Play
Please use a flash video capable browser to watch videos.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Godus Early Access Review

Godus bless us.

GameSpot's early access reviews evaluate unfinished games that are nonetheless available for purchase by the public. While the games in question are not considered finished by their creators, you may still devote money, time, and bandwidth for the privilege of playing them before they are complete. The review below critiques a work in progress, and represents a snapshot of the game at the time of the review's publication.

Auteur game designer Peter Molyneux is probably best known for his tendency to oversell his work without the slightest hint of irony. Recently, Molyneux has been claiming that Godus is "Zen-like," and most of the time, that's a pretty fair assessment. Godus sways to a steady rhythm, reinforced by the gentle chimes and tones of the user interface, creating a superb sense of relaxation and belonging.

Shrines must be worked before they are activated. When triggered, they expand your lands and unlock the gray areas just beyond.

Godus begins in a more or less conventional manner: You clear out some rocks and trees to make way for your followers to build houses and settle down. This is the most basic level of interaction you have with the gameworld. Every flat piece of land you can clear or carve automatically generates a plot on which people can build houses. From here, you build up two of the game's vital resources: number of followers and belief. Reaching certain numbers of followers unlocks new powers and abilities called "cards," while belief is continuously generated at homes. Belief is the fuel for your god powers. Causing drastic changes of any sort uses exponentially more belief than working with the land. Some manipulation of the world is required, but the excessive cost of radical changes limits the possibilities.

Once these elements have been introduced, Godus gradually breaks away from the norm. Belief, for example, doesn't automatically go from your followers' houses to your pool; instead, you must collect it from each individual house. That probably sounds annoying, and indeed it was before a recent update. Now with a click and drag of the mouse, you can trace over homes and collect your tributes, with a soothing chime punctuating the process. It reminded me of gathering fruit or flowers from a garden, and while the idea that humans are basically plants to be cultivated by a supreme being is an odd one, it really does feel special.

Treasure chests contain stickers that you can use to activate powers that you've unlocked.

As you gradually sculpt the world, you also uncover little stickers that activate your earned cards, as well as a smattering of strange artifacts, temples, and shrines--all seemingly left by a long-dead civilization. These disparate ruins and treasures don't reveal any real threat, either from resource scarcity or other civilizations, and exist largely to encourage exploration. Shrines, once restored, unlock more of the game's main map, as well as more stickers and land for your people to work in the process. In time, you unlock settlements and more advanced housing, which build up your stores of belief faster, thus allowing you to exert your will upon the world a bit more...forcefully. Despite its generally relaxing nature, this is still a god game, and you can use your divine fingers to snuff out your followers if you need a quick laugh.

Eventually, your search for stickers in the main portion of the map will have you coming up empty. That's where this build's biggest addition comes into play: voyages of discovery. Within the first few areas, you find a special temple from which you can launch expeditions to far-off lands. Your followers, upon your command, begin island hopping in your name. Each new island has a puzzle wherein you must guide your followers from their landing to their goal in a set amount of time. Completing these challenges requires you to use your god powers with some degree of haste and cleverness. Failure is punished with the loss of some followers, but adventures also let you resupply your pilgrims with belief, so there is effectively no long-term penalty.

I opted for a very dense housing system, constantly reworking the land to let me pack more and more people in, but that wasn't necessarily the best strategy.

This diversion helps fill in what Godus otherwise has too little of: something interesting to do. Waiting for belief to regenerate takes time, and without belief, you can't do much. Expeditions help close that gap and keep you busy instead of simply waiting for things to happen. Unfortunately, they are also out of place. Nothing else in Godus is limited by time or is in any way dangerous to anything or anyone, and so the possibility of failure in a voyage of discovery isn't a comfortable fit.

