier score slowdown. However only one perk can be used at a time which is probably to ensure levels remain a challenge.
Now if you’re someone who likes to see new features rearing their head at every turn, God’s Trigger isn’t one that you’ll find quite as exciting after a few chapters. That’s because once you’ve got the initial hang of things, it’s essentially character developments and new areas of each level that keep the game feeling fresh and exciting. If you’re simply looking for an experience that delivers a true spectacle whilst being a complete joy to play at the same time, then this is the game for you.
I’m not just talking gameplay wise though, I mean visually too. With things being played top-down, creating intricate detail was never going to be easy, but from start to finish, God’s Trigger on Xbox One is a game that looks fantastic. Every enemy, environment, blood-splatter and explosion looks the part and is encapsulated perfectly with a vibrant colour palette and stunning cartoon-ish art design. This ensures that whilst the game breeds rage and violence, it never feels like it takes itself all too seriously, maintaining the arcade feel the game is looking for.
At the end of the day, if you like top-down adventures, it goes without saying that God’s Trigger is one you should be checking out. Not only does it tick all the boxes both visually and in terms of the gameplay, but it also has a pretty affordable price tag too.
This is one truly divine experience you’d be mad not to add to your gaming library.