Apotheon, An Artistic and Educational Gaming Experience

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By Dean Moses

Rated: T for Teen

Consoles: PlayStation 4 and PC

Video games can be a lot of things. Some are great educational tools while others are filled with violence, they can have excellent acting and well-crafted stories, while others are mindless and are repetitive war simulators. Within this virtual world of mixed bags, too few games are what Apotheon attempts to be—art. This month, a free offer from PlayStation Plus (the subscription service for Sony’s consoles) provides a unique way to play in the world of Greek mythology and learn about its history.

A Design 2000 Years Old

This 2-D sidescroller visually emulates the ancient illustrations found on Greek pottery; it is almost as though the gamer experiences the action right off an amphora (a container used at the time.) From the darkly shaded character models to the bright and highly detailed backgrounds, game developer Alientrap did an amazing job bringing pictures of the past to life. While exploring the environments, the player may swim in water that appears to be a hand painted masterpiece come alive, or travel through archaic cities drenched in beams of sunlight. This artistic world is also an open one, with the player deciding where to go and who to see at his or her own pace.

A Tale Of A Doomed City And A Hero Of Humanