Old school platforming arrives on Switch but probably should have stayed away. Cast of Seven Godsends – The FNGR GNS Review;
I love a bit of old-school gaming thanks to the likes of the Super Nintendo, I was bought up on them. When I was offered the chance to review Cast of the Seven Godsends I kind of jumped at the chance because as you can see from the screens below, it bears a lot of similarities to the famous Ghost & Goblins.
So with Seven Godsends, we have a side-scrolling shooting platform game that features a knight (for a king in this case) who fires daggers and all manner of other objects to dispatch the many foes that await you on your journey. Like I said. it’s very similar to Ghost & Goblins.
One of the main differences is, where G&G had a half decent story (for the time at least) Godsend doesn’t really have one. Well, it does but it’s a throwaway thing, told via dialogue and simple cutscenes. It is, of course, the tried and tested story. The Kingdom of Dareca is about to fall to Emperor Zaraaima. Prince Kandar decides he doesn’t like that idea too much and goes off to do something about it. However, he dies, his son gets kidnapped so the Gods decide to resurrect Kandar so he can go off and die again and again. And again. It’s a basic story to set the game up, but I imagine most of you will be rushing through most of it. Especially considering the amount of spelling and grammatical errors within. I mean if I can spot them (ask Sean and Ross the turmoil they have to go through with regards to my spelling and typos) then they must be pretty bad. Kind of shocking really.
Story aside, a game like this thankfully doesn’t really rely on them too much so let’s talk about the gameplay which fares a little better. Just.
The first thing you’ll notice is that you don’t know what you’re doing. For a game that has the most basic control scheme of just two buttons (Action and Jump) there is little to tell you what else is going on. You can pick up items to help you on your journey but does the game tell you what they do? nope. You just walk over something and have no clue if it’s going to kill you or help you. It’s all a bit shrug and meh. There is also no rhyme or reason to when these weapons or upgrade containing orbs will appear, it’s all very secretive. Each weapon has their plus and minuses. The sword has barely any reach for example where the throwing cross will have a high throwing arc. It would be nice if Seven Godsends had a secondary weapon slot so you could use some tactics. but it’s one weapon and one weapon only The worst part of the random orb encounters mentioned earlier is that if you’re stuck with a weapon that doesn’t suit your playing style, you’re stuck with it, unless you decide to explore every inch of the level in the hope a hidden chest decides to reveal itself. For a game that’s quite fast-paced, this is quite a clunky mechanic.
To complement the various weapons, there are some God powers, which bless you with the power of one of the seven Gods. These generally appear once per level in a muddle of orbs and flashing colours, which at first offers a glimpse of something more interesting to come. However, you don’t get to experiment enough due to their rarity and the short levels
The other part of the game, when you’re not shooting hell beasts is the platforming, and for the most part, it holds up very well. If it is just a little basic. jumping is precise and the buttons and movement responsive. Very important things in a game like this. The one thing that does crop it’s ugly head more often than I would like is the dreaded leaps of faith. For the uninitiated, that’s when you have to do a jump but can’t see if there is a platform coming below or not. This was a curse of 16-bit platforms from back in the day. I thought this has been eradicated like diphtheria, but I guess I was wrong.
SevenGod sends is not an easy game either, there are four difficulty modes, and three credits (yes credits, remember those?) and even on easy it will hand you a damn good spanking if you don’t keep on your toes. Unfortunately, some of this difficulty comes from unfair game design and nasty cheap shots. Each level is punctuated by a boss fight, some of which are very hard, and are the purveyors of aforementioned cheap shots, leaving you to pulling your hair out at how unfair they are at times. I don’t mind a challenge if it’s a challenge, but I hate a challenge if it’s clearly unfair.
When SevenGod sends gets everything right you can platform your way through the levels and shoot the ghouls with satisfying pleasure and it feels great. The trouble is it doesn’t happen that often. When you’re not rhythmically jumping and shooting, you’re either trying to figure out what to do or shout at your Switch in sheer frustration at the cheap shots.
Overall the Cast of the Seven Godsends isn’t terrible, there is much to be applauded for the small team that made the game. The trouble is, it’s all just a bit basic. A bit forgettable. Eventually, after a few playthroughs, you’ll kind of just ‘get it’ and all the trial and error moments will be remembered to make the next play through a bit more of a smoother experience. The trouble is, one playthrough is enough, it’s just a bit of a none event so it’s unlikely you’ll go back for more, and I’m not sure that you would want to. 2D platform games are everywhere at the moment and many of them are much more fun than this, and I would recommend you try one of those.
Cast of the Seven Godsends is available now on Switch (reviewed), PS4, PC and Xbox One
Developer: Raven Travel Studios
Publisher: Merge Games
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a review code from the publishers. For our full review policy, please go here.