Then again, Godus isn't finished yet, and clearly has a long road ahead of it. Developer 22Cans says on the game's splash screen that it's currently at 49 percent completion, and that feels about right. There are plenty of bugs that, while by no means game-breaking, forced me to close and reopen the game about a dozen times. Despite the discomforts, Godus is still enjoyable. Gathering belief and gently guiding villagers to build and grow is rewarding in a strangely ephemeral way. When you're not on a voyage of discovery, play feels therapeutic if not meditative, though the relaxation is far too often cut short by a lack of belief or an insufficient number of stickers to activate cards. Nevertheless, there's a pleasurable ebb and flow to collecting belief from your followers and then using that to sculpt the land beneath you.

What's There?

A serene gardening god game built from a dozen or so great ideas, all loosely placed together in one package.

What's to Come?

22Cans hasn't said exactly what else we can expect, but Molyneux has repeatedly said that at the very least, the game needs a fair bit of refinement.

What Does it Cost?

As of right now, the game runs for $20.

When Will it be Finished?

There have been no indications about how much longer the game will take to finish other than Molyneux's statement and the game's splash screen suggesting the game is 49 percent done.

What's the Verdict?

Godus has a striking style and a gorgeous, if glitchy, presentation. Exercise caution before investing too much emotion in Godus: the most recent update wiped a lot of people's save data, and it's unclear what future updates might bring.

Written By

Want the latest news about GODUS?

GODUS

GODUS

Discussion

92 comments
vadagar1
vadagar1

"you can use your divine fingers to snuff out your followers if you need a quick laugh."

oddly this happens every day around the world 

Algearond
Algearond

Like the art......concept, meh

Granatar
Granatar

Make a new Movies! game.  well this looks cool to.  

bbq_R0ADK1LL
bbq_R0ADK1LL

I think I'll wait til the game is finished to make a decision. If they want me to test their unfinished game, they can pay me.

koospetoors
koospetoors

Its nice seeing Molyneux back in his element again, Fable was decent but games like these were always his forte. Definitely keeping an eye on this one but staying wary, its also basically going to determine whether he's still got that old Bullfrog magic in him or has finally lost all that made him good now that I think of it, really hoping for the former.


And honestly, criticizing the guy for the stuff he did these last few years is understandable (Godus determining the future of the genre sure is lolworthy), but acting like he is the worst thing to hit gaming since the start? I highly recommend you brush up on your gaming history if you believe that.

thefoxonthewall
thefoxonthewall

I like god games - I like Reus which was the last god game I played, but I'm not sure I'd have the patients for this game from what I've seen. 

zintarr
zintarr

After reading this I conclude you need drugs to play this.

NicholasT33
NicholasT33

@2:46 in the video is really telling of how Peter Molyneux feels about not just this game, but how he sees us. Collecting belief in followers, to sculpt the land/game beneath you/ or game in front to you. Does Peter Molyneux feel like he is a God?

jazilla
jazilla

OR as @fiddlecub put it on twitter: "...zzzzzz".

Fursnake
Fursnake

So the real question is...are god games dead now after this?

Pewbert
Pewbert

The truth - It's a steaming turd. Basically an iPad game converted to the PC without taking advantage of the PCs capabilities.

Molyneux is a con man. His glory days a long long time ago.

Stag_Lee
Stag_Lee

1) While I wouldn't pay for an unfinished product, early access is a simple matter of choice and not something to bitch about so long its unfinished status is made clear.

2) Early access games shouldn't be reviewed. Reviewing an unfinished novel, unedited and with scattered missing chapters, is absurd, and so it is with games. If you must do so, it's pointless and harmful to point out glitches and bugs. These are obviously going to be present and pointing them out multiple times is only going to leave an unwarranted first impression in the reader. The same is true in pointing out a lack of things to do. Why not just wait for the game before you review it?

3) Flippant and cynical comments about Molyneux or anyone else are childish and thoughtless - you're just jumping on the bandwagon of hate to try to get likes. I doubt that most of these commenters have ever played a Molyneux game in their life. For the record, some are great and some are terrible, but if you write a game off before you try it you're sometimes going to miss out.

