The Average Gamer

GODUS: What’s With All The Clicking?

GODUS - Town and Statues
When your core game mechanic revolves around irritating the user, something has gone horribly awry in the design process. GODUS, the new game from 22Cans and Peter Molyneux was released in beta to Kickstarter supporters at the weekend and it’s all about holding you back.

GODUS is a god game. You’re out to nurse your tribes through the ages, smashing rocks, crushing trees and levelling entire hillsides to clear space for their homes. As you do so, your tribes observe your behaviour and interpret a set of commandments: Trees must not be destroyed for casual purposes, beaches are the most holy place to live, that sort of thing.

Once they build their home, these villagers will duck inside, happily generating faith for you. As far as I can tell, they’re very busy having sex in there because they never come out again. Every once in a while, a flag will be raised to tell you that another full-grown villager is in the house and ready to move out to his or her own place.

The problem lies in the faith. It’s generated as pink bubbles that hover above each house waiting for you to click and hoover it up. You need faith to do everything in the game, so it’s not long before half your time is spent terraforming, while the other half is clicking frantically around the houses or waiting for more faith because your ambitions exceeded their belief.

At this point, I need to apologise for all the times that I said I liked the twinkly sounds in Curiosity. Yes, it added to the mindless tapping of a screen. However, eking out a tune as I collect individual “notes” of faith does not make up for the fact that I need to trawl across my entire town clicking on every single house, tree and rock just to clear a path for some villagers who are too stupid to boost each other over a small hill.

GODUS - MiningOnce you gather enough belief you can build statues that act as nodes to concentrate the faith from surrounding houses. That’s a great improvement, but the cost of these ramps up very quickly and you’ve have barely covered half your town before you need to spend gems, the second form of currency. Gems need to be mined by your villagers. You start out with a hundred gems and must spend some to buy pickaxes so that your villagers discover the technology of mining. I spent my gems on a faith statue and, since the in-game store hasn’t yet been enabled, I’m fairly sure that my villagers are now halted forever from discovering how to mine.

All of this isn’t to say that the game is bad. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I’ve spent something like 15 hours on it since Saturday, but that’s only because I’m sure (almost sure) that the annoyances will be improved. Right now, 22Cans are saying that the beta is about 40% of the game. I can believe that because there’s really not much to do in the early hours beyond clicking and waiting. If you click the flags to summon your new villagers before a new plot of land is ready, they’ll just wander about aimlessly until they eventually die. You can strengthen wandering villagers at no cost (by clicking on them) which does provide a survival boost if the new plots that you created (by clicking) are far away.

GODUS is built around clicking. As you click, you can help your villagers and thereby earn currencies to buy items that mean you have to click less. Curiosity’s social experiment (and the enduring popularity of Diablo) may have proved that people will click for the smallest incentive but that doesn’t mean that clicking itself is the fun part.