Godus beta 2.0.4: Thoughts
reflections on 22cans’ latest update to their Kickstarter game
In this short post, I enumerate the good, the bad and the ugly about Godus 2.0.4. Don’t worry, most of this falls into the first category. Compared the last 1.x patch, there is loads more to like this time.
What is Godus?
From the Kickstarter pledge:
Populous was created over 22 years ago, and we believe that to date, nothing has come close to emulating its powerfully godlike experience. It’s this experience we aim to reimagine. GODUS blends the power, growth and scope of Populous with the detailed construction and multiplayer excitement of Dungeon Keeper and the intuitive interface and technical innovation of Black & White. The original Populous hailed from the 8-bit era but GODUS will use the most modern technology the world has to offer.
You can find Godus on Steam for both OS X and Windows, although iOS and Android will eventually be supported.
I posted a preview / rant on Google+ after playing through version 1.3.1. The update unlocked a whole new era of gameplay, but the gameplay seemed to regress.
I’ve been playing the following free-to-play pay-to-win games on my Nexus 5:
These games have me in a fairly convenient pattern: play the game for a few minutes, come back in a few hours, repeat.
Godus almost has a similar pattern, although it’s on a slightly larger scale. I play it for an hour or so: sculpting the land, establishing settlements, and directing my followers. Then I leave the computer while my followers finish their tasks.
I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It’s just … weird. I would not recommend this for someone looking for an action game, let’s put it that way.
This game already scratches my Populous itch quite well. The Voyage of Discovery mode also has a bit of a Lemmings feel to it. According to Steam, I’ve played nearly 80 hours of Godus so far. Clearly, I find the game compelling enough to lose this much time.
The pacing of the game has improved somewhat since the previous beta. The slowest part of the game is the beginning, where you lack the belief required to sculpt the land sufficiently. Once you have this under control, there’s always something to do.
Civilisation cards can be completed in any order (assuming prerequisites are met). However, this doesn’t seem like an especially meaningful one. I feel that the sticker scarcity needs to be severe enough to force strategic card choices, or the cards need to be placed in a strictly linear progression.
Related to this, I just don’t know if having us hunt or voyage for stickers is the right way to go. I wonder if expanding the professions system to allow our followers to generate the stickers for us over time wouldn’t be a nice alternative approach.
I might simply have missed it, but there isn’t an easy way to upgrade older abodes to newer ones once you’ve researched them. You have to destroy them with the Finger of God, kill any automated workers (e.g. builders, farmers, etc) to prevent them from prematurely rebuilding, clear away the rubble as necessary, then grab some builders. It’s a similarly tedious process for upgrading settlements.
The game still occasionally crashes. Worse, it can corrupt your save game so that you have to start all over again. Luckily, there are work-around instructions, which I stumbled upon via this tweet. As far as “ugly” goes, this isn’t a bad situation: a known issue with an impending fix and an interim solution.
Godus already shows loads of promise. If you like god games and don’t mind mucking about with an unfinished game, then Godus is worth a look. Even if you don’t want to play it just now, pre-ordering is a great way to support the development efforts.