There was a time when I shied away from challenge in video games. It’s not that I wanted a guaranteed win, I just didn’t want to have to lose a bunch to get there. My mindset has changed dramatically over the years, and it seems game developers are embracing style of difficult video games, too. While there are a good number of video games out there that emphasize difficulty and the fail and retry type mentality, it’s never bad to have another one. Godstrike is certainly difficult, and touts a unique time/health mechanic that changes up the formula a little bit.
Godstrike is a twin stick bullet hell boss rush. In it, you play as Talaal—a being with a somewhat confusing backstory–who must fight their seven siblings to prevent them from absorbing your power. Honestly, I didn’t really know what was happening, or why I was doing it. All I knew was I was a tiny floating bullet shooting person trying to avoid curtains of projectiles. As a twin stick shooter, in Godstrike you move independently from the way you are aiming, giving you much needed mobility as you fight boss after boss. There are no areas to explore or secrets to uncover—just pure boss fighting goodness. The twist is, instead of health, you lose time when you are hit.
While you don’t have a conventional health bar, you have a set amount of time to defeat each boss—usually three to five minutes or so. When you get hit during the fight, some of that time in subtracted. That means you want to do damage quickly, but also avoid getting hit as to not bring the clock down to zero.
Once your time bar hits zero, you don’t die —but you are extremely vulnerable. In this mode, one hit will defeat you and you have to start the boss fight from the beginning. When you’re setting up to fight a new boss, you’re given the chance to choose different loadouts of passive and active abilities. The passive abilities can be chosen without penalty, but the active abilities require you to spend time to use them—effectively lowering your health bar.
Combat in Godstrike is addictive. It’s not the twin stick nature that’s necessarily the biggest draw, but the different combinations of abilities you can use. Unfortunately, in story mode you’re only drip fed a certain set of abilities as you defeat each boss, but in Arena mode there are plenty you can choose from from the start. Active abilities are charged by souls dropped by the boss when it’s damaged. Different abilities have a different soul cost, ranging from one to four souls. When you get a soul, you charge every ability that you have. This enables you to unleash some pretty powerful, synergistic attacks that can burn difficult bosses down in moments. But don’t think the bosses in Godstrike are easy—they definitely gave this reviewer some trouble.
Since Godstrike is a boss rush game, it’s important for it to have interesting boss encounters. It does. Each boss in Godstrike is unique, and consists of multiple phases. There are no checkpoints, so if you’re defeated on the boss’s last phase, you have to start from the beginning. Godstrike’s bosses are pretty damn tough and require some precise timing and positioning to kill without running out of time. Each fight consists of unique mechanics, so there might be a bit of learning involved before you can master each one. Once you do master the bosses, though, you can engage them in multiple different ways through the games different game modes.
Godstrike features multiple ways to play. I’d like to say that the story mode eases you into its brand of gameplay, but aside from a short tutorial, you’re really thrown into the deep end. There’s an Arena mode that allows you to choose from an array of skills not available in the story mode. There’s also a daily challenge and a challenge mode in which one death puts an end to your run. If you fail the daily challenge, you have to wait for the next day.
Godstrike is a tight game, but it’s also pretty damn short. I was able to play through it, and mess around in its various modes in one sitting—over the course of a few hours. Hopefully there are more boss encounters added, because I really enjoyed my time with Godstrike.
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