4) Be more constructive with your criticism, people are more likely to listen.

That's all for my self-righteousness for today, thankyouverymuch.

vadagar1
vadagar1

play planet explorers its still in alpha but boy the game is fun

xbr85
xbr85

Shut up, Molyneux...

sunbeam4
sunbeam4

we sure are getting a lot of "kevin" these days :\

Llama345
Llama345

I dont understand how you can charge people for an incomplete game. 

ThePowerOfHAT
ThePowerOfHAT

It's a shame that the game doesn't give players much to do still.  Despite having arguably been overrated, Black & White still stands to me as a prime example of how to make a god game into something that can feel both challenging and "zen-like".  That game gave you a ton of freedom in regards to how you gained followers and belief, and the creature aspects are still really impressive over a decade later, particularly when it comes to the absolutely incredible A.I.  I'd love another game like that, but it's probably not going to be coming from Molyneux.

Cloud_imperium
Cloud_imperium

Review Early Access of Lichdom : Battlemage you losers , good games are always overlooked by you .

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

I dont really get the anger over early access; nobody forced you to buy it and you are clearly warned on the steampage that the game isn't finished, yet you seem to expect a full game?? errrr....no; that's not how it works. I think it's pretty clear what you were getting yourself into so dont go blaming anyone else for your bad decision.

And before you say "well peter promised it would be... blah blah bah" we all know how Peter talks up his games; and whether that's out of enthusiasm or just plain lies doesn't really matter, you should know by now to apply a bit of caution.


If you want a complete game then wait for it to actually release, dont buy an early access game and then be surprised that it's lacking content, that's your own fault, nobody elses.

sadface1234
sadface1234

I bought early access a while ago and this review is based on the very recent update to godus 2.0.  While godus 2.0 is better then the first iteration it is still super boring and gets very old very fast. I would suggest anyone who is interested in this game to wait until it is finished to even try it.  


When he said "zen like" I think he confused that with something called "sleep" because that what this games does, puts you to sleep.

El_Zaggy
El_Zaggy

This game is another awful game that is not worth your money nor your time. 

donutking7
donutking7

Jeez, is Kevin the only person working at Gamespot? He constantly "stands in" for someone

advocacy
advocacy

Why should I pay $20 for an incomplete version of a Facebook game?

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

Just head over to Godus' Steam page and read the reviews and forum threads by people that bought this overhyped and underdelivered game - The vast majority is negative reviews and negative feedback.

Then check out some gameplay videos on YouTube and see for yourself that this is a majorly broken and boring game with major design flaws and a "mobile first" approach that no amount of further development can save.

The last update took them 4 months to basically implement the basics of click-and-drag and adopt some of mobile games "features", for example it now takes around 15 minutes of real time for houses to generate belief and it is still only playable online with not even random map generation.

On top of that take the "Molyneux-factor" into account and at the very latest by then you should've realized you should better spend your money elsewhere.

Stesilaus
Stesilaus

This is obviously the successor to Peter Molyneux's own classic "Populous" games.  I'd be both surprised and disappointed if the final version of the game didn't include competing gods and populations hostile to the player's followers.


Microsteve
Microsteve

How much did they pay GS for this?

Grey_Eyed_Elf
Grey_Eyed_Elf

It took a while but now I am fully against early access and kickstarter... Make your game and then release it when its complete and then I will buy it. 


So many games are now taking advantage of these systems. 


It makes sense to release a game as early access when its almost complete... BUT games like DayZ can go a f*** it self, WHY? Because the developers are not capable of producing a finished game. How long will it be alpha?... 1-2 years?... Then it will be a BETA for another 1-2 years?... F*** YOU!


IF a games is released as early access it should be at the very least in late BETA with at the most 6 months before its release. 


Paying for a game that's broken  and having to wait two years or more till its complete is not early access.

koospetoors
koospetoors

@GIF  Comparing an already finished game to one that's barely halfway done.


