It really is. Warlocks 2: God Slayers from developer Frozen District came out on PC on July 18, 2019 after previously having been only on the Nintendo Switch.
And so far, Warlocks 2: God Slayers falls flat on arrival. It is a platformer character-based game where the player explores open world stages, completes missions, and ultimately slays Gods.
However, instead of taking queues from other popular games in its genre (let’s say Castlevania-esque for the sake of this review), it chooses many confusing directions to take the game.
A Lack of Direction
It is a class-based game where the only difference between classes are the attacks, so health and movement are all the same. What that means is that the character that you would expect to be a tank from appearance has as much health as a ranged character (and takes as much damage). And the different characters ultimately don’t support each other in a multiplayer setting (which is the focus of this game).
For a “hack and slash” platformer game, Warlocks 2: God Slayers fails in a crucial way. Its is a lackluster platformer experience, where maps are questionably designed:
Totem and enemies directly outside of spawn, and an invisible wall to keep the enemies from mobbing the player.
And the movement is sluggish with jumping being slow and feeling heavy.
There is no dodge mechanic, so fighting enemies is more in the manner of hacking and slashing at the enemies while the player wildly jumps about the encounter. And speaking of encounters, for the most part, there is no variation in strategy for taking out different kinds of enemies. Every encounter plays out almost exactly the same for a few small reasons.
Firstly, there is no passive health regeneration for players. This forces the player to constantly use healing items (most of which are underwhelming and/or overpriced for the in-world currency). Additionally, almost every enemy can heal itself (to full health in a matter of seconds), and enemies will heal themselves the moment you disengage from combat.
Balancing in this game is all over the place making playing the game in “single-player mode” frustratingly difficult; A single player will face the exact same amount of enemies as a full team of four players (the game will tend to increase the ‘mob’ size of enemies to extend gameplay and difficulty). And regardless of whether or not the player chooses to play solo or with a team of friends, the balance is skewed.
There is only one route for progression, playing exclusively tall. That means the player has to slowly max every individual ability before moving to the next. A player that spreads their upgrade points evenly across two or three abilities will find themselves dealing with no damage.
Loot drops are completely randomized, meaning a player can, on the first stage, get a god-tier item allowing them to demolish any enemy. However, the vast majority of items the player will receive will be lackluster (equip-able items are one of many things in this game that feels incomplete/ tacked on).
In multiplayer, enemy loot drops are player-specific and randomized on who gets the item. Meaning player one can slay a powerful enemy, and that enemy will drop an item that only player two can use.
Alongside the player not having passive healing, and most enemies having an effective heal, enemies respawn within a few minutes of the player defeating them. Meaning the player can defeat a large horde of enemies that took several minutes and multiple lives to defeat, go AFK for a few minutes, and come back to a death screen because the enemies respawned (the player cannot pause this game and the level resets after every player death). Enemies also will spawn out of nowhere in front of the player breaking immersion.
Functionally, the game works well within most areas; it runs with stability, and with minimal bugs and glitches. However,the few bugs and glitches that are present make certain aspects of the game currently unplayable.
As of the publishing of this article, Warlocks 2: God Slayers has had no updates despite having some serious bugs.
The pyrodancer is currently broken in multiplayer, and a small glimpse into the frantic jumping combat of the game.
Currently in multiplayer the pyrodancer character is broken. The pyrodancers primary attack, the very first one the character has access to, will glitch out whenever engaging groups of enemies in multiplayer rendering the pyrodancer near unusable. Nearly two weeks after launch this issue still has not been addressed.
This game suffers from a myriad of other smaller problems, however, it does do certain things well.
While the art direction in terms of theme is a myriad of different things mashed together into one game, the character sprites and animations are impressive and well polished. Indeed many animations are just nice to watch with many abilities being visual spectacles.
One of pyrodancer’s abilities and it sure looks impressive with the ‘napalm’ upgrade.
The player’s first impressions of the game are good because they are immediately greeted by numerous characters that appear unique and have visually nice animations.
Here’s a preview of each character as scene from the character selection menu:
The E-Witch, Willow
The spirit lord, Shax
The pyrodancer, Jake
The shamaness, Kheera
The dwarf rider, Cormag
All of these characters are visually interesting and come with well made and thought out animations.
The sound design of the game, while not being absolutely stunning or memorable, does fit the rhythm and tempo of the game, and complements the games in many contexts.
Additionally, the game has many settings, all taking place on different worlds that the player can explore.
The game often times leans on comedy both in dialogue and environment that does fit with the setting. And while comedy is subjective, the randomness of the dialogue at times serves to distract from other negative elements of the game.
Moments like these after embarking on a full stakes mission are welcomed.
The high point of this game, however, is its many varied and unique boss fights. Each of the game’s worlds ends with a large boss fight, most of which come with interesting exploration and interaction with the environment to trigger.
The first and one of the many bosses the player will face.
Overall, Warlocks 2: God Slayers is a game made with passion from the developers, however, it suffers most from a lack of direction. With many features of the game seeming lackluster and tacked on (equipment for example), Warlocks 2: God Slayers could have improved by narrowing its focus and theme. It’s a game with features as wide as an ocean but as deep as a puddle.
Ultimately the game is a forgettable experience with the few boss fights not being enough to hold the game up on their own.