Between genre juggernauts such as Warframe and Destiny, and newcomers like Outriders, it’s no easy feat for a small developer to make their mark in the ominously monickered ‘lifestyle game’ genre. Even unbelievably successful iterations on the ‘play this thing literally forever in pursuit of new shinies’ formula go through a constant process of balancing, updates, and tweaks. Bearing this in mind, it’s no real mark of shame that the current Early Access build of Almighty: Kill Your Gods has a long way to go.
There are some shining gold veins here, glittering design ideas that might one day be made into something really special, but they’re buried deep beneath some unremarkable combat and uninspired enemy design. It isn’t a disaster, but it’s not mind-blowing either, and for a game that relies on a thriving co-op community, I’m worried this might mean that it never quite manages to unfurl its wings before the ground gives out beneath it.
Let’s talk about those wings, or more accurately, its bouncing hind legs. Almighty’s wolf-like characters exemplify the game’s strongest feature: a wonderfully freeing, fluid sense of movement. Huge double jumps allow you to bound over tall structures, sprinting results in a lupine gallop, and jumps can turn into forward glides, allowing you to effectively fly. This, alongside a divebomb that gets more powerful the higher elevation you perform it from, means that Almighty’s greatest joys take place before you fire a single projectile or swipe a single claw.
There is both shooting and melee, and they both feel somewhat underwhelming at this point in time. Your mecha-wolf-thing has a gauntlet on each arm, one for a continuous stream of fast, weak projectiles, the other for summoning huge orbs of fire. The heavier cannon is extremely powerful, especially when held down to charge, and the weaker is very weak in comparison. As you might expect, both of these can be upgraded, switched out, and augmented as you progress. They’re both a bit plinky, to be honest, like spitting little bits of McDonalds straw paper out of the straw at your mates freshly Brylcreemed scalp. Ah, memories.
Melee itself is on the sluggish side, leaving you open to attack, and, as far as I could tell, is best avoided. The only move of any use I found was a running claw spin you can perform when coming out of a sprint, and then only because you can sprint again out of it. Multi-hit combos are slow to perform, and while damage is reasonable, enemies are often far too numerous to make it the preferred approach, especially compared to launching huge orbs of fire from a safe distance. Almighty seems geared towards having a party with you, flinging damage at enemies, but it means the amount of damage you’re able to dish out as a solo player soon becomes quite frustrating against the game’s tougher adversaries.
Play sees you teleporting to various islands from a central hub, defeating enemies and collecting resources. So far, so unremarkable, but Almighty does have a few tricks of its own. Naturally, the gods that reside over each place you visit don’t take too kindly to having their crystals smashed by rampaging murder-doges, and so get angrier the more progress you make in a certain area, meaning more challenging encounters. Novel, also, is the way you upgrade your character, building floors and repairing structures in your hub area, which bestows health and stamina bonuses. This base building also plays into defence, should your island get raided, although I haven’t been able to dive too deeply into this feature so far. It’s a co-op system, so you’ll be able to defend your friend’s hubs and them yours.
Almighty’s other standout feature is the need to extract resources and other collectibles from the islands you visit, whether that’s resources, wildlife, or ‘Kindred’ friendlies that help upgrade your settlement. Rather than this stuff going straight into an inventory, each island features a number of portal gates. You need to perform a timed extraction to get the stuff back safely, during which you’ll defend the portal from enemies. It’s a neat addition, and fleshes out what could have easily been an automatic acquisition mechanic, adding danger and tension.
Still, despite these gameplay quirks, Almighty currently lacks the strong core loop needed to stay entertaining for very long. All the innovations in the world mean very little if the combat you’ll spend most of your time engaged in fails to grip, and currently, it’s going to need some work. That’s what Early Access is for, though!
There’s the potential for something genuinely interesting to emerge here, especially with how satisfying the boundy-leapy-floaty already is. I also appreciate that Almighty seems to have a vision that has seeped into every part of the design. It certainly hints at something cohesive, if nothing else. Fingers crossed for Almighty to reach new heights, and not just stay grounded, howling at the moon.