Review: Lackluster Gameplay Ruins  Aztech Forgotten Gods’ Great Premise

Screenshot: Aztech Forgotten Gods

It’s hard to write this review. I really wanted to like Aztech Forgotten Gods: It’s got style, it’s got great ideas—and it’s developed by a Mexican indie game studio that obviously has a love for its country’s history. But even with so much going for it, Aztech Forgotten Gods

Aztech Forgotten Gods is a third person action game that has you play as Achtli, an Aztech woman who gains the power of her ancestors (through a giant glove) and uses it to smash ancient gods into dust. It’s the first game I’ve ever played that really leans into the Aztech aesthetic—and not one where you’re exploring ancient ruins. The Aztec society in Aztech Forgotten Gods is one that never collapsed, and instead flourished into a modern technological society. It reminds me of the MCU’s depiction of Wakanda—it uses traditional imagery and mixes it with technological advancements. It’s a super cool premise that is, unfortunately, ruined by janky gameplay and extremely long narratively-based fetch style quests.

Screenshot: Aztech Forgotten Gods

I’d say that the main draw behind Aztech Forgotten Gods is the promise of giant boss battles. Indeed, that is the core of the gameplay in Aztech Forgotten Gods. However, the developers seemed to forget this, and added lots and lots of narrative. While the story is intriguing, it’s a little generic—especially considering its techno Aztec theme. My biggest problem with it is the pacing: after the action packed intro I had to play for almost another hour before I got a chance to fly around fighting bosses—and really, that’s what should have been the focus. Unfortunately, even the fighting and movement in Aztech Forgotten Gods manages to feel janky and unsatisfying.

Protagonist Achtli gets most of her abilities through a large glove which both serves as a weapon, and a means of travel: the glove gives her the ability to fly, Iron Man-style to fight large bosses, or explore the main city. The idea of the city is great—a city built of stone that survived since antiquity. But despite its great aesthetic, there’s not much to explore. The city acts mostly as a hub, and while it’s visually stunning, it’s mostly empty and feels dead. There are hoops to fly through that give you back energy, and buildings to gawk at—but not much beyond that. The people walking around the city hardly acknowledge you and your glove that gives you flight.

Screenshot: Aztech Forgotten Gods

While Aztech Forgotten Gods bills itself as a precision platformer, it really isn’t: you can use your glove to fly over most obstacles. There have been efforts made to make the world of Aztech feel fun to travel around in—like the aforementioned hoops, and rails to grind on—but the movement feels imprecise, and often glitches out in unexpected ways. This, unfortunately, extends to the combat, too.

Despite all of its narrative interludes, Aztech Forgotten Gods is ultimately a boss rush style game—even if it isn’t paced well. When you finally get to it, fighting most of these bosses isn’t very fun. Each has a trick, almost like a puzzle, you have to figure out to defeat it—and these are often signposted poorly. I think that’s because once you figure out how to defeat a boss, you mostly just have mash the attack button at the right points until you win, or perform other quick-time event style attacks until you win. If you’re looking for tight combat, Aztech Forgotten Gods will disappoint you.

Screenshot: Aztech Forgotten Gods

Despite its excitingly refreshing premise, Aztech Forgotten Gods just isn’t a very good game. Perhaps it will receive future patches to smooth out some of the glitches, and tighten up movement—but unless there is an overhaul to the platforming and combat, Aztech will never live up to its potential.

 

Aztech Forgotten Gods is available for PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store and for PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series S|X and Nintendo Switch.

 

 

 

 

A Steam key was provided to us for this review.

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Antal Bokor

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