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For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone


Product: Godus | Developer: 22Cans | Publisher: DeNA | Format: iPad | Genre: Simulation, Strategy | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Godus iPad, thumbnail 1
Let's face it. Power fantasies are an integral part of the appeal of video games. Whether it's gunning for terrorists or commanding the allies against the Reich, it's all about power.

So it's only a short step to making a game in which you're are an actual god. Enter Godus, which fulfills the contract on paper. But the developers forgot to make any of the enormous powers they grant you of any particular use or interest.

Swimming to safety

You start with an extended in-game tutorial that lays the foundation of your worship. You rescue a drowning couple by building land for them to stand on.

Much of the initial game consists of levelling land so that your swelling population can build on it. This mechanic will be familiar to god-game veterans thanks to games like Populous. But Godus suffers from one of the most ham-fisted implementations of the mechanic yet.

Your finger just isn't a fine enough tool to sculpt the game's gorgeous tropical land masses with any precision. The ground comes in layers, but to start with you can't bulldoze all the strata at once.

Instead you have to faff about clearing one at a time, and you'll always end up picking and dragging bits you didn't want to.

In itself this would be a forgivable annoyance. But as the land swells into impressive plateaus and mountains, you have to pay from a limited pool of belief to sculpt the top layers. When you end up burning this by accident, it starts to grate.

It grates more because while belief is something you harvest slowly from your followers, you can buy more of it with real cash.

Swimming in one direction

The grating becomes ever more insistent as you discover that for the first few hours of play, landscaping is pretty much all you get to do.

To be fair to the game, it throws a lot of story around this process and it's often pretty engaging. You need to guide your followers to discover temples and harbours in their promised land. You'll encounter other tribes, research new technology, and sail to explore new islands.

IAPs Explained
Like every free to play game Godus has a secondary currency. They're called gems and you can buy them in increasing "value" packs ranging from £2.99 / $4.99 to £69.99 / $99.99.

They have a lot of in game uses. You can spend them bit by bit to generate belief. This is useful when you run short by a small amount in finishing some landscaping and don't want to wait for your followers to generate more.

You can also use them to buy sticker packs for your resource cards and wheat for your fields. But these upgrades are rarely good enough to be worth the money.

Godus is pretty passive with selling its IAPs. You can get a lot done in the game with patience alone. Investment is for the seriously impatient only.
But all this is fundamentally still a grand game of god-gardening.

That sense of glorified farming gets worse when you discover that the next set of mechanics deals with agriculture. You can instruct your followers to grow grain, mine ore, or just breed to gain more resources for expansion.

But to make farms you still have to flatten land, your finger smoothing over the map like some holy steamroller.

Swimming slowly

There is at least a hint of something a little richer in the game once you reach the point of resource gathering. But it takes a lot of time to get there.

The pace crawls along like the lazy currents in the tropical bays around your promised land.

There are little rewards to try and spur you on. Often these come in the form of technology cards that you win for repairing shrines and temples.

Before you can make use of these, you must discover matching stickers from chests which are often buried in the landscape.

Even these small advances are drip fed to you slower than you need them. And few make any real difference to the game play, or add much in the way of depth.

It's still all about shaping the land. The pace is occasionally broken by a voyaging mini-game but even that boils down to landscaping. Albeit with the added annoyance of watching your minions stumble through atrocious pathfinding routines while a timer ticks down.

Swimming nowhere

It's not all bad. The game looks and sounds deliciously inviting. And, like much of Molyneux's work, it possesses a certain quirky charm.

With its simplistic gameplay and timer-based resources it can be kind of fun to second-screen it while you're half-watching something on TV.

But in the end Godus is a flawed and meandering experience which goes to a lot of effort to achieve very little. As a game it's vaguely interesting, but not especially entertaining. And there is, perhaps, no worse criticism you can make of a game than that.
Reviewer photo
Matt Thrower | 11 August 2014
An imaginative, lovely looking game that somehow conspires to render godhood dull and repetitive
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Aug 2014
Post count:
MDSNESGB | 22:24 - 14 August 2014
Molyneaux ruined this one. It is a typical freemium game, you love it ... pay more to get further ... than you hate it. Thanks Molyneaux!
Aug 2011
Post count:
Pistols | 21:12 - 13 August 2014
Really not much of the game. Been playing it in between the timers to get a feel for it and it's a collection of taps with very little else. No freedom to build, raise and lower land as you please. The list is endless. How on earth Molypoo goes from populous in the late eighties to this is quite incredible. I would be furious if I had been a kick starter supporter. I wouldn't be interested in anything the loony and his 22 cans comrades have to offer in the future.
Oct 2013
Post count:
Raymond Holmes | 23:02 - 12 August 2014
I played it on mobile, and since I enjoyed the gameplay, so I bought the $20 PC early access version. What a mistake. It's exactly the same, with hardly any change. The pacing is fine for mobile, but not for a full premium game, even one that is still in beta. I'm still enjoying the mobile version (easier to pickup and put down), but not the PC one.
May 2013
Post count:
@glucero0 | 21:02 - 11 August 2014
What's sad is Molyneaux promised this wouldn't be the typical F2P and then he delivered precisely what we didn't want. Yes, a premium game would have been fine. And actually, as a backer I would have liked an option to get in the Beta (which is what this is, no doubt) without spending a dime.
Aug 2014
Post count:
@MrMediocrity | 19:04 - 11 August 2014
I completely agree with the review. I was really looking forward to this, but the painfully slow drip of rewards and slowly accumulating belief (the game's currency) - I end up "playing" for about two minutes then putting my iPad down for an hour or two, rinse and repeat.

I would have enjoyed this game MUCH more if it would have cost $5 or $10 but had none of the 'freemium' pay-to-win annoyances.

It's a shame; I was really looking forward to this since I heard about it a couple months ago.
Feb 2014
Post count:
Khaya Lamu | 18:34 - 11 August 2014
From reading the comments and seeing the score of PG,I'm thinking this game would've made more success if it were a premium game.I was looking forward to playing this but after seeing this I'm thinking that I should stay away from this game.

Dear Dev's,
Please make premium games not pay2win games.I know F2P benefits more than premium games but please we as users also want some good past time.If you make F2P make it right,in a way that players can actually have some good time without paying money meaning don't push players to give thousands of money into a game.If they like your game they will surely contribute some.

May 2009
Post count:
chanandler | 17:10 - 11 August 2014
Ahh yes, the game about converting gorgeous sculpted landscapes into flat areas to build house upon! Maybe one day Molyneux will actually deliver a few of the promises he loves making because quite honestly, this game sucks big old donkey balls!
Feb 2014
Post count:
@rncry | 16:09 - 11 August 2014
"Investment is for the seriously impatient only."

I must be REALLY impatient... I've got as far as building settlements and farms, and now pretty much the only thing I can do in the game is wait... most of the timers are now measured in hours rather than minutes, and the primary currency (belief) gets used up in about 2 minutes whenever I come back and try and play. It's not even pay to win.. it's pay to play.
Jan 2010
Post count:
curtisrshideler | 15:49 - 11 August 2014
I've never wanted to be a god less than I do now after just reading about this one.