Oh My Godheads is a prime example of not judging a book by its cover. Looking at the game initially, it didn’t seem like it was going to be anything special. When the developers sat down to describe the title, telling us that it’s an arena based game with a lot of similarities to capture the flag, it didn’t really set my heart a flutter. However, once you get into the game everything clicks almost immediately. Simply put, Oh My Godheads is brilliant.
While it’s certainly fair to draw comparisons to a traditional Capture the Flag title, one of the big differences is that you’re not actually capturing a flag. Instead, you’re tasked with moving the literal head of a god – I clarified this with the developers – to your two man team’s scoring area. This isn’t just a cosmetic change though, as each of the different heads has an effect on play. One that we were shown featured the ability to project waves outwards, staggering you back every time you try to reach the head, while another was so heavy that it crippled your movement speed even more than the other heads as soon as you picked it up.
That slow movement is a big deal in Oh My Godheads, because this is a fast game. Ownership of the idol can easily change multiple times in a space of a few seconds, swinging the balance of the game back and forth and keeping you constantly engaged.
This mostly stems from your lack of protection. A single blow of a sword is enough to take you out, and a dash attack will also leave you waiting for a respawn, while simultaneously sending your opponent closer to their goal. You can even throw bombs at your opponents, although these can be parried with a well timed swing of your sword, as can other attacks.
Of course this all goes away once you’ve got the head in your possession. You can’t swing your sword or dash any more, nor are you able to parry away any bombs that opponents may throw your way. All you can do is try to scamper your way towards your team’s goal, hoping your teammate has your back, or toss the head away.
The ability to throw isn’t just a defensive measure though, it also leads to some lovely opportunities to score through basketball style layups. There is, however, every chance that your opponents are going to intercept your throw, something that can be particularly dangerous in one arena that had just a single scoring zone shared between the two teams.
On that note, there’s plenty of variety in the arenas here. The arena with a single scoring area, for example, also featured a switch with time delay that you had to hit to change the team that could score. It required some real teamwork to get the timing right, but was incredibly satisfying when it worked. Another arena floated in the air, allowing you to toss the head out of the arena and force it to respawn, while a third featured boulders that rolled through the middle of map, causing me to be crushed to death while holding the head more than a few times.
Perhaps the most compelling point in favour of Oh My Godheads is it’s support for couch multiplayer. Hook up four controllers and you’re good to go, but flipside to this is the fact the game won’t be featuring any online multiplayer. This does hurt it’s couch play credentials a little, particularly as the game will only be on PC via Steam to start with. Although the developers, Titutitech, would possibly be open for a console release if the game’s successful, the game won’t be heading there anytime soon.
A point in Oh My Godheads’ favour though is that it doesn’t require controllers. Although I think you’re likely to have the best experience playing with four controllers attached, the game will support two players playing with one keyboard, which should increase the accessibility at least a little.
In a weird way, the game that frequently comes to mind when playing Oh My Godheads is Overcooked, despite the shift from cooperative to competitive play. Obviously they both have couch based play at their core, but there’s a lot about Godheads’ visual style and mechanical feel that will remind you of last year’s hit cooking game. Even the shouts as you throw the head around the arena bring Overcooked’s frantic requests to mind, although that game rarely ended with a sword attack.
Finally, for those of you who really don’t play well with others, it’s worth noting that the game will feature a King of the Hill style mode that’ll let four players simply duke it out individually. Unfortunately this wasn’t on show at Rezzed, so we couldn’t check it out, but if it’s anywhere near as frantic as the Capture the Head mode, then it’ll be a winner.