Nothing godly about this boss-rush bullet hell.
The action-shooter sub-genre of boss rush titles seems to be gaining more and more steam. Examples like Mechstermination Force and ITTA are a couple recent standouts that carve out a meaningful place on the Switch eShop. A top-down (with some 3D elements) bullet hell, Godstrike never reaches the heights of these two, nor does it really make much of a case at all for why it would be worth your time. A few neat tricks aren’t enough to keep Godstrike from going down swinging.
A variety of modes are on offer from the opening menu: Story Mode, Arena Mode, Daily Challenge, and Challenge Mode. As a reviewer is wont to do, I started with Story Mode, which begins with a battle against a rock monster known laughably as Tutoriaal. A little on the nose, to be sure. In almost no way does this foe live up to its moniker, however. It’s a brutal fight that requires dropping the creature’s full life meter down three times, with new attack patterns thrown at you each time. Neither is there much in the way of story, aside from a plodding string of dialogue and images that play out upon booting up the game. Things get off to a rocky start.
Leading up to the battle, a few of the key mechanics of Godstrike are introduced. The player’s life meter and a combat time limit are one and the same. Each boss in the game carries with it a set time limit in which it must be defeated, but taking damage from projectiles or collision with your opponent drains your time meter. If you start with only four minutes and lose 15 seconds every time you take a hit, it doesn’t take a mathematician to know the margin for error is razor sharp. The next aspect that adds variety to the proceedings is that you can choose to bring up to four buffs into each boss battle, with new ones unlocked over time in Story Mode. In other modes, all 40 buffs can be made available to you, while the Daily Challenge can literally only be played once per day and offers a single specific buff. In addition to these perks, you can also equip up to four abilities, such as a dive for avoiding damage, more powerful projectiles, or homing fire. The abilities require energy crystals that drop periodically during fights, adding another layer to what is a fairly simple boss gauntlet.
The controls are in the camp of your traditional twin-stick shooter, with movement tied to the left stick and your primary weapon aimed and shot with the right stick (or the A button). Abilities are mapped to the four shoulder buttons, and unfortunately can’t be remapped. What’s worse is that there are no difficulty options and effectively no invincibility frames, even when using abilities that would lock you in place to use them. If you’re up for a major challenge and interested in competing for supremacy on Godstrike’s online leaderboards, by all means, but ultimately it’s a really tough sell.
The presentation does Godstrike absolutely no favors. Your character is incredibly generic and tiny compared to the oversized bosses, who themselves fail to stand out. “Cookie cutter” might be one way to describe them. The various arenas add some splashes of color, but even the different abilities lack visual flair. The music is drowned out by the sound of projectiles, too. A more pronounced and effective art style would help the game stand out from similar titles.
Godstrike surrounds its sole interesting mechanic with mediocrity, and there’s very little reason to recommend it at all. It controls fine and offers some replay value, but the steep initial difficulty curve, lackluster story, and middling presentation position this title well below others of its ilk. I do like how after the timer runs out you enter a “sudden death” situation, where the next hit will end your run, but that’s another small positive lost among the negatives. I’m eager to see further iteration on the boss rush-style action game, but I don’t need three strikes to call this one out.