How do you review a game, which does not even have a fully populated Wikipedia page: by playing it of course? For the past 3 days, I have poured in excess of 12 hours into Apotheon. Not because it was something I had to do. But because, once I started playing the game, I kept coming back for more. Apotheon is fun to play, with some silly mechanics, and a very good core story.
First and foremost, Apotheon is no God Of War. While God Of War was grand, visceral and cinematic. Apotheon is small, neat and fun. Both games sit very highly in two very different schools of game making. Both these games might have the same undertone, but that’s where the similarity end. It’s not to say a Kratos skin for the game won’t be an awesome idea. Just saying!!!
The game starts off with the Olympian gods (under the order of Zeus) retiring to Mount Olympus, leaving the humans below to die in face of famine, earthquakes, floods and other calamities. Not all gods are happy with the decision though, and you play as Nikanderos, a hero chosen by Hera, to challenge those gods and strip them of their powers one by one.
(+) Archeological Platforming
Apotheon is a 2D side scrolling game developed by Alien Trap studios. The art style of the game borrows heavily from Greek calligraphy; so at times it looks like as if the game is taking place on Greek pottery, even the character sprites are Greek stick figures. This makes the game instantly recognizable and identifiable with the Greek mythos. It isn’t a small game either. All levels are multi-layered, both horizontally and vertically. With missions spread across various locations, which provide similar structure but look different; Apotheon offers a pleasantly surprising variety of level design.
(+) The Perfect Mix
This level design along with a pretty neat map overlay encourages exploration. There are hardly any places which require you to be amazingly precise with your platforming, which in turn make rage quits less frequent. Apart from the sunken ship mission, none of the puzzles are so tough that you might want to skip the part. Most of the collectible are marked clearly on the map, and it’s visually easy to spot hidden areas. The pace of the game isn’t so demanding either allowing you to explore an area completely before pursuing the main mission. This is what makes Apotheon such a good game. I never felt bogged down, or clearing a level just for the sake of it. Neither did I feel overwhelmed by the amount of distractions present in the game. The trophy unlocks was also perfectly paced, and gave me a sense of progress even when I was not completing the single player. A perfect mix.
Combat in Apotheon is not precision based either, and it turns out that it’s amazingly fun. While trying to hit someone you need to consider the distance between them and you, because only if they are at the tip of your weapon will they be hurt. This results in continuous movement during battle, trying to adjust to a perfect range to attack from. Then there is collision detection, which is as funny as it’s strange. Some attacks will just launch you into totally unrealistic volleys sometimes even throwing you into places, which were earlier un reachable. While most times it’s hilarious, it can get a bit frustrating sometimes, when you get thrown off a ledge multiple times, or when a loot chest lands up in limbo.
(+) Puzzles Done Right
That’s not where variety ends though. The standard mission structure involves you completing 3 sub-missions before you can move on to the boss battle. While they are more of a standard fare with some platforming and some killing, most boss battles are different. Battle with Zeus involves using his own lightning bolts against him, while the battle against Artemis involves playing a game of hunt. It keeps the game going never making it feel too monotonous, or like we say too Destiny.
(-) Tactical Flaws
Apotheon, is not without its flaws though. The game crashed multiple times during my play through on the PS4; sometimes thrice in an hour. This was especially frustrating when I was going to land a killing blow on a boss, or was just completing one of the tougher puzzles. There are trophy glitches too, making some trophies un-obtainable. For a person who was on a platinum run this weekend, it can be really irritating. Of course Alien Trap are in the process of rolling out patches; and they are not game breaking in any sense of the word. But these niggles, mar an otherwise very fun game.
|(+) Well paced
||(-) Glitched Trophies
|(+) Interesting Story
||(-) Frequent Crashes
|(+) Excellent Level Design
For an individual game, Apotheon is worth its price tag of $20 on Steam. For a free game on PlayStation Plus, this game is a steal.
I recommend Apotheon to anyone, who enjoys some old school platforming without the crushing difficulty.