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Gods Will Be Watching Review

Gods Will Be Watching Review

Gods Will Be Watching is nasty. A good nasty. A slaps you aggressively, makes sure it's got your attention and then knowingly smiles, nasty. But nasty none the less. It's a point and click adventure game that tries something different; less about combining senseless objects and more of a spinning plates manager, combined with a morality simulator designed to make you wince. It's good. It's different. It hurts.

Gods Will Be Watching throws you into a series of high risk situations in which you have to keep a number of unruly factors under control. The first scenario, for instance, has you thick as thieves with a group of terrorists/freedom fighters trying to hack into the enemy's computer system. You are in charge of balancing the hostages who will flee or fight if they get too upset or too relaxed; a pair of hackers trying to break the system while keeping the network's security at bay and a group of advancing armed guards who need to be kept back. With each factor you can select from a number of actions e.g. soothe a hostage or kick them in order to keep them suitably amiable or angry, however most actions take up a portion of time (it plays out turn based - sort of) so while you're concentrating your efforts on calming one hostage, another is getting ready to launch at you... and the guards which you've forgotten to keep an eye on are inching closer to the door. Suddenly you realise the guards are almost upon you, so fire on them, which pushes them back but unfortunately also causes one of your hostages to freak and bolt and while you're deciding whether it's best to shoot them down or let them go you realise you've completely forgotten about the hacker and so the security system you've failed to hold back is frying his brain. Damn.


While this plate balancing mechanic may sound - gameplay-wise at least - simple and possibly even dull, it is in fact incredibly hard and surprisingly engaging. Getting the balance right is a constant challenge and you will fail. The game was in fact designed to make you fail the first few times (it warns you in the difficulty selection) and this is where the game's strength and weakness comes from.

Failing is incredibly frustrating - you are sent right back to the beginning of a segment that could have taken up to ten minutes of your time and you are forced to go through the same situation all over again but obviously making different choices, hoping you'll get a little bit further this time. The designers have added a variety of dialogue and character development in places to prevent monotony but even that can't quite detract from the fact that you will be clicking on the same few options over and over again. This redo frustration will kill the game for some but in general it is a boon as it makes the danger of screwing up and resetting once again, truly tense. On my third round of a grueling torture scenario, when I had finally managed to survive for longer than I ever had previously, I was horrified when my captor pulled out a revolver, emptied it of all but one bullet and spun the chamber. Though the game that I had been struggling to complete for the last 20 minutes had now reduced my calculated plans to an unforgiving games of odds, I was too horrified to feel any frustration. Instead I was wholly absorbed in the knife-edge danger of it all and every time I took a chance on him pulling the trigger ( I had to  - I was out of options by this point) I visibly winced. It is astounding that a minimalist game with pixelated graphics could elicit such a visceral response from me and I applaud it for how terrible it made me feel.


Further compounding your struggle to survive is the aforementioned nastiness of the game and the numerous moral quandaries thrown your way. Though pixelated, the game's violence gives a gut punch; not romanticised or glorified in any way, the gore is disturbing in the cold, calculated way characters (and you - you monster) casually deal it out. The grimness of the violence is only bested by the forsaken quality of the decisions you are repeatedly forced to make: the first time one of your hostages bugs out and makes a run for it and panicked, you decide to gun her down, thinking that that is the only way to prevent the rest from doing the same, will make you instantly feel bad.

The music is ominous and oppressive, constantly grinding you down, but the sounds effects are the real winner and the true unpleasantness of the game. Belying the stylised art of the game, the sounds sound... real; the game carries with it the unsettling thought that someone spent time perfecting the recording of a sound that sounds JUST like teeth being pulled: clattering, wet, agonising.    

Storywise Gods Will Be Watching sees you following the fates of a number of characters caught up in a struggle against a big bad in a rich, if clichéd, sci-fi setting. I don't want to ruin the plot but rest assured it has twists, turns, betrayal and sacrifice - all the hallmarks of a good space opera. The writing is strong; the characters feel real, developed and a bleak, black sense of humour runs throughout. The quality of the writing helps with the emotional investment needed to really get the most out of this game, though occasionally the dialogue is ruined by characters obtrusively explaining how to play a scenario and the constant retry based gameplay upsets the flow of the story.


Gods Will Be Watching isn't fun. It's draining, sometimes harrowing and nearly always frustrating. Yet it's worth it. It's the emotional catharsis that makes this game moreish, the cultural counterpoint to the mindless mayhem of GTA that makes it important. The game will divide, I'm sure: many won’t appreciate the gameplay, the unfair randomness of it all, the repetition, the fact that it's yet another pixelated indie game, and yes there's the danger that we reviewers are being too hipster - clinging on to it because it dares to do something different. That said, I urge you to go out and try it. It's a game worth taking note of.  

7.50/10 7½

Gods Will be Watching (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

Gods Will Be Watching isn't fun. It's draining, sometimes harrowing and nearly always frustrating. Yet it's worth it. It's the emotional catharsis that makes this game moreish, the cultural counterpoint to the mindless mayhem of GTA that makes it important.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Matt Young

Matt Young

Staff Writer

Matt firmly believes that games will save the world. However, he'll never do the same as he always plays chaotic evil.

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