I'll leave you to figure out the massive flaw in your logic

DanCStarkey
DanCStarkey

@kitmeep  I disagree with the notion that just because something is casual it is necessarily bad. That is a limited and very exclusionary perspective.

Jacanuk
Jacanuk

@kitmeep  So you mean like 99.99999% of any games out there, thanks for stating the obvious.



coperoco
coperoco

@Cloud_imperium  don´t worry, I´ll do it.


Lichdom : Battlemage early access is lacking on content, repetitive and a bore. It has some potential in its combat mechanics and can, sometimes, look pretty. Right now, it isn´t worth the price. But it´s a game worth following.


There

danjal
danjal

@GamerLegend10 Most of the anger actually is not because of early access. But because of blatant misdirection.
The store page and kickstarter both promise a PC game with deep and engaging gameplay.

Infact, the steam store does not even mention the mobile nature of the game.
When people complain about early access I agree - the page clearly warns you of what you are getting into.
However the steam storepage for godus does not warn you about the casual/mobile aspect of Godus.

WereCatf
WereCatf

@El_Zaggy It's also not finished yet.You probably missed that bit. It may well be worth both your money and your time once it's finished. At least I am going to wait and see.

ThePowerOfHAT
ThePowerOfHAT

@Stesilaus It may get some of those features, but I also doubt that it'll be in quite the same vein as those titles or, say, Black & White, primarily since Godus is in many ways being treated more as a "casual" game than its forebears.

normanislost
normanislost

Not a lot since the review is pretty accurate people complain about fable but peter has never made a bad god game

toast_burner
toast_burner

@Grey_Eyed_Elf  

Not everyone has the money to finish the game. Why do you think it's mostly indie titles on kickstarter and early access?


noganeers
noganeers

@Grey_Eyed_Elf  Yea I completely agree, and think that developers shouldnt  be able to put there "opinion" on what early access means for them but rather Valve should make some guidelines for developers doing early access. I love the fact that i can play Rust, and without Early Access that wouldnt be possible, but at the same time they DID make 30 million dollars, so whats the incentive for them to FINISH the game, when they probably have most of there install base. Thats my problem with Early Access. I know it's new and like any new thing needs time for refinement, But considering Steam has 3 to 5 of the top selling games in Early Access, i dont think its fair for the average mainstream gamer, to have a small blue bar with there opinion that says its in early access. It should give you insight into how long of a timeframe until the game is done, updates regularly from the developer(if not in game updates then at least informative updates on the progress) and a disclaimer like DAY-Z did that the game me be broken at times.

jemoedr
jemoedr

@Grey_Eyed_Elf  No one's forcing you to do it. Besides, what's the problem with kickstarter? Your argument is clearly about early access. It says nothing about kickstarter projects...


And the reason they are not capable of finishing a game is due to the lack of money. If it would be a company like EA or Ubisoft doing this it is a whole different story though...

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

@Grey_Eyed_Elf It's completely optional. I personally wouldn't purchase an alpha or beta game.

Zandan
Zandan

@Grey_Eyed_Elf As long as there're people to pay in advance, this model will strive. It's up to you.

normanislost
normanislost

Hang on you know early access is giving you access to the alpha/beta and then complain about paying for a game that "broken"........

Also since you called out DayZ it clearly says on the steam page what the state of the game is and if you're not prepared to for that don't buy it

danjal
danjal

@DanCStarkey @kitmeepCasual is bad, because this game was pitched as a non-casual experience with depth and engaging gameplay.
The steam store doesn't even mention casual or mobile.

Yes, casual/mobile games have a place in the current market - but when you gather funding based on promises that you are making a new along the lines of "Black & White", "Populous" or "Spore" with elements of "Dungeon Keeper" and other such titles. And you are delivering the bastard child of Farmville and Godfinger...
Well, clearly someone's vision and someone's promises are not in agreement.

crazywolf5150
crazywolf5150

@Jacanuk @kitmeep  Most of the games I play require the use of the keyboard in addition to the mouse, but a game like this would nice if I was missing an arm.

