Published by Techland (whose upcoming Dying Light 2 is high on everyone’s “most wanted” lists this year), God Trigger is a top down action extravaganza that is great in co-op mode. It’s out now for Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC – we tested it on a PS4.
Developed by One More Level, we first laid eyes on God’s Trigger back in 2017 when we met up with Techland in Germany. Publicly announced at Gamescom that year, it was simply an “unannounced title” until then, so we had very little to go on. We really enjoyed our hands on demo with the game, but were surprised to see little mention of it in the year and a half that followed. For a while we were afraid it was going the way of Hellraid (for which we met Techland back in 2014 for a hands on demo, only to see it vanish completely), until a month and a half ago – when God’s Trigger got a release date.
God’s Trigger has a story, but it largely takes a back seat to the action. Harry and Judy are an angel/demon duo who are trying to slay the four horsemen of the apocalypse – and they do so in a highly stylized and often violent manner. The action is all top-down, and the ballet of bullets, slow motion and over the top moves that often use the environment is instantly fun to play. It’s also far more enjoyable when playing cooperative with another player though – which Techland realizes as well. During the 2017 demo, every journalist who came by was paired up with another player to enjoy the game together rather than in solo mode – and the decision is easy to understand when playing the final game.
Backing each other up, dividing up the next room into corners and reviving each other when hit make for great co-op elements that make God’s Trigger an excellent title for two adults to play together on the couch (online is coming later). And although visually this is a title that will remind people of Hotline Miami and The Hong Kong Massacre, it’s the local multiplayer that really gives God’s Trigger a character of its own.
Getting hit, even just once, is often fatal – so situations are tense. Hotline Miami was similar in that sense, but it was a success because it was able to keep its momentum going with good game design. God’s Trigger has a basic gameplay hook that is simple enough to dive right into, but after that early demo I always wondered how they’d keep it interesting. As I pointed out earlier, there is a lack of story/character development in God’s Trigger, so it wasn’t going to come from that direction. Luckily, the team at One More Level has done a great job at mixing up the level design, weapons, skills and environmental opportunities. The puzzles that are blended in are a bit of a mixed bag because they can break the momentum, but for the most part the gameplay is kept fresh with new and creative ways to tackle situations and take out bad guys – including bosses.
Harry and Jane have their own set of moves and upgrade paths, even though they control in a similar way. This makes it easy to switch between characters if you’re playing in single player, or to replay a level (or the entire six hour campaign) while switching roles during a co-op session. You can mostly just stick to one character in solo mode by the way – switching doesn’t get used much until you hit a few puzzles later on.
Although the game, thematically speaking, feels a bit dark – the emphasis in God’s Trigger is on fun action-fueled gameplay, more so I thought than in Hotline Miami. Despite the violence, the overall tone of the game is relatively light-hearted, with a good amount of humor (often visually) mixed in. The main menu in the game’s no joke though, since it was poorly optimized for anything but large screen displays at launch. Or anything smaller, the small font made the menu options barely legible. This feels like an easy thing to fix though, so hopefully that’ll happen soon.
Play God’s Trigger in co-op mode and you’re in for an absolute treat, as long as you enjoy games like Hong Kong Massacre, Max Payne and Hotline Miami. It doesn’t shine as brightly in single player, so bring a partner along if you have the opportunity.