When most people think of first person shooters, they think about Call of Duty or Battlefield. Sweeping stories filled with nail biting combat and advanced cinematics. This isn’t always the case, especially when you are talking about indie games. Krafted Games has released a subtler, yet devilishly difficult game called POLYGOD.
POLYGOD drops you into a serene room with about half a dozen static creatures to explain what you are supposed to do. Equipped with a pistol, with unlimited ammo, it is up to you to make your own story. There is a portal just off in the distance a little and as you enter, you’re transported to a maze that you must navigate. But you are not alone. This peaceful seeming maze is filled with a variety of creatures that are only there to make sure you never make it to the end. Can you take the souls of your enemies and use them to your advantage? Will you make it out alive?
The developers say this is a simple game with a difficult learning curve, which is in part true. For every enemy that you kill you will receive a soul. Scattered throughout the maze are altars where you can trade in your souls for power ups, perks, weapon upgrades, and even more health. What makes this game difficult, aside from the slightly wonky controls, is that each maze is random as are the items you can exchange souls for. Also, your first instinct is to rush through the maze running and gunning, when it is a lot easier to take your time and take out your foes from a distance. If you make your way through the maze and find the exit portal, there isn’t a moment to rest. You are dumping into an area with a boss that must be dispatched. If you clear the boss, the cycle starts again – room, maze, boss. There are multiple maze locations and you have to work through them all to complete the game. Once you complete a full run, you will unlock a new character, with different stats, to play as. There are a bunch of characters, so you will have to play through many times to try and get them all.
One of the nice things about this game is that each time you play it generates a random seed for the maze you will be running. This ensures that there are hundreds of mazes, so you won’t get bored going through the same level over and over. If you like a specific maze, you can save the seed for later play. The controls are a bit wonky. Left stick to move your character, right stick rotates your character and aims your weapon. The aim can be a bit touchy at times and you end up not being able to aim exactly where you want. Your right trigger is your fire button, and the left trigger causes you to jump. This takes some time getting used to. If you are having problems playing solo, you can have a friend join you in online multiplayer. Unfortunately, if you play with a friend and you both die, you are going to have to re-invite them for your next game. This means if you aren’t the best players, or are rushing through the levels and dying often, you will spend a lot of time sending invites and waiting for the game to connect.
Graphics in the game are crisp and clean. The title looks like it was designed for a system around the time of the Game Cube, but for this game it works. There is a wide variety of enemies and they change depending on the level you are on. Bosses are on an epic scale and make you wonder if you are going to be able to prevail over them. The soundtrack is a mixed bag of calming tracks and more intense selections. The sound effects are a bit off if you listen to them carefully. The sound of your gun changes depending on the ammo and upgrades you are using, but none really sound right.
POLYGOD is available now for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC. With a price tag of $14.99, there is more than enough game here to justify the cost. Just make sure that you know what you are getting into. This is not a game that you will breeze through quickly, it will take some time and even more importantly some skill.