I love games that focus solely on fighting a series of bosses, or as the kids like to call it, the boss rush. From the excellent Furi to Titan Souls to the Sekiro game mode, exciting final boss challenges with few in-between have something that I really enjoy. God Strike Freedom Games is the latest game in the graceful genre on the Switch. Let’s see if it’s worth spending time with you.
There’s not really a story here: You play as Talaal, who is supposed to be the last Herald and must fight against his siblings before they kill him and absorb his powers. There’s a pretty long intro that explains everything, but honestly it’s just nonsense that gives you context on how and why you need to kill all those bosses. It’s not even worth paying attention to, and can be almost completely avoided by jumping straight into a separate arcade mode that not only avoids all cutscenes from the start, but also unlocks all skills from the start.
Godstrike is a very difficult game, as you would expect. Here your health also serves as a time counter: with each hit you shorten the time you have left to defeat the final boss. It is absolutely important to prevent damage as much as possible. If the counter is at zero, you have one last chance. The next time you get hit, the game is over. It’s an interesting design decision that sets it apart from the forest games. It gets even more interesting when you realize that your special attacks also subtract a few seconds from your total time, forcing you to think about when you attack and what attacks you use.
In most cases, the bosses try to dodge the bullets while keeping a steady stream of damage on the boss himself. I’m not going to lie, Godstrike kicked my ass. Very much so. Each of the bosses in the game is unique, with mechanisms and tricks that you’ll have to discover the hard way. Each final boss also has a series of stages that completely change the combat and the strategies you must use. If you die during the stage you are in, you go straight back to the beginning, no checkpoints, no second chances.
While I’m always up for a good challenge, the gameplay has to be fair and fun, and that’s where Godstrike really fails. The controls aren’t as precise as they should be, and the boss fights aren’t much fun, often being overly long tests of patience against bullet sponges that are annoying rather than entertaining. Sure, there are a few boss fights that are complete opposites and are both fun and innovative in their design, but that’s not the bulk of what Godstrike offers.
The graphics are pretty good for the most part. Obviously, you can still see what’s happening even when the enemy is literally firing hundreds of bullets at you at once. This means that bright is not synonymous with beautiful. It’s a pretty standard game in terms of art. The sound design is also reasonable, but very unremarkable, with a rather forgettable soundtrack.
Godstrike is an attempt at a boss kicking game. It’s certainly a brutal challenge that requires dozens of attempts, but it’s just not fun. There is some potential here, as the mechanics of time are not only your health, but also a resource to be managed. The problem, however, is the frustrating boss fights that drag on throughout the game.
|The graphics won’t blow your mind, but they don’t get in the way of the action either.||The time-based mechanics are enough to make this distressingly simple two-stick shooter stand out a bit more.|
|The sound design is far from great, but at least it serves its purpose.||I like a good challenge when it’s fun. Godstrike rarely manages to be truly funny. None of the game’s final bosses stood out.|
Godstrike is available now on Switch and on the computer.
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A copy of Godstrike was provided by the publisher.
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