Few games come out of nowhere and completely knock my socks off and God's Trigger is a perfect example of this very rare breed.
God's Trigger has you and a friend control an angel named Harry and a demon named Judy and it's your job to deal with the approaching apocalypse. Along the way, you'll encounter the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Pestilence, Famine, War, and Death) within a variety of lengthy stages. The core gameplay is incredibly unique in that it's a cooperative top-down twin-stick shooter where 1 hit can kill you. Some may compare this to Hotline Miami but it's really its own unique concoction. Each character has a melee and dash move as well as an array of special abilities that require energy to use. Also, dashing as Harry breaks through walls while Judy can warp through gates. You can also pick up projectile weapons which adds a fun dynamic to the action. I'm only scratching the surface so let's talk variety.
The campaign in God's Trigger consists of 5 chapters that are surprisingly lengthy considering how packed they are with action and clever situations. The basic gameplay involves stealthily killing enemies or rushing them head-first and hoping for the best. In certain desperate segments, time will slow down thus allowing you to dodge clouds of bullets and hack and slash up enemies as effectively as possible. However, it's not all intense combat as there are tons of rewarding puzzles to figure out, many of which require both players to work together. For example, they can be as simple as having Judy move ahead past a gate to open a door for Harry or as tricky as working through a trap-filled maze while carefully ricocheting the very cool Bouncing Blades off walls to defeat enemies. Speaking of enemies, they come in many varieties such as large club-wielding foes and priests that resurrect any defeated adversaries.
I played through God's Trigger with my wife and although we play a ton of games together, it's extremely rare when we play something that's so engaging that we don't want to put it down even after playing it for hours. I must admit, she's way better than I am at the game so I thanked my lucky stars that it grants you the ability to revive each other and the revival items are quite common. Also, the checkpoints are placed at perfect spots so you'll have to play a little bit over again but never an annoying amount. However, one irritating aspect is that some segments require trial and error in order to pass. For example, a room might unexpectedly fill with enemies then you end up dying within seconds. After trying again, you'll be more prepared but it is annoying that it basically forces you to try again.
Finally, allow me to discuss how much replay value God's Trigger has. For starters, you can collect naughty magazines within the stages which act as the main collectible and you can browse through them in a gallery if you really want to ogle some scantily clad ladies. The coolest aspect is the experience system where you level up the more you play which unlocks stat boosts and new special abilities. This system carries over between the campaign and arcade modes which is just awesome. Oh, right; the arcade mode is simply a collection of survival challenges within 8 distinct environments where you try and achieve the highest score possible. I should mention that you can play solo but God's Trigger is clearly built for 2 players so you'll have a much more enjoyable time with a friend.
Before wrapping this review up, I wanted to discuss the graphics. I absolutely love the detailed stage designs set in unique environments. That being said, the 3D character models are lacking and look like they belong in a PS2 game. I mean, they don't have to be detailed considering the camera is pulled back so far but they certainly look silly in the cutscenes. I did enjoy the characters' voice acting, though, and the soundtrack is definitely rockin' stuff that amplifies the action. Plus, the sound effects are very gratifying.
God's Trigger is the best twin-stick shooter that I've ever played. With tons of variety and cooperative gameplay that's as rewarding as it is exhilarating, I simply can't recommend this indie masterpiece highly enough.
- + Action-packed co-op twin-stick shooting gameplay that's supremely enjoyable
- + Tons of variety and clever puzzles
- + Impressive amount of replay value
- - Some parts require trial and error
- - Character models aren't very detailed