Monday, 27 May 2024

Apotheon: A Beautiful and Engaging Greek Mythology Adventure

Explore the immersive world of Apotheon, a video game inspired by Greek pottery art.

Upon witnessing the beauty of Greek pottery art at a museum, I couldn’t help but envision it as a captivating video game. To my surprise, Apotheon had already brought this idea to life with stunning execution. The game’s Metroid-inspired design showcases intricate characters and environments that reflect the textures of handmade pottery.

A Unique Twist on Greek Mythology

Apotheon goes beyond its visually appealing aesthetics and offers a captivating storyline. The game begins with Zeus, the head god, forsaking humanity and persuading other deities to follow suit. Without their benevolence, the Earth and its inhabitants face certain demise. Our hero, Nikandreos, teams up with Zeus’ vengeful wife, Hera, to challenge the gods one by one and acquire their powers along the way. While comparisons to Sony’s God of War series are inevitable due to the shared pantheon, Apotheon distinguishes itself through its distinct tone, visual style, and gameplay mechanics.

An Innovative Combat System

Combat in Apotheon incorporates elements of twin-stick shooters, with movement controlled by the left stick and analog aiming by the right. Melee battles involve dynamic exchanges of high, medium, and low shield blocks, complemented by a range of overhead strikes, thrusts, and low hacks. Additionally, players can utilize arrows and projectiles to achieve precise aiming or quick shots. This balance between offense and defense introduces a strategic element to combat, allowing players to approach encounters with finesse or opt for a more straightforward approach against weaker enemies.

Equipment Variety and Durability

In Apotheon, players must adapt their strategies due to the limited durability of weapons. Constantly switching between swords, spears, axes, and clubs becomes necessary to overcome breakage. While this may seem like a drawback, it actually adds a layer of offensive diversity. Players can choose to rely on a collection of reliable, medium-quality weapons for most encounters, reserving special trait-infused weapons for boss battles. With easy access to the entire inventory at all times, equipping the right tool for the job becomes a breeze.

A World of Mesmerizing Themes

Apotheon impresses with its vast array of levels, each intricately designed around the theme of the associated god. Poseidon’s realm lets players sail across an ocean, exploring various islands and venturing into underwater cave networks in search of hidden treasures. Ares’ temple is drenched in rivers of gushing blood, where its savage inhabitants are locked in constant combat. Athena’s domain features a massive spinning labyrinth filled with traps and intricate puzzles that require both dexterity and wit. One standout area is Artemis’ forest, teeming with rare creatures to hunt and culminating in a creative boss battle. In a hunting challenge, players take turns as both the hunter and the hunted, alternating between human and deer form. This constant variety prevents the game from becoming monotonous, always leaving players eager for the next surprising stage.

Seamless Navigation with a User-Friendly Map

Apotheon boasts an excellent map system, a crucial component of any Metroid-style game. At the touch of a button, a translucent map overlays the action, allowing players to navigate easily while still observing their character’s movements. This feature proves invaluable when uncovering unexplored areas, swiftly traveling to objectives, or gaining a broader perspective on puzzles. However, be cautious during battles and precise jumps, as enemies can still pose a threat in this view.

A Few Minor Hiccups

While my playthrough of Apotheon was immensely enjoyable, I did encounter a couple of issues. During the Poseidon boss fight, he managed to knock my ship off-screen, interrupting the gameplay. Thankfully, restarting the encounter resolved the problem, and I believe these minor hiccups will be promptly addressed in future patches.

A Single-Player Adventure Worth Exploring

Apotheon also offers a two-player local battle mode. While this option has potential for thrilling multiplayer chaos with expanded maps and additional features, the current offerings are somewhat limited. Nevertheless, the rich single-player experience is more than enough to captivate players. Apotheon not only showcases an unwavering dedication to ancient Greek art and culture but also stands as one of my unexpected favorites of 2015, delivering an immersive and enjoyable gaming experience.


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