Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
True confession: I probably never would have picked up Apotheon on its own. It’s a hybrid ARPG / platformer – and we all know how I feel about platforming games in general. However, I picked it up as part of a Humble Bundle back in December, and because of my love of all things having to do with ancient mythologies, decided to give it a try.
And I’m really glad I did. Apotheon has a really interesting art style, with fantastic music and ambient sounds that complement it pretty perfectly. Watching the campaign intro made me really want to play through just to look at it, but soon I was sucked in by the story (something that rarely happens for me in ARPGs or platforming games).
You play as Nikandreos, a young Grecian warrior, in a time where the gods have abandoned the mortal world. Your village is under attack from invaders, and you are thrown into the fray in a pretty well-structured tutorial level. The game introduces you to most of the core concepts via a handful of quests, and once you’ve completed all the objectives, you’re given a mission to kill the leader of the raiders. Mind you, this is just the beginning, because once you finish him off – and for me, even the tutorial boss battle was no joke – you get to have a little chat with Hera.
Yep, you get tasked with kicking the crap out of Zeus. I’m so in. It’s hard to tell how long the campaign runs – but if you really explore, you will find side quests, and I feel like there’s going to be plenty to do and see.
The typical ARPG conventions exist here. You can break a lot of the scenery, something I discovered by accident, but because of the 2D graphics it’s hard to know what’s breakable and what’s a flat part of the background. There’s money (which I haven’t discovered where I can spend), and a very very light crafting system. Loot seems to be sparser than in your average ARPG, but pick up all the weapons you can – you don’t seem to be limited by inventory space, and I’m not sure if I keep breaking stuff, or losing it, but having extras already seems like a helluva good idea.
The only downside I have found so far is that the controls feel … odd. You use WASD to move, but your character will always face your mouse pointer. I ran backwards for quite awhile before I figured that one out. Combat often feels like it requires more precision than the control scheme allows; you have to time your attacks, and aim, and be ready with a shield to block incoming projectiles, and it’s a lot for what basically amounts to 2 button combat. Apotheon is controller-compatible, but the default mouse & keyboard control scheme have throwing weapons bound to the middle mouse button; if you don’t have a middle mouse button, you may have to do some rebinding from the get go.
This is definitely a game I will play more of. I want to go toe to toe with the Olympian gods on their turf. I will struggle with the control scheme because I want to experience the story. Not everyone will be so captivated as to be willing to struggle with it, and I can’t vouch for the replay value (I’m expecting little to none). It does come with online and local multiplayer, so that will add value for folks who like that sort of thing. Personally, I think I’m just going to bumble through it alone.