If, like me, you haven’t quite yet reached the prime age of 30, chances are the biggest names you’ll remember from back in the grand old age of gaming are the likes of Sonic, Mario and that little alien fella on PlayStation 1 – Abe and his fantastical Oddysee adventure.
For those who’ve been around since the dawn of Pong however, then there will be some titles that you may well remember fondly – before wondering where the hell they went. One that has had many anticipating its release since the announcement that it would be getting the remaster treatment is none other than classic 1991 platformer GODS. After hearing nothing but positives about the original adventure, I decided to take a step back in time to experience GODS Remastered in all that fresh updated glory.
So, the story is simple – for what little story there is. The mighty Gods are in need, they must retake their sacred citadel from the four guardians and it’s down to you as the player to do whatever it takes to defeat them and retake it. If you’re hoping to get anything more from the game than that though then it’s going to be the gameplay you get it from as that’s the where the real attention grabber comes from with a game like GODS Remastered.
Despite the vastly improved visuals found in GODS Remastered when compared to that of the original, one thing that is quickly noticeable is the ageing feeling brought on by the game. Even with the fresh visuals it’s hard to say it feels like you’re playing a game that’s been released in 2019, and there would be many who, if they didn’t know what it was they was looking at, may well be quick to turn GODS off and head into something a little more modern feeling… or at least something a bit more colour friendly.
Should you stick around though and put in the time that’s needed to master the mechanics, learn the ins and outs and get to grips with the general feel of what is essentially a typical ‘90s platformer, then what you’ll find is actually a rather retro infused gaming experience that should be warmly welcomed to Xbox One. It’s not without issues, mind.
From a gameplay side of things, GODS Remastered brings together a mix of platforming and puzzling elements throughout the course of the game, along with plenty of combat – albeit very basic combat – which ties it all together as a complete experience.
There are four main levels to speak of, with each one building in difficulty before culminating in a boss battle against the guardians to retake the citadel. Whilst four levels may not sound like much though, getting through and beating each one is no easy task. Like many other platform games, each level is littered with various traps and hazards that are awkwardly placed meaning concentration and often planning is a must. Enemies are also thrown in to ensure your demise is met in some way or another. What makes this even more challenging is that the enemies aren’t just tied to one static route and it’s not odd to see them jump from platform to platform in a bid to chase you to your death.
For many those sort of mechanics won’t sound all too special but given the vast age of a title such as GODS it’s rare to see such mechanics even thought of, let alone implemented. Sadly, the combat to take down each of the threats does wind things back to basics though, with nothing but jumping, crouching or simple button mashing taking place until they are no longer an obtrusive obstacle. More awkwardly though is the character movement, and due to the downright clunky feel of character movement, the combat and almost every action feels like we’re winding the clock back a number of decades. From jumping to walking there’s nothing that ever feels like it’s been given the same level of care as seen with the visual improvements, and it would have been nice to see something with the same level of fluidity such as platformers like the Shantae series, or just generally anything in which your actions feel a lot more like you’re moving around a playable character rather than a trackless tank.
It’s not all negative though and one thing that should be praised is the puzzle element and just how tricky they genuinely are. For me the one genre I’ve always loved the most is that of horror, especially the classics with puzzling challenges tied to them. GODS Remastered is a game that takes me back to those titles and, with very little given away, completing a challenge takes a lot of effort to figure out. Disappointingly it does on occasion become a little too hard when there is very little difference in levers and doors, but given the generally difficult nature, this wasn’t something that grated too much. I must say, the puzzles were something that I enjoyed a lot.
Should you be good enough to find the hidden secrets found within then the true rewards of the puzzles will come to fruition as this is how the big win of a score boost and cash to spend in the shop is best achieved. This shop is an important gameplay element as it allows you to pick up new weapons, upgrades, and various different items that can help you on your adventures.
I also have ultimate praise for the option to play GODS Remastered on Xbox One with the remastered visuals or through the look found in the original release. When a game like this comes along, or indeed any remaster, this option is always going to go down positively with me, as it brings you the chance to see the improvements first hand, allowing you to live that retro experience once more. For an indie game to bring such an option, I applaud the developers for a job well done.
Should you like challenging platformers then GODS Remastered is one you’ll want to give a go. It doesn’t bring any of the modern style platforming mechanics we’ve come to take for granted and the movement is quite honestly horrible, but if you can get past that then what you’ve got is a capable and rewarding experience. For many it may prove way too difficult and occasionally unfair due to poor movement mechanics, but in general GODS Remastered is a decent game that will surely please those who loved the original outing and want to experience it again.