Thursday, May 3

Review: Cast of the Seven Godsends [Nintendo Switch eShop]

When you discuss classic games there are a variety of reasons why titles have become noteworthy and memorable over the years. While some are revered for their great artwork or brilliant level design there are others that are infamous for their punishing challenge or even quirky nature. Feeling right at home among titles like Ghouls and Ghosts and some other often-brutal side-scrolling action platformers, Cast of the Seven Godsends seems not only comfortable with its uneven difficulty, it generally embraces it.

Perhaps most fittingly to go with the general challenging throwback nature of the action in the game its look is also pretty thoroughly retro. Looking like a remnant of the early-ish 16-bit era there’s a definite vibe in the game that takes me back to that time. The creatures have distinctive, if odd, appearances, each area you play through is a bit different in terms of visuals and play, and the music fits right in as well. While nothing is by any means awe-inspiring there’s enough detail to understand what’s going on and at least some of the spell animations that go with the various power armors are entertaining and unique for the most part.

To go with that throwback feel the gameplay is also more of an earlier time in that it is typically pretty difficult and typically isn’t afraid to be unfair in places, even when playing on “Easy” (which I’d recommend switching to immediately). The enemies and bosses themselves can be a challenge but details like trap doors, enemy spawns that can’t be destroyed, and even very odd trajectories on some enemy projectiles will catch you off guard pretty often. Each of the game’s basic weapons have their strengths and weaknesses, especially when facing off against mid and final bosses, so you’ll probably want to latch on to a specific one or two and try to stick to those so you can get used to their range and the way the fly since that can be critical to have under control when you’re in big fights.

Possibly the most unusual aspect of the title is the one tied to godsends themselves and that’s the fact that even though they feature in the game’s name, and can be one of the elements that is most unique and fun, they’re really tough to come by the opportunity to use. While you can sometimes stumble across one of the power armors that imbues you with one of them directly you can also sometimes get an orb that will power you up so that you can activate and choose the one you want. The thing is, this happens pretty irregularly and I’d say even infrequently, especially when you’re past Easy mode, and it quickly reminds you of how generic the game can be when you’re not powered up. The varying attacks that each will have depending on the base weapon you’re using consistently makes things surprising as you get to know each of their combat spells and it is the primary feature that sets the game apart.

If you’re up for an old school challenge, and some frustration as well, Cast of the Seven Godsends will generally deliver all of the above. Sharing elements with some classic arcade titles for both better and worse it delivers some fun of its own with its various power armors, but understand that they can show up with frustrating inconsistency for the most part. When it clicks and gets rolling it can be a lot of fun, just don’t be surprised by some frequent aggravation when it doesn’t.

Score: 6.5

  • A retro look and feel
  • Some interesting power-ups and combat spells when you can get them
  • Allows for the difficulty to be lowered (or raised if you’re nuts), though that hardly makes it a cakewalk

  • Overall inconsistency in originality and challenge from area to area
  • Some traps and surprises feel cheap
  • Limiting continues, even in Easy mode, seems unnecessary