Cast of the Seven Godsends Switch Review by SwitchWatch
Developer: Raven Travel Studios
Publisher: Merge Games
Release Date: May 20th 2018
Price as of Article: $12.99 USD, £9.99 GBP
Game code provided by Merge Games for review
There is a story to Cast of the Seven Godsends which is a little bit of a throwaway, even if they did try. There is dialogue and some simple cutscenes setting the story. Rather than going for the classic Knight saving the princess, it’s actually the King searching for his kidnapped infant son and heir to the throne. Kidnapped by the cronies of a once thought defeated evil being, you go on your quest guided by the seven Gods who stopped him previously.
You’re not going to play this kind of game for the story, let’s be honest. I suspect like myself, many of you will be speeding through the dialogue as fast as possible not too long after the first few cutscenes, especially considering all the spelling and grammatical errors found here. It’s odd coming from a UK publisher and something that should really have been addressed for quality control purposes.
The sound isn’t too bad, there’s an odd eclectic mix of different genres that sound okay but don’t always fit the theme of the game. Some do, some don’t. Take the snow level as an example, it sounds like the intro to David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Nice, but not very fitting. It sounds okay though and I don’t think it hit me enough to notice how strange things were at times, only when I specifically listened out for it. Overall, not a bad effort in the audio department.
Visuals & Performance
Visually the game is okay. I’m sure many of you will be happy to see that they’ve not gone for the retro pixel style we see so often. Instead it’s a hand-drawn effort. Just looking at it, it’s obviously not in the same league as something like Wonder Boy also on the Switch and honestly, it does look on the cheap side of things. Animation frames are low, giving a very un-smooth look to movement. A little stilted here and there, although I do appreciate the backgrounds a little more. It’s okay, but looks a little amateurish.
Now, while I may not always jump at the chance to review a platformer unless it’s a big budget release, when a game is described as a love letter to Ghouls ’n Ghosts then I’ve just got to try it, what with that particularly Super Nintendo game being one of my favourite games ever. Now, I never expected Cast of the Seven Godsends to reach up to that game’s perfection so don’t worry, I’m judging it fairly by its own merits.
Right of the bat you’ll notice how fast paced this compared to its inspiration. Your character blasts around the screen which is nice although a bit more nuance to the speed could have gone a long way. It’s either full speed or standing still. His jumping is pretty spot on and the room for error for landing on platforms is pretty generous which is nice.
It’s very basic in its control scheme as it just uses two buttons for actions; jump and attack. Seven Godsends doesn’t really do a good job of explaining what’s going on in regards to gameplay. Picking up items is a bit of a shrug of the shoulder. Sure things happen but it’s not really focused or explicit enough. It will take a couple of play throughs before you catch on with the game’s mechanics, especially with weapons and accessing your magic.
There are various different weapons you can pick up and wield. These are found in orb-like chests that pop up from time to time in a secretive manner if you walk on the right spot. You have the classic dagger, a mace, hammer and a sword, many of them can be pretty awkward to use. Some will have a high throwing arch while the sword has almost no reach. On the other hand it’s super strong so each weapon does have its strengths and weaknesses so that is a nice tactical point. I don’t think the weapons come often enough however since you’re often stuck with the same weapon for long periods of time. Of course I could be missing some of the hidden orbs but it would have been nice to see them more often in a casual play through.
You have different armour levels; your normal basic one, a more advance one and a super powerful one. Then there’s your super power which if you collect energy, you can initiate by holding the attack button. Holding it down will cycle through different elemental powers to which you can transform into. This is actually pretty cool and each of the elemental powers have their own advantages, especially against bosses which you will definitely need to exploit to progress.
This leaves a lot of weaponry / elemental combinations which is actually a rather interesting aspect of the game. Due to the short nature and the generally once-per-level offering of the God powers, you really don’t get to experiment enough in my opinion. If this was more frequent in longer levels, it could have gone a long way and would have been far more interesting.
There’s a good bit of trial and error here which may put some gamers off but there is a nice dose of skill involved too. You really need to be on your toes when it comes to Cast of the Seven Godsends. An easy game it is not. While there are four difficulty modes, even easy mode will present to you a tough challenge the first time around. Indeed, I failed to complete the game three times before I managed to get through without using up all of the credits. Yes, there are credits and if you use them all, it’s game over – start from scratch, buddy. Even games like Ghouls ’n Ghost or Castlevania weren’t that cruel. Challenge fiends may love this, more casual gamers will probably feel frustrated. You need to think about that before delving in to Cast of the Seven Godsends.
There are dozens of enemy varieties that you will encounter throughout the short game run time, including plenty of bosses too. I’ll give credit it where credit is due they didn’t just rely on a couple of different enemies per stage, instead there are lots of unique monsters to each world. Some are pushovers, others take a lot attack’s before they fall. One super annoying thing are the never ending flying enemies that will try to irritate you by hovering around and generally being a nuisance. They’re never ending and one of the lesser welcome throwback to older games. The standard ground enemies are fair game but the flying ones sour the experience somewhat, being a relic from retro games that we don’t want back.
When it all works it’s quite fine. It can be fun to play and you can see how much the developers adore the inspirations for this one. Sadly there are also times where a lack of care or attention to detail makes it stutter from a good game to an awkward one. It can feel like enemies and traps were placed haphazardly rather than being well thought out. Sprinkle some here, some there, job done. That’s not how classic games were made. I mean it’s not bad but it’s just not special either.
It’s just a bit basic for my liking, it just lacked the bit of quality necessary to elevate it to something like Shu which was equally basic but had tonnes of class. Sure it’s only made by a few people but so are plenty of games that have more polish and quality. It’s not bad, it’s just not of high enough standard to compete or look anything other than a little bit amateurish. Harsh, but that’s the general reality of it. It has a certain charm nostalgic gamers may like but even for me, a huge fan of this game’s inspiration, struggled to truly enjoy the gameplay on offer here.
For value the game comes in at £9.99 and $12.99. I think for what is on offer here, it’s a little higher than I would have expected. Something a little more competitive to what A Hole New World offered would have been more ideal being a couple of pounds and dollars cheaper. When you look at the excellently priced Shu, you do need to question the ambitions of this game’s value.
Nice variety in magic and weapons
Just a bit bland and unpolished