There is nothing more enjoyable as a games journalist then when you turn up to a booth at PAX Aus that you were not too sure about and then you watch the game and talk to the developer behind it and you are simply blown away by the game. This is exactly what happened to me when I went up to the Inn Between Worlds booth where they had the game, Odd Gods on display. Gil Maclean, the game’s Creative Director and Game Designer had messaged me to make sure I was going to check the game out, which I would have already, but I had been so busy on Friday. So first thing Saturday morning I strolled by the booth to check out this strange little RPG set in the best decade, the 90’s.
First of all, Gil explained to me a concept that is near and dear to my heart at the moment. 2017 has been such a good year for gaming but the biggest problem I have had is trying to fit all the content in. Most of the big titles have required me to play the game for fifty to one hundred hours or even more. My life at its current stage just can’t justify that amount of hours to play, Gil is in the same boat. He has designed Odd Gods to be about a twelve to a sixteen-hour game, which is the perfect length I found coming off the back of a game like Golf Story. This design is purely a product of Gil wanting to make a game that can be consumed by all and enjoyed without sacrificing too much of one’s family or work life, it also helps when you are a small developer like they are.
The game’s setting is the next major plus that really sets it apart from the rest of the games on the market. Odd Gods grabs you by the hand and walks you back into the 90’s and then sits there and rubs your face in it over and over again. Everything about Odd Gods screams about how happy it is to be set in the 90’s and doesn’t care who knows about it. The best example is the character choice at the start of the game. At this point, you will be asked to select if you are a Skateboarder, Goth, Raver, Jock, Nerd, etc. From this point, you will then need to select what music you ‘align’ yourself with out of options like mainstream, alternative and underground. So if you are a nerd that listens to mainstream music your character will have some very different obstacles to overcome compared to a Jock listening to underground. This is all coatings to a simple D&D character creation sheet but with a really cool 90’s twist.
Odd Gods is a tactical turn-based RPG with a very cool twist. Gil says that they have removed the element of a percentage chance of hit from all attacks, instead opting for a system that will see enemies and yourself moving at the same time instead of alternate. Each move represents one second so if you decide to shoot an enemy in the face then you will hit them, however, it will take you three seconds to get the gun in position, ready it and shoot it. The enemy then has three moves to counter this attack with a dodgy or maybe a quick stab to the stomach. This will see players looking for tells in a character’s movements to decide how to attack successfully rather than going for the long shot and hoping it works. To help with this characters can level up their skills through training montages, that is right, I said training montages, which can let them predict better what an enemy will do.
The main basis behind the story, being an RPG, isn’t about wizards, elves and the like but about these 90’s era non-hero types being forced to use time travel to go to different eras of time to take on the enemy. Now Gil has talked to me about some pretty cool spoilers and I will not ruin them for him, but all these eras, be it the Vietnam war, medieval or ancient times, all have a really cool twist. So when you travel back to the highlands of Scotlands with your blue facepaint, there will be something different about the era and you may not be fighting who you think. All this means the player will be in for a really cool, original story in a universe they really didn’t expect and I can’t wait to see how people react to this.
Finally, this is not a game you will play once and be done with it, there are multiple endings and the whole experience has been handcrafted for you, nothing procedural about it at all. Gil does explain how he does want Odd Gods to feel as difficult as some of the great games from the 90’s were. Odd Gods is a very typical looking, isometric RPG game from the surface but it is all the cool things underneath that Gil has explained to me, that players will discover that will set it apart from all the other games like it on the market. The team from Inn Between Worlds have worked on some huge projects in the past but this is a game that deserves to stand separate from those for all its charm, character and chances it takes. The team should be really proud of what they have created and I can’t wait to get my hands on it one day.