STAFF REVIEW of Cast of the Seven Godsends - Redux (Xbox One)

Monday, July 25, 2016.
by Brent Roberts

Cast of the Seven Godsends - Redux Box art Continuing the trend of retro gaming, Raven Travel Studios has recently released Cast of the Seven Godsends on the Xbox One. Originally launched on the PC back in July 2015, Raven Travel Studios has attempted to capture the fun, enjoyment, and frustration of 2D side scrolling action set back in the 16 Bit era. With a heavy homage to some of the greatest 2D side scrolling games ever created, and priced at $6.99, I decided to take this game for a spin, which ended up becoming a bit of a crash.

On the outside, Cast of the Seven Godsends checks all the right boxes that would signify that this game will take you back into your glory years of gaming with its retro feel; or if you're a young person who thinks a PS2 is an antique, then this is a glimpse of what gaming was like before you were born. What we see on the surface is stellar 16-bit retro gaming graphics and magic spells flying all over the screen; things even start to seem a little rosy. It appears that Cast of the Seven Godsends is almost like playing a modern rendition of Ghost 'n Goblins or Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts that's been cross bred with games like Shinobi and Contra; however, when you actually experience it, it's a completely different story. And speaking of story...

You play the role of Kandar, who apparently is this king somewhere, and one night in his castle while just sort of hanging out with your wife and new born child, a bunch of demons appear alongside their demon lord and kidnap your child for use in some form of satanic ritual. Armed with determination and a need to punish your A button, you set off in pursuit, but you're not alone because you have the support of the Seven Gods (Ice, Fire, Wind, etc.). It's through these gods that you, as Kandar, will master devastating magic, and you'll need them because right from the beginning, Cast of the Seven Godsends doesn't play around.

Sporting a dynamic control scheme of only 2 buttons, you can only do two things: throw objects and jump (that seems a bit restrictive but who am I to judge a king?). You can throw projectiles, which range from axes, swords, daggers, maces, and more, above and below so your not completely hindered in this fight, but there are times you'll find instances where the controls seem to lag a hair or two behind the input, forcing you to almost have to predetermine your path and plan your route. This would be ok, but unfortunately there are hardly any places throughout the game that you can just stop and observe without being attacked. Just like in the golden era of gaming, you start off very meager for strength and armor, but you can obtain God-like suits that will grant you new abilities and attacks, both on the physical and magical side. Each suit can unleash a devastating attack or ability by holding down the A button until your character is charged up, then by releasing the button you'll annihilate your opponents.

The rules of the game are simple, survive and kill everything as you go from point A to point B. Along the way you will notice in-game checkpoints, which are fantastic because you will die a lot; however, they do not save your game. You will actually have to physically do that, and even then the game save does not include the checkpoint data. Basically what I'm saying is that if you lose a life, you're back at the checkpoint, but should you have to use a continue though, it's back to the beginning of the level you go. While I understand that is how the games in the past used to be, and that staying true to the style means developing it this way, that doesn't make it any less annoying or frustrating because it was still annoying and frustrating back then as well. This doesn't bode well given the control responsiveness issues mentioned earlier.

It's not all doom and gloom for Cast of the Seven Godsends though, because if you enjoy retro gaming graphics, this title has you covered in spades. Incredible static imagery backdrops blanket each level, and with a wide variety of enemies you can almost hear the 80's roaring back as you play. This is in part due to the heavy retro synth filled soundtrack that strives to partner along with the visuals to deliver a classic gaming experience, and boy does it ever. What I truly enjoyed the most about this was selecting what God power I wanted and then letting loose with a fully charged shot as some of the effects reminded me of those days back in the Shinobi era and more. While this is good, sadly it can't help the quality of execution from Cast of the Seven Godsends.

If you're into the controller breaking frustration of the classic Ghost 'n Goblins or Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, then Cast of the Seven Godsends is right up your alley. This game will make you literally stress test an Xbox Elite Controller to the breaking point, but yet when you beat one of the mid bosses, or one of the massive level bosses, you're filled with such euphoria it's like you won the lotto. While the visuals are good and are complimented well with the music, the environments don't seem that well developed and the issues with the gameplay, even though the controls are quite simplified, hinder this game. You would think that this would have been addressed before launching on a console, but they sadly weren't. That being said, at the end of the day, for $6.99 you really can't go wrong as despite the flaws and insane difficulty, as Cast of the Seven Godsends provides a classic nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Overall: 6.0 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.5 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10


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