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I bought early-access Godus because I managed to make myself believe for an instant this would be a return to good times had with Populous. Godus is the game 22cans made with funds generated by iOS users crazy enough to fund their previous, depressingly mercenary project-game Curiosity. I didn't like the concept of Curiosity, feeling it traded people's curiosity for money (and gave a random person a sense of importance). A more important question than whether you ought to play Godus would be: "How does Peter Molyneux continue making games?" The answer being foolish people such as myself continue to fund his hit-and-miss efforts. Let's just say I feel foolish for spending money this way, and hope my decision can be redeemed with the full release.

Other terrible Peter Molyneux games include Black & White, B&W2, Fable, Fable 2, Fable 3, and a number of other games which never made it to market (Project Milo). However, excellent Peter Molyneux games include Populous (the reason I bought Godus), Dungeon Keeper... oh and he produced Magic Carpet and the original Syndicate. With a track record like that, it's difficult to say, based on an unknown element of involvement in game design/programming/production, whether future games are worth it. But it's clear projects with Molyneux in a design/programming role suffer less critical acclaim than projects he produces.

For what it offers players for $20, Godus is only slightly less of a one-sided money-making venture than Curiosity, 22cans say they "thoroughly enjoyed developing our dream game", which misses a salient point. If developers enjoy their work more than players enjoy their experience--something is wrong. What's wrong is that the early access release of Godus isn't fun. By their 22cans combined, Tim Rance and Peter Molyneux seem able to ignore all feedback while marketing terrible game after terrible game. Even after Lionhead Studios' failures. This is probably due to the insatiable hunger of stalwart adherents in the United Kingdom and France for more locally-produced endeavour.

Godus isn't fun, because this sandbox game clamours for your attention like a an irritating hallway monitor, while simultaneously demanding action on your behalf to continue functioning. When you attempt to play in your sandbox, you can't move even a grain of sand, for want of not clicking on what you're supposed to. Good grief, don't you know anything? Better flash some icons to spawn modal help windows filled with irrelevant information explaining why you're so stupid you can't understand the highly intricate concept of repeatedly clicking on things while drooling. To put it bluntly, playing this game is like working with Filemaker Pro through a Zynga interface.

They've said with this early access release of Godus that they're aware that the game "involves too much clicking" and that this and other obvious gameplay deficiencies will be remedied in the final release. Perhaps buy the early access edition of Godus if you're especially tired of your current mouse. Or if you need something to ease any Farmville-esque cravings suffered while jonesing for a Facebook dopamine fix. Early access Godus costs $20.00 -- Cookie Clicker is free!

There are so many Godus elements which would be conspicuous by their absence, here is a list:

1. Obvious elements which will be soullessly used to market virtual hats/cards for cash.
2. Obvious game design for mobile platform (to be monetised for extra cash).
3. Obvious design choices to keep players chained to their mouses forever in the hope they'll swipe their credit cards... for extra cash.
4. Game comes with 50% off voucher for a Razer Naga, so you can use all the buttons for clicking.
5. Clicky-clicky-Clicking on subjects' houses to obtain belief.
6. Clicky-clicky-Clicking on subjects' houses to force them outside to build new houses.
7. Clicky-clicky-Clicking on subjects in utter frustration because they won't do the above, and even when they try, their actions occur at well below snail-pace.
8. A game where making yourself multiple coffees isn't an essential element while waiting for ages of civilisation to advance at 1:1 time-scales.
9. Clicky-clicky-Click-dragging to sculpt landscape which expends all your resources, then rubber-bands back into shape rather than being sculpted.
10. Timers which stop randomly for tens of seconds with 1:24 on the clock.
11. Annoying beeps demanding you click on alerts which display modal timeline menu showing things a tooltip could have related more easily.
12. A game extremely derivative of "From Dust", but less visually appealing, or mechanically rewarding.
13. A game which isn't a terrible money-grubbing attempt to have a game to play over your girlfriend's shoulder. Sorry, did I say girlfriend? I meant wife.

To put all this in a less frustrated way: From Dust is much better than Godus, and has a very different pedigree, being designed by Eric Chahi who also designed Another World. From Dust was released in 2011 and is $14.99. Since I enjoy God games, it's best to conclude this review with one which is far superior to and and cheaper than Godus. Have fun playing "From Dust"! :)


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Nova Aurata Quiddity

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