When the word “God” is used to describe the player, it demands an undeniable sense of control over every aspect of the gameplay. Unfortunately, after three years in development, Godhood has finally made its way from Kickstarter to Early Access without delivering that deep human desire for power. From indie developer Abbey Games, Godhood shows a lot of promise but still has a very long way to go to win the hearts of its supporters.
The game begins with the player customising the name, symbol, and colours of their religion. Additionally, a virtue must be chosen from a list of war, peace, lust, and chastity, which will determine what rituals will be valued within the religion. Players then spend their time managing a town filled with disciples who fight opposing religions to gain more followers. These minimal, micromanagement mechanics are almost too simple and end up feeling tedious.
What the game does well is create a lovely atmosphere. The soothing tribal sounds of the ambient music highlight the gorgeous 2D art style of the world and its inhabitants, making relaxing and disengaging with the game easy. On the other hand, gameplay leaves a lot to be desired.
At the time of writing, the gameplay is bare. Players point and click an unnecessary number of displays to command disciples and, even then, only three can be assigned tasks at a time. When sending disciples to war, the fight is left to randomisation and offers players no control over the situation, which is such a disappointment. When a game revolves around commanding followers and shaping them to your will, not being able to manage their battles in your honour is a letdown.
Godhood, basically, is a really fun, casual experience. For players after a sit-back-and-relax sort of game, this is perfect. If Godhood was a free-to-play mobile game, it would excel even further. However, Godhood comes with a USD$27 price tag in Early Access, claiming to be bigger and bolder than the currently casual experience warrants.
On the Steam page for Godhood, Abbey Games is planning to further develop the game to include additional customisation options that go beyond appearance. However, the developer does not make clear whether or not it will revise the combat. More player-influenced combat would create a much stronger experience that reflects the concept underpinning Godhood. Some in-game information such as combat weaknesses are hard to find and could be better displayed to make the gameplay smoother.
Once Godhood leaves Early Access, it will be worth players’ time but it also needs to be worth their money. If Abbey Games can implement some serious gameplay changes then the cost might be worthwhile. If the developer would rather not sacrifice its current vision, then the price needs to be reconsidered. People need to have more control over the experience in a God-like simulation to justify the expense. For now, players will have to wait and see if the developers will shift heaven and earth to deliver an experience worthy of the title Godhood.