December 4, 2022

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Gods Will Fall review – a dungeon crawl to remember

Lochlannarg’s dungeon is nothing like a dungeon. It’s not even a lair, really. Outside, by the gates, clear water falls from one bronze urn to another in a peaceful overspilling burble. It’s practically inviting: a spa. Inside, rivers of jade flow through channels worn in dark grey stone, between little islands of swaying straw. Lochlannarg in person awaits at the top, inside a temple – I say in person, but they’re a sort of earless stone cat-monster caught in the act of having a bath. Maybe it really is a spa? Anyway, the stone tub is lofted by zombies. Lochlannarg surprised me, the first time I met them, with lightning, which I was not remotely expecting, and which killed me.

This is a special game. I am horrible at it, and it, in turn, is horrible to me, and yet I keep pushing on, returning to Gods Will Fall again and again. What first seemed like a muddle of odd ideas has resolved itself into one of the most promising things to happen to roguelikes and Soulslikes in an absolute age. Lochlannarg has earned that lightning, if you ask me. And that bath. I am tempted to slice up some cucumber for them.

This is the story of eight friends who decide to kill a bunch of gods. A celtic gang up against a range of gaping monsters. The reason for this is pretty simple – the gods are depraved and wretched and awful. Skeleton spiders and cabbage-winged moths with bony spiked tails, horror creatures, each apparently uncertain whether to dress for a day spent as animal, vegetable or mineral, and each sat at the center of a shifting dungeon of grimness and death. The friends are procedurally scrambled each time you start afresh, and they’re dropped on an island that is home to ten gods, all in need of an almighty shoeing. The island itself is beautiful in its windswept craggininess, rounded barrows and stone doorways, chilly beaches and tunnels of worked stone. The doors all give a hint of the ghastly creature that lies behind them.

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