Developer(s) – Alientrap Games
Publisher(s) – Alientrap Games
PEGI – 16
Apotheon is an open-world 2D side-scrolling game set in the time of Ancient Greece, with a heavy emphasis on exploration, combat, and item hoarding. Although I do have one or two issues with this game, it was pretty enjoyable overall, and I would recommend it to any fan of the genre, as well as anyone with a PlayStation 4.
Graphics – 8/10
The visuals of the game take on an art style very reminiscent of Ancient Greek artwork, resembling the many different patterns and artistic impressions typically found on Ancient Greek pottery, such as red and black figures, and incorporating prominent artistic practices of the time, such as the white ground technique. As far as gaming goes, I’ve only seen something resembling this visual style in both God of War III and God of War Ascension, but this game offers a much more different take on it, and it works remarkably well to set the tone for the overall game; as does the great soundtrack.
Gameplay – 8/10
Primarily incorporating intense combat and open-world exploration, a game like this always suits well with me, and it will serve to keep many others highly entertained for its duration. There are secrets across the game to uncover as well as collectible items, improvements to weapons and armor, and a good few side quests are thrown in for good measure. The game also has a small Elder Scrolls feel to it, in the sense that there are laws to break throughout Mount Olympus, and that acts of violence and theft will be met with force, with the players being given the choice of either paying a fine or resisting arrest, which for a Metroidvania game, is pretty unique.
Controls – 8/10
The only gripes I have with Apotheon’s control scheme are to do with character movement. Sometimes, after the player has moved the player character, he can just keep on moving automatically, and it can become pretty annoying at times when trying to perform stealth kills, etc. It can also be unnecessarily tricky to move up and downstairs at times too. Otherwise, there are no other issues. The combat scheme is actually pretty sophisticated, and it can take some lateral thinking to overcome.
Lifespan – 5/10
Unfortunately, in lieu of what seems to be the tradition of Metroidvania games, this title can only be made to last for about 6 hours; despite its heavy emphasis on exploration, which made me even more disappointed than normal. I’ve always thought that a 2D open-world game is more than capable of lasting just as long as a 3D open-world game, if not more so, but there haven’t been very many developers to have agreed with that particular ideal over the years. One of the longest games in the same breath as Apotheon I’ve ever played is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and that only lasts around 20 to 25 hours.
Storyline – 7/10
Extremely reminiscent of God of War, but with a fairly unique twist on it, the plot follows a warrior named Nikandreos, who is summoned to Mount Olympus by the goddess Hera to overthrow the law of Zeus, who according to the other Olympians, has abandoned humanity, and disregarded the sacred contract between mortals and gods. There are a couple of twists and turns leading up to the end, and the voice acting is pretty well done. But like many other video game protagonists to have come and gone, Nikandreos is silent, and therefore, not built upon a lot.
Originality – 7/10
Though it has obvious similarities with God of War, the art deco used in Apotheon, as well as the unusually sophisticated combat system gives it enough originality about it for players to be able to effectively differentiate it from the many other games that have been released within this genre throughout the years. It isn’t revolutionary, but it’s certainly evolutionary to a certain extent. I can’t help but feel that if the controls had been handled a bit better, then it would have felt even more like an evolutionary title than it ended up feeling like.
To summarize, Apotheon is a fairly good game, but I feel more could have been added, and certain aspects certainly could have been handled better than they were upon the game’s port to a console. Many of the titles added to the PlayStation Network in recent years have impressed me quite a bit, and this is no exception.