Review: Tabletop Gods is a Colorful War of Gods
Ghost Fish Games’ Tabletop Gods fashions you as a god, facing off against another god. You are both waging a proxy war from the heavens, with demons, humans and the undead as your pawns. It’s a highly stylized, colorful war where battles decided by dueling deities.
Tabletop Gods was obviously built with VR in mind. It’s almost like a phone game in its simplicity, making it extremely easy to pick up and learn. Each of the three rounds of combat consists of a build-phase, where you can fortify your side, tower defense style—and a combat phase, where units fight each other, and attempt to take down the opposition’s towers. The goal is to keep your towers standing while crumbling your foes’ towers.
There are three factions to play as, each with their own unique units. There are the Humans, Undead and the Demons. The factions don’t mirror each other, so playing as different factions gives you an arsenal that is unique from the others.
There are three different maps, each with different layouts and themes based on the three factions. The different layouts don’t seem significant at first, but they have a good mixture of high ground, impassible areas, and chokepoints to give each a unique set of challenges.
Tabletop Gods mixes real time strategy and tower defense elements, but it’s a little more tower defense than RTS. Just because you’re a god doesn’t mean you can alter your troops’ free will. You can choose the location you want and units you spawn, but after they spawn, you don’t directly control where they go or who they fight.
Each unit you deploy during the battle phase has a cost. The amount of unit types is limited by spaces on the quick bar, though that usually only means swapping out one unit type for another, as the selection is vast. You can swap between different unit types in multiplayer and skirmish modes, but you’re forced to use what you’re given in most challenge levels.
Being a smart tactician and keeping your units alive mean they can fight harder for you. The units level up the more they kill, so successful strategies also pay off with more able combatants. If those ranked up units are lost, when you redeploy them, they’ll maintain their highest rank, keeping it through all three rounds.
While Tabletop Gods is pretty simple, and easy to pick up, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a depth to the strategies you can employ. You can placed ranged units on high ground to lob missiles at melee units below, or send waves of melee troops down one lane while sending your larger, tower destroying beasts down another. It’s not going to be the next Starcraft by any means, but it also doesn’t appear to try to be.
While the build and combat phases are implemented well, I wish they were more robust. The build phase severely limits you in what you can place, and how many. I can usually put down a turret or two and a spike trap before I’m out of resources. If there’s a way to stockpile resources through gameplay, I couldn’t discover it.
You can play alone, or against the AI through single round skirmishes, or play through the “campaign” of challenges. This isn’t so much a tutorial, but it does ease you into the game’s mechanics. Unfortunately, there isn’t an actual tutorial, through there are videos you can watch to get you up to speed. Playing against a human opponent is always more thrilling and less predictable, but the AI is surprisingly fun to play against, and threw a few surprises at me as I played through the campaign.
VR is implemented well, and it looks like the way Tabletop Gods is “meant” to be played, though it’s certainly playable without a VR headset. Playing in VR is fun, but didn’t add anymore to the experience than the usual sense of “presence.” You are, effectively, still standing over a board game and still manipulating pieces, so it doesn’t change too much of the experience.
The best thing about the VR implementation is that you don’t need VR to play with a friend playing in VR. You can even play Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive if you want with its cross platform ability.
There are masks to collect, which changes the way your avatar appears. In current VR fashion, your avatar is just a floating mask about the play space. Most masks are unlocked based on your current level, though there are other ways to get them. You can attain masks through limited time challenges, too.
Tabletop Gods, as I said, won’t be the next big competitive real-time strategy game, but it hardly tries to be. It’s colorful, and easy to pick up. If you play primarily VR games and are looking for your next fix, Tabletop Gods is a suitable time waster.
Tabletop Gods is available now on Steam.
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