One of February’s free PS4 PS+ Titles, Apotheon, has arrived after many months of radio silence. After seeing it teased some 9 months ago I had all but forgotten about this game until we got the news a few days before release. I’ll cut to the chase, you need to get your hands on this game.
Apotheon is a 2D action game; a “Metroidvania”. Rather than a combo system, Apotheon wants the player to get through its challenges using only their gumption. We’ve all seen games where by the end your character (His name is Nikandreos by the way) is completely overpowered. Apotheon kicks this trope by giving the player a simple control set and a few types of weapons. It’s up to the player to get good at using them. Mindless shooting or hack and slash this isn’t. You’ll have to figure out when the right time is to attack, what direction you should attack in, what weapons to use, and whether to shield or roll your way from danger. Gotta watch your stamina gauge too, don’t want Nikandreos getting all tuckered out and doing less damage at a slower rate.
For the first half of the game, the control system feels fair and is not a liability. In the later portion, things can go off the rails when too many enemies attack at once. The control frustration is the main reason Apotheon isn’t getting a completely perfect score, even though I loved the title. Taking down enemies generally is accompanied with the sound of a drum hit, which adds some intensity. Music in this game tends to go for atmospheric effect and it is very appropriate for the setting. Lots of strings and lots of humming; it’s great stuff. Don’t fret, the music will ramp up the tension when you enter into glorious battle though.
Apotheon has numerous hidden items, areas, and even some Gods off the main path for you to gain powers from, so never stop exploring and backtracking. You’ll be rewarded for your effort. Weapons all take damage in this game and cannot be repaired, so you may find yourself saving some of the rarer weapons for special occasions. Don’t hoard them though, you can always re-buy found weapons from shops. You can also accrue upgrades for armor which change Nikandreos’ appearance and buff his armor stat. Weapon types are varied, with five main types of hand to hand weapons. There are also quite a few varieties of shields, arrows and javelins, traps and bombs, and potions. While Nikandreos seems to always have a large assortment of tools at his disposal, that won’t guarantee success without sound tactics. After experiencing the numerous tiers of the main hand to hand weapon categories, throw some money into weapon expertise for your favorite types to gain some more damage.
The only other spear I can throw at Apotheon is for its story. With such a ridiculous built-in lore and cast of characters at your disposal, I can’t help but feel like Alien Trap could have gone a little more complicated and tried something not so…God of War inspired.
To quickly sum up the story, Nikandreos’ city is attacked and he journeys to the local temple. There, Hera, Zeus’ wife, basically says “Hey, Zeus is a cheating bastard and you should totally kill Him and all the other Gods, ya know, to save your village or something.” She then kindly transports your mortal self to Mount Olympus where you go to work hunting down Apollo, Artemis, and Demeter. One of the great many aspects about this game is that you can choose the order of which of these Gods (and their powers) you chase down. I found it a very interesting choice that each power you acquire from the Gods aren’t game changing. They are mainly small buffs that make life a little easier for you. I’m used to getting double and triple jumps and transformation spells in games like this. To get only a 25% bow reload speed increase was a huge surprise. What makes it all worth it is crumbling each God’s statue after defeating them. Each God has their own color associated with their level or levels. For example, Artemis’ forest and swamps are varying shades of green. The art style is an absolute feast for the eyes, and while I was worried the main Orange look would get old, I was super relieved to see the varying colors for each level. They’re all very striking. I could sit here and gush about the art style and overall presentation all day, but hey, go download this game and experience it for yourself.
A copy of this game was downloaded through PlayStation Plus for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Art Style
- Relying on Gumption over Powerups
What I Dislike:
- Combat can get clunky with too many enemies