By Kevin "Methodone89" van Dongen on February 18, 2015
With the new PS Plus February line-up comes an amazing game called Apotheon, which (to be honest with you) I normally wouldnít have bought. But since itís free, I couldnít help but give it a go. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed at all. Boy, was I in for a surprise!
In Apotheon you play as humanityís last champion. You must pass through the land of the dead, infiltrate Mount Olympus, and end the wrath of the Gods. With sword, spear, and shield in hand, you will sneak, conspire, loot, and battle your way through majestic palaces and chthonic depths as you climb towards godhood. Only by stripping the old gods of their powers and taking control of the elements to use as you see fit, can humanity hope to survive the coming oblivion.
Apotheon is Toronto based Alien Trapís second commercial game, following the success of 2D sci-fi action platformer Capsized. They wanted to try something a little different, and a little more aspirational. Greek mythology and the classical Hero story arc are the foundation of many pieces of Western literature and entertainment. Its fantastical gods, monsters, and iconic characters have appeared in (or formed the basis of) countless works of art.
The Story in Apotheon is not a story that stays with you for a lifetime and feels like itís not that big of a deal, while other franchises made a huge story around their protagonist in ancient Greece, Apotheon doesnít deliver on that front, all that is known is that you, Nikandreos, have to reach mount Olympus to save yourself and the ones you care about. Youíll have to steal the power of the gods. Every god has its own levels and you can visit them in any order you like. This gives the game a bit of an open world feel. That being said, there is quite a lot of side info put into Apotheon, you can learn a lot about the ancient Greeks and their ways.
The black and red figure art of Greek pottery is almost the perfect art style for a 2D game. It is bold and instantly readable. I like this style a lot, mainly because itís simple contains a lot of subtle details. The game really feels like youíre watching a Greek pottery exhibition, where you and you alone create the content featured on it. This art style suits the side scroll adventure game really well and for me the style is the biggest plus in this game. Every level has a great unique design and feels great.
The battle system feels both old and new, while the controls are frustrating and sometimes feel kind of awkward, it also has a deep combat system which I like a lot. You have different weapon types, with different range and damage scale. You can use a short sword or a spear, and it feels different every time you switch between different weapon types. The only thing is, switching between weapon types is absolute hell, so youíll die more often than not while trying to equip the weapon you want to use at the moment. With Apotheon being a platformer normally the platform part would be the main focus, sadly enough Apotheon lacks in this department the controls feel sticky and sometimes itís just not doable to control our friend Nikandreos. I had issues with multiple of the platforming sections, resulting in Nikandreos not jumping when I really needed him to. After a few of these mishaps, I developed a hate for Nikandreos which I hadnít have with any game-character before.
While Apotheon has limited story and sometimes frustrating controls, the combat felt great and was refreshing. The thing I liked most about Apotheon was the art and level design. This game is gorgeous in more ways than one. I wouldnít mind seeing a next installment of Apotheon with a slightly better story and gameplay, but with the same amazing artwork. So good people of Alien Trap, if you want to change things in a next installment, please feel free to do so. But please, for the love of Zeus, keep the art exactly as awesome as it is now!
February 3, 2015