At some point in point in our lives, we've all wondered what it feels like to be a god. The desire for power and influence is but a human attribute. The question that stands out, however, is what kind of deity would each of us be? Strong and lawful, like Tyr the Lawgiver from the Norse pantheon, or maybe something more destructive and chaotic, similar to Ares, the Ancient Greek God of War. The truth of it is, we don't know those answers because we are mere mortals and not the products of godly heritage, but it doesn't mean we can't simulate these circumstances.
The latest title from Abbey Games, the developer of Reus, gives players the job of creating and guiding their own religion. Godhood, as it is called, is a turn-based simulation where you are a new and upcoming deity looking to secure your place in the hearts and souls of man. By choosing your beliefs and showing your subjects a path to greatness, you must rise through the ranks until none can oppose your strength as the most powerful god of all (or, at least, in the tribal world).
When beginning, players have a diverse set of customisation options to create their god in their own image. For us, we decided to embrace the void, channelling our inner Lovecraft, creating a deity in the image of Cthulhu, Master of Darkness. With the expansive selection of choices available, it was no difficulty at all creating an octopus-like figure in a deep shade of green, with ominous dark wings imposing behind it. After this, we named our god, believers and religion before selecting our virtues.
This process, unlike god creation, has a direct influence on how the game plays. In the virtue selection, for example, players can choose one of six (in total, two being locked at the start) that determine how your religion and believers should operate. In our play-through, we decided to follow the tradition of darkness, picking War as our main virtue, excelling our believer's ability to engage in physical combat. If our ominous approach is not your style, the option to pick Peace is there too, making believers more proficient in certain kinds of attacks or alternatively, you can differentiate between multiple styles as Godhood offers the option of multiple games saves at the same time.
After the quite extensive creation process is finished, one more decision needs to be made, which is game length. Godhood currently has three options to pick from, and players can choose to have a short (100 turns), normal (200 turns) or long (400 turns) game, depending on how much time they wish to spend with their religion. It's worth noting as well, this doesn't mean 100 turns for a short play-through, it means three times that, as each year has three seasons in the world of Godhood.
Once we finally make it in, we must begin developing our religion by gaining new followers and levelling our current ones. This is where the title starts to become less variable and truthfully a little monotonous. Each turn sees three disciples of your choice do a job, of which more become available as your cult progresses but you're still limited to around six available tasks. These may bring new worshippers to your cult or likewise generate some fanatics or offerings for upgrading buildings within your camp.
During each turn, as well as having disciples do chores, you can engage in a Sacrament that is essentially an act of war against rival tribes and cults. To do so, you bring up the world map and figure out where you can attack, depending on what you've already conquered and discovered. The combat in Godhood, whilst not directly playable, is where this game excels. You select the disciples you wish to send to war based on stats and their classes, similar to how you'd pick a Pokémon depending on the type you face. For example, if an enemy is of the Ancestral class (meaning they may be a Rage Prophet who becomes stronger as they take damage), they will resist damage from Life classes but suffer more to Divine types. Therefore, to combat this and succeed in the battle, you should send a Divine class to engage them.
The exchange of types doesn't necessarily determine the outcome of a fight, since you also need to consider disciple levels - which, can be increased through Sacrament experience - plus the other classes in combat and the potential for critical attacks that deal extra damage. This, on top of the fact you can't control who attacks who from your team, means combat is quite heavily influenced by RNG (randomly generated occurrences), meaning you will win some fights you shouldn't and lose even more. To bring down the effect of luck, you can customise the abilities your disciples use, however, this still doesn't determine that they will attack the enemy you want them too, which can be frustrating.
As well as levelling up your disciples, you will level as a god as more followers join your following. In fact, this is the path to victory, as once you reach god level 10, you "win the game." Each level as a god will unlock new abilities and buildings to further accentuate your prominence as an immortal deity although lots of levels simply increase your religion's combat health by five points and that feels a little underwhelming for a significant gameplay checkpoint.
The art style and soundtrack for Godhood are unique, emphasising the tribal undertones of the title. Everything throughout the experience features a hand-painted style with the music being relaxing or alternatively upbeat when in combat. Together it makes for an experience that is enjoyable and calming at its forefront. Likewise, the entirety of Godhood can be played with just a left-mouse click as the only control (hotkeys are available), making for a casual play-through that's both tranquil and accessible.
To wrap-up: we'd like to mention that Godhood is in Early Access meaning some of the points we've mentioned may be subject to change. That said, whilst the game can feel hollow in places, the general base is a solid foundation for Abbey Games to develop further.