Apotheon is a game that oozes style out of its digital pores. Greek mythology comes in only so many flavours in gaming, and if the God of War is like a grill grizzled steak, then Apotheon is like a Ferrero Rocher dipped in honey by comparison. It plants its feet firmly in the mythos as well, playing its narrative out like an epic, ancient tragedy of old. The hero of the story is the dubiously pronounced Nikandreos. His hometown of Dion isn’t doing so hot with the gods as of late. The fields are bare, the forests dead and the skies stuck in twilight. Soon he learns that Zeus, the big god boss, has lost faith in humans and wants them gone for good. Time to step up and take action. With the help of Hera, wife of Zeus, Nikandreos must topple the gods one by one.
Developer: Alien Trap
Release Date: Out Now
The game is a side scrolling action platformer. Getting from point A to point B is primarily the name of the game here, but there is also exploration abound, with many a branching path and secluded passageway to reward the observant player. Combat is an intricate dance, weaving in and out of enemies and timing your hits, as though it were a game of tug of war. You can take on foes with either ranged, melee or miscellaneous weapons, each with their own unique upsides and down. Knives, for instance, hit quickly and painfully but require you to get more than a little close in order to use them effectively. Spears on the other hand take longer to prime but allow you to clean up the aisle from a safe distance. Your approach simply depends on preference and the impeccably balanced difficulty, extending to the third hardest difficulty unlocked by beating the game once, means that no strategy is better than the other.
The only area where the gameplay really falters is the platforming. It controls awkwardly and clumsily, but luckily dedicated platforming segments only comprise a small portion of the adventure. The enemy variety is strong enough to keep things fresh throughout the eight-hour long campaign, but where the game truly shines is in the boss battles. Each god you tussle with, hits you with everything they’ve got and it makes for some utterly show-stopping battles. Lastly, friends can duke it out together in the multiplayer area, putting the combat mechanics to the mettle.
Indie games and art styles go together like butter and bread, but even so, you’ve never seen a game like Apotheon. The game looks like ancient hieroglyphs in motion so to speak and it is absolutely beautiful. Every character but Nikandreos is voice acted, and everybody delivers a strong performance across the board. The soundtrack is equally excellent, and in tandem with the darkly realistic portrayal of Ancient Greek storytelling and culture, makes for a haunting and poignant experience.
On the surface, Apotheon appears to be all style, no substance but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This is one of the most fun, intriguing, and stylistically provocative games to come out in a while and you’d do well to pick it up when you get the chance.