What in the Gods?
I play a lot of Android games, and I think it’s safe to say that most of them are mediocre at best. Occasionally I come across a game that, while it seems to have most of the elements required for a winning gameplay experience, it somehow falls short. That’s the situation I find myself in while attempting to review developer 6waves’ strategy title Gods Mobile.
It’s a beautiful game. Let’s get that out of the way. The graphics are unquestionably the strong point of Gods Mobile. They’re mostly static images with lighting effects and slight animations added on, but that doesn’t diminish the impact. Unfortunately, graphics can’t make up for other areas in which the title is lacking. I had a really hard time forcing myself to play this game. Whenever it was time to sit down and dig in for a bit, I dragged my feet, procrastinated, found something more interesting to do like cleaning the toilet. And it’s because the game just isn’t fun.
I’m not a strategy game novice; I’m by no means an expert either. With a little handholding in the beginning and some tooltips, I can usually find my way. Gods Mobile has the questionable habit of holding only the tips of your fingers, slightly leading but not really. While you’re told what to do at nearly every turn, it’s never fully explained why. Some things are obvious, but I always felt a bit befuddled. It was only upon stumbling across a text guide while randomly clicking icons that I realized I had inadvertently signed up for a community college course with required reading. I exited, fully intending to come back later. Alas, I never found the guide again. It’s buried somewhere in a menu. Admittedly, I didn’t look very hard.
So What’s Good?
Gods Mobile is simply missing some intangible element, some mystical alchemical formulation that creates fun. I can’t put my finger on it. As with many mobile games, Gods Mobile has fallen victim to the pitfalls of trying to cram an established genre into a more simplified form for portable devices. That means many of the elements that make a strategy game compelling and tactical have been removed to some degree. In their place are too many menu options piled on top of one another, too many items whose use is never really clear, a complicated and convoluted interface that keeps you from efficiently accomplishing tasks.
I found myself relying heavily on the half-baked tutorials and handholding to muddle my way through. But at the same time, that eliminates the autonomy that is integral to a successful strategy game. You need to feel like you’re achieving something thanks to your wit and skill. It’s important to believe that your decisions have an impact, that your choice to specialize in archery rather than diplomacy makes a difference. And that’s taken out of your hands in Gods Mobile because you don’t really need to figure things out, despite my desire to do so. The game tells you what to build, when to build it, when to engage in battle. Perhaps there is less guidance as you progress further. If that’s the case, woe to the unwary gamer who finds themselves tossed into the fray without any real understanding of how to play.
Also, in perusing the in-app store, it seems that game progression weighs heavily in favor of those willing to fork over a little cash. You obtain the more powerful Gods through in-app purchases. Defense shields are rarely looted and must be purchased using in-game currency that’s acquired with real money, etc.
Get a Load of This
A major, recurrent issue that I had with Gods Mobile were the unbelievably long loading times. Occasionally, the game would launch almost instantly. More often than not, it took anywhere from 5 to 50 minutes to load. When you only have an hour to play, losing a large chunk of that time to loading is exasperating. Upon reading comments from other players on the game’s Google Play Store page, I learned that other people also experienced this loading problem, but it wasn’t widespread. That doesn’t, however, make it less worth mentioning.
Perhaps some of these crazy load times were due to game updates, but a player has no way to know this. The screen always simply says, “Almost there, please wait.” Thankfully, after the most recent weekly maintenance, it seems that the loading problem may have mysteriously resolved itself. But due to this issue, I don’t believe that I made significant progress in Gods Mobile. I fought a few battles, got attacked by other players, joined an Alliance, participated in a City Capture event. However, my whole experience was marred by the frustration of almost never getting to play when I wanted to.
Other than the critiques mentioned above, Gods Mobile appeared promising in the beginning, despite not being entirely engaging. It was useful for passing the time in the short and occasional spurts when I got to play. It may be worth a try, but be aware that your mileage may vary.
Is It Hardcore?
Not sure, really.
Gods Mobile might be a compelling and interesting strategy title. My frequent inability to launch the game has me uncertain if I even got past the tutorial. So if fun exists in this game, I never got to see it.