Cast of the Seven Godsends. Quite the title. But what exactly is it? Well, if you are the wrong side of 30, and have been a gamer for a couple of decades, you may remember a game Ghouls & Ghost or Ghosts & Goblins. A side scrolling affair, which was one of the most vicious games in terms of difficulty. Enter Raven Travel Studios with their homage to one of my favourite games ever. Yes it is a retro game, maybe not so with the music, but everything else about it screams retro. This is a game I had not heard of until a couple of days before release, but how glad am I that I did? The answer is very glad.
Six levels, each with a boss, and a mid level boss. Throw in a ton of enemies bent on your demise, magical armour, a varied selection of weapons, and well designed levels, and you have what is one of the most enjoyable Indie games of the Summer. Only 6 levels I hear you cry? Well, yes. Only 6, but a word of warning…it is far from easy. Even when you get the magical armours and better weaponry. The game has been designed to test you, and test you it does. Hard but not unfair, it presents a stiff challenge that if you try hard enough, you will be rewarded with access to the next level. Learn the movement patterns and you will figure it out. Just the execution of your movements around the bad guys and possible traps is next to master.
The game has no voice acting, and instead goes through the story with text as it used to do back in the good old days. The story is, 7 Gods are there to aid you in rescuing your child, and preventing the evil Emperor Zaaraima from gaining control of Dareca. A bit cliche, but you just cant resist a game that does it all so well. There are 4 difficulties to try out, including Retro Gamer. 35 magic combat spells and 5 weapons according to the blurb. So plenty of cool stuff to search out.
I did find the button layout awkward for myself, with A being shoot and X or B for jump. It just felt wrong for me, and I died a lot because of this. Took some time to get used too that’s for sure. No option to change the layout either which is a shame and a let down. Not a big one though. But something that would have been a great help for those who like to adjust their control schemes before they play. The difficulty may put some people off, as you will die quite regularly at first if you are a more casual gamer. You do get continues if you lose all your lives, so you can carry on from a check point. However in level 2 there is no checkpoint that I found between the start and mid level boss. So die, and it is back to the beginning of the level for you. This was even on easy. Retro Gamer didn’t change the difficulty much that I was aware of. With only 6 levels, the game is undeniably short, and in this day and age, a game really does deserve to have enough content to warrant a purchase, especially if you have limited funds and want to buy a game. Not saying this is a bad game, just a few little niggles that have dropped the final score.
Game play is fun and easy to use once you become accustomed to the controls. You get all the relevant information before you start play, so you know exactly what you’re doing. The game offers you a “just one more go” mentality, and you will be ready to rage as you die in silly way once again, but you feel more determined to advance, that you respawn and give it one more go. The art and visuals are impressive for a retro inspired game, full of colour, and an old school animation.
The music is enjoyable and fits in well with the game. It’s not your 8 bit era tune, but a lot more modern. Raven Travel have gone for something totally unexpected here, as I was prepared for something along the lines of a Mega Man score than what is actually coming through your TV. I was satisfied with this department, as no doubt many others will be.
Those that care about their Gamerscore/Achievements will be in for a treat, with many of the games 42 achievements, worth just 1 point. Personally, I will say do not worry about that. As the game has a decent story, and Ghost & Goblins inspired combat to let you reminisce about the games of yesteryear, and how brutal they were. It may not be as hard as the game that inspired the creation of Cast of the Seven Godsends, but in a way that is a good thing. After all, you don’t want a game that is so hard that people avoid buying it.Make sure you have an understanding of how hard these old school games can be though. This is the type of game that is going to receive far more attention from people in their 30’s than teenagers. Not that I mean that in any exclusive way, but the target market is the older generations with no doubt what so ever.
The score in’t as high as it could have been, with a few notable mentions above. By no means a bad game though, and one worthy of a purchase. If like me you hold a place in your heart for that games that inspired the Retro themed games that are prevalent in the ID@Xbox Community. Plenty to choose from, and I for one feel spoiled for choice. Given I want so many games, but do not have the time to buy or play them. But consider this game, perhaps watch some game play footage, or wait for a sale. Either way, whatever you decide to do, at least give Cast of the Seven Godsends a chance, you may just like it.
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