I’ve found my new favourite Vampire Survivors clone. God Of Weapons may have an absolutely dreadful name, but it’s an consumingly compelling take on the auto-battler format, mixing it with a ridiculously engaging inventory management.
This is an isometric 3D game, in which your chosen class of character wields an ever-growing number of weapons and artefacts as they take on increasingly large crowds of enemies, all within small, one-minute levels. Last a minute and you return to your inventory screen, where experience points convert into additional inventory spaces, allowing you to Tetris in new weapons, armour and trinkets bought from a randomly allocated shop. Then off you go ahead into the next level.
Each game is made up of 20 levels, and surviving to the end is a win. Wins convert to unlocking more content, alongside meeting a vast pool of VS-style “quest” goals, which let you unlock more class types, or variants within each class type. Oh, and you can buy new starting abilities or advantages, or permanently add certain weapons and trinkets to your arsenal, and on and on and on.
What works so well here is the minute-long nature of each level. Instead of half-hour runs like in most post-VS Automatic Horde Battlers, surviving here is a very temporary measure. So it’s always about creating a build for each character that can achieve this, which is obviously very experimental, but fortunately also easily done.
Balancing in the initial difficulty levels does seem a bit odd. You’ll always have more gold than you can spend in the store, even if you do many refreshes (more costly each time), so there’s never a concern about budgeting for this. Space is far more of a premium, each level allowing you to unlock (usually) between two and six new slots, but from a selection of locations the game highlights, rather than just anywhere you want. You can unlock slots that you know will let you put in that six-block-long sword you’ve got your eye on, or just speculative extra gaps that’ll hopefully tesselate with a useful crossbow later on.
“Inventory Tetris” is often used as a pejorative, but for many, it’s a zen-like practice that allows a semblance of control over the universe around them. God Of Weapons definitely understands the latter, and I’ve taken great pleasure in re-jigging until I’ve immaculately slotted everything in place. Even more so when it then proves a far more powerful set-up on the next level.
Each class type has a different set of advantages and disadvantages, making playing as each of them – and their variants – an interesting process. And given each run is only ever twenty minutes plus inventory jiggling, you’re never far away from a different approach.
Gosh I wish it weren’t so grey. It’s the most peculiarly grey game, every level washed out of colour, and I cannot fathom why. Things are so gloomy it’s often difficult to make out drops in the middle of all the enemies, and there aren’t smart choices with colour to highlight elite enemies from the crowds. It could desperately do with a splash of life, because the dankness adds absolutely nothing.
The other big issue here is that every single aspect I’ve described to you above is something I had to figure out for myself, the game not explaining anything. But not in an interesting, exploratory way, but rather in a “this feels like Early Access” way. It isn’t, and it could really do with some sort of opening explanatory note, and some tool-tips on the UI. I’m utterly delighted it didn’t waste my time with an opening cutscene and pretence at a story, but it felt like I’d loaded up a game I started six months ago and completely forgot about.
But don’t forget about it! This is tremendous fun, and for a fiver, there’s so much of it. There are 12 different classes, each with three variants, which offers an enormous amount of replayability. Plus, its more bite-sized approach to the format, accompanied by a 3D view and vast array of enemies, makes it different enough from the crowds to stand on its own merits.