Cloud_imperium
Cloud_imperium

@coperoco @Cloud_imperiumThanks . The game looks great but you missed the point . There is still not a single article about that game plus a lot of others like The Forest or Elite Dangerous or Men of War and so on . Everyday it is same old Xbox One VS PS4 articles for click bait and nothing about real games .

ThePowerOfHAT
ThePowerOfHAT

@normanislost Hmm.  I wouldn't say he's made a "bad" one, but B&W2 was in many ways a big step down from its predecessor.  A lot of aspects were overly simplified - particularly the creature A.I. - and aside from some very light strategy elements, it didn't really introduce anything worthwhile to the genre.  It seems like Godus is even more simplified than that title was.


Part of what made Molyneux's earlier god games so great was the sheer complexity of the systems driving them.  Godus seems to do away with a lot of that aspect, and to me, that's a very root problem that is going to hold the game back unless Molyneux decides to move the game in a new direction from this point on.

R4gn4r0k
R4gn4r0k

@normanislost  This isn't a god game though, this is god game light so it can work on iPhone

straightcur
straightcur

@GSGuy321 @Grey_Eyed_Elf Unfortunately lots of people will because they feel there is some kind of prestige in being first.   Same people that post "first" in comment sections......   Sad

Grey_Eyed_Elf
Grey_Eyed_Elf

@normanislost  I know that... I AM AWARE. 


I am simply talking about the model and the potential abuse of it. I used DayZ as a example because its arguably the most hyped early access game but its rarely noted just how unplayable it is and how far from a finished product it is.


Simply put there should be a bar... i.e. A game should not be put up as "early access" until its a year away from release. Quality control is what I am talking about and I feel that Steam seems to let the developer do what ever they want and release what ever they want.


Its a product that you are paying for... Why would you pay for something that you have no idea when it will be finished?


You are not going to go and watch the next Hobbit with the CGI missing and then have the finished product sent to you when its complete... So do we gamers accept "early access"?



normanislost
normanislost

"So do we gamers accept "early access"?" I shall assume you missed "why" out in there

That pretty much sums you up you don't have to accept early access if you don't like the idea then wait till the games finished no one is forced to buy into it now in anyway

And your comments towards dayz on further my belief that you bought it assuming the game would be playable which is was stated from the day it hit steam on the games's page it wouldn't be and are now venting about how early access is bad

also your hobbit analogy is wrong since why would a film have an alpha/beta what would be the point? Plus you watch it for 3hours and then again in maybe a month the original dayz some people have put 400 hours into it

TheBirdfeede
TheBirdfeede

@Grey_Eyed_Elf @normanislost  "You are not going to go and watch the next Hobbit with the CGI missing and then have the finished product sent to you when its complete... So do we gamers accept "early access"?"


YES, because its EARLY ACCESS. Your accessing a BETA, this is exactly the time when your paying for an unfinished product...


You sir, are clearly a moron.


bloody-hell
bloody-hell

@Grey_Eyed_Elf You as the customer have the duty to inform yourself about the product you're going to spend money on before acutally buying it.

After you've decided for yourself if the unfinished, in-development product has potential or not, you'll either pay for it to support the developer or you'll wait for the final release and then decide whether it's worth your money or not.

It's as simple as that and nobody is forcing you to buy anything.

So no, I don't see anything wrong with Early Access because it absolutely clearly tells you what you're getting yourself into - a unfinished product that may change over the course of it's development.

I for myself am having tons of fun with some Early Access titles like "Kerbal Space Program", "Prison Architect", "Planetary Annihilation", "Next Car Game", "Overgrowth", "Castle Story", "Betrayer", "Project Zomboid", "Pixel Piracy", Nom Nom Galaxy", (there may be more that escape me at the moment) and I don't regret buying / supporting any of them, some of them I already owned before they went Early Access and I bought them again despite being able to migrate the key I already had, just to extra support them.