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    Apotheon: You just haven't urned it yet, baby

    Let's start with the art: Apotheon is basically an Athenian vase painting brought to life. It’s an undeniably beautiful look, almost worth the download alone. But cracks soon start to appear in the pristine veneer of this action-platformer, and after a while, you’ll feel like an antique dealer appraising an ancient but time-weathered piece of art sadly, those scars run a little too deep to ignore.

    Story-wise it’s GOW with delusions of grandeur, though a little more fun than that sounds. The short version: Earth is in ruins because the gods have grown bored of humanity. At the behest of Zeus’ wife Hera, brave warrior Nikandros attempts to take on Lord Z and the rest of the gods in order to save the world from impending catastrophe.

    This involves descending into the underworld of Hades, negotiating the maze in Athena’s palace and venturing into the dangerous forests of Artemis, sword and shield in hand, all the while gaining powers that enable you to explore farther, wider and deeper. It’s the old Castlevania template, and its familiar structure makes for perfect comfort-food gaming.

    Well, not quite perfect. Platforming elements are weak thanks to Nikandros’ feeble jump, but at least the game doesn’t demand too many precision leaps.

    Greek Fighter
    Combat is the main issue here, because it’s pervasive, and so there’s no escaping the loose controls or the lack of a satisfying connection when your blows land. The sound effects work hard to suggest otherwise, but it’s all very stilted and unconvincing. It’s crying out for digital precision, but instead it aims for a kind of Dark-Souls-in-2D approach and falls well short.

    Enemies can get trapped all too easily, and when you’re being attacked on both sides, it’s pot luck whether or not you’re aiming the right way when you thrust your short-sword or hurl a javelin.

    Boss fights fare better: with one large enemy to focus on you can formulate a proper strategy, and with a wide range of weapons there’s room for on-the-fly improvisation as well. But compared to the more refined Metroidvania goodness of Guacamelee, it’s glaringly apparent that Apotheon just isn’t in the same league.

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