The Indie Mega Booth at PAX Prime in Seattle, Washington is packed with awesome surprises. Among them in Apotheon by Alien Trap Games. This side-scrolling action game has the aesthetic of ancient Greek art combined with deliberate melee combat. I played through a section with enemy raiders razing and pillaging the hero’s hometown.
The single-player campaign is set on Mount Olympus. The demo begins with the protagonist trying to help his town as it’s burned to the ground. Panicking NPCs flee from warmongering invaders, pleading for help. These scurrying 2D characters help bring the burning city to life and show off how gorgeous the unique art style looks in motion. The denizens of Apotheon look like they jumped off an ancient Greek pot and onto your screen.
The PC game supports wired 360 controller as well as a keyboard and mouse. I played using the later. Movement is tied to the W,A,S,D keys while the mouse aims your sword strikes or javelin throws. Combat is fast paced and require timed strikes. Heavy, strong weapons take time to wind up, giving enemies an attack window. I battered my foes with everything from a wooden stick to a giant polearm. Shields can be equipped to block enemies attacks. The flow of battle is Dark Souls-esque in its attack, block, attack rhythm.
Players collect new weapons and gear by exploring the environment and defeating foes. The loot earned is fairly simplistic, usually leading to armor bonuses and aesthetic changes to the character. Keys must be acquired to unlock doors, ladders must be climbed while blocking incoming arrows, and so on. Navigating the world feels reminiscent of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. You can tackle mission objective in any order you choose, whether its clearing enemies out of a granary or rescuing the blacksmith. These open, explorable sections of the campaign appear to bottleneck into boss fights, which then lead to more areas to explore. Speaking of boss fights, I was destroyed by the giant man I faced off against in the temple.
Apotheon’s action is simple but challenging, and the art style is striking and original. Alien Trap Games is also planning an online competitive deathmatch mode for players to test their skill against one another. Apotheon hits Steam before the end of the year.
Note: Changed the incorrect use of the term "Greek hieroglyphics" "ancient Greek art"