Godus is a Kickstarter success story designed by Peter Molyneux and toted to be the spiritual successor to Populous. One certainly gets the feeling when you get into the game. In short, it’s a god game where you manipulate the terrain in order to create surfaces of appropriate size for you people to build houses. In the beginning, sculpting the land is a royal pain-in-the-ass. It’s not so much as choosing to raise or lower the terrain as the original Populous games. Terrain is now comprised of several layers which must be individually manipulated and quite frequently, you’ll grab the wrong one. You do have a method of adding terrain or getting rid of it by double right-clicking or left, but this can affect an area larger than what you’ve intended. Also, making stairs in the terrain for your people to travel to higher areas can be a right pain. As you advance in the game, you’ll be able to sculpt cliffs and manipulate multiple layers of terrain at once. This is slow and suffers the same problems in that you’ll make mistakes.
In the early stages of the game, your useable map is limited. You must find expansion shrines for your followers to pray, or meet certain population goals which will sometimes reward you with a land expansion card. You dig up resources which are needed for various civilisation advancements, gradually progressing through the ages. These advancements will unlock larger houses for your people, the ability to mine, and eventually farm. In many ways, this really is a lot like populous, but with more annoying terrain manipulation and a tech tree.
Camera control is terrible. I’m just gonna throw that in right now. You can rotate your view to get a better angle on something, but should you need to alter the position of the camera after that, finding what you want to look at too far away, your camera will automatically reset to the default view. It can get very irritating. Especially when doing a challenge. When it’s a race against time to complete a goal, the last thing you want to be doing is fighting against controls the AI is unhindered by.
And speaking of further hindrances, let’s talk about belief. Belief is your currency which you spend to manipulate terrain and use your god powers. Every house generates belief in real-time. That’s right, -real- time. The smaller houses generate in minutes and the larger ones in hours. Building also happens in real-time with level 6 abodes taking 12 hours. This isn’t something felt in the early game. You’ll spend so many hours working on terrain, the time just flies by. However, once you’ve hit the stage where I’m at and dealing with farming, you’ll want all those hours back.
There is an option, should you not want to wait out the hours to earn belief, have a house built, or a shrine activated. You can spend premium currency. There are gems you can mine or win from AI multiplayer challenges to speed up things as well as buy resource cards. There’s not in-game premium shop to buy more gems, but I expect it’s coming. And if you’re liking this game and wanting to play it, I suggest you save all your gems for settlements. Towns are the only things capable of creating farms and your only way to advance your civilisation later one. Your first few cost belief, but then they’ll take 70 gems a pop. If you don’t have a lot of settlements, you will have your advancement crawl to unbearable days. This is where we see where the pay wall will be.
Of course, the slow farming is just the one method which will be used to earn our money when the pay shop gets implemented. You’ve run out of land, run out of resources to dig up, and the only way to get more are AI challenges. … or spend gems to buy them. I don’t know if you earn resource cards in multiplayer battles. That is an area I did not venture.
I want to like this game, but I can’t. I am livid that I contributed to a game that is destined to be pay-to-win. I should have seen that coming with real-time progress timers. It’s clearly targeting all your mobile and filthbook game addicts. It saddens me. I’ve wanted a new Populous for a long time, which is why I jumped all over this. As time progresses and the beta gets updated, it moves further and further away from what I wanted and expected to get. That’s just wrong and I feel cheated.