God’s Trigger is a game which inspires a great deal of comparison. Have you ever wondered what would happen if Hotline Miami and Borderlands had a love child, and that love child wrote fanfiction for Good Omens? Nor have I, but I experienced the results first-hand this weekend. That isn’t to say that God’s Trigger is derivative – quite the opposite. One More Level Games have taken inspiration from a variety of sources and brought their own fresh, quirky flavour. It’s fast-paced, light-hearted, and joyful – oh, and violent. So very violent.
God’s Trigger has a cartoony, comic book style aesthetic reminiscent of Borderlands and Telltale Games’ Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us series. Gameplay takes place in slick, colourful top-down 2.5D environments, while cutscenes and menus are lovingly hand-drawn. The environments are busy, but not overwhelmingly so. The protagonists, Harry the broody angel and Judy the sarcastic demon, are distinct and memorable without being caricatures. The soundtrack is punchy, high-tempo and suitable garish (in the best possible way). Overall, God’s Trigger delights and stimulates the senses. It doesn’t have a smell, but if it did, it would smell like ozone, diesel oil, and hot metal.
God’s Trigger will feel familiar to anyone who has played Hotline Miami. Familiar, but crucially, not staid. I played through the preview – an experience just under an hour – twice. The first time was with a friend, the second by myself. Co-op is the way to go if possible; the game was clearly designed with two players in mind. The single-player experience is still sufficiently balanced and streamlined to make it a very playable experience, however. Playing on your own scales down the number of enemies and allows you to switch freely between protagonists.
I chose Judy on my co-op playthrough, with my friend playing as Harry. I found Judy to be tricky to get the hang of. She’s more tactical, with her abilities focusing on misdirection and control, and her weapon requires somewhat more finesse to wield. Harry is more in-your-face, wielding an angelic sword which he deploys with gusto. Both have one element in common; they are excellent at reducing rooms full enemies to a fine paste, extremely quickly.
Using Harry’s dash or Judy’s teleport, we slammed into rooms and immediately set about slashing, shooting and exploding dozens of enemies. We died – a lot – but the respawns are instant and the checkpoints forgiving. Each time, we learned a little and refined our approach. Plans rarely lasted longer than breaching the front door but were extremely satisfying to execute. Harry and Judy feel powerful, and learning to utilise their God-given (and Devil-given, I suppose) talents is rewarding. The level-up system acts as a way for you to refine your chosen character’s abilities. Trade speed for duration or range, beef up your powers and play the way you want to play.
Story & Writing
The writing in God’s Trigger is relatively basic – enough to get by, and not much more. The impression is that the developers didn’t want to get in the way of the action with wordy cutscenes. Their choice was a good one. Cutscenes are just long enough to give you the gist, and no more. The story is fairly basic as well. The Apocalypse is coming, which our protagonists object to. In order to avert the coming end-of-the-world, Harry and Judy decide to kill the Four Horsemen. To do so, they need to slice and shoot and explode their way to those Horsemen. Elegant, simple, and explosive.
One More Level has crafted an experience that is compelling, joyous and doesn’t take itself too seriously. If on release, the full experience is anything like the preview, it will certainly become one of my favourites. It has been a long time since I’ve played a couch co-op game of this calibre. It seems that couch co-op is coming back into vogue, and I, for one, couldn’t be happier. God’s Trigger is visceral, bloody, and maddening – and I can’t wait to play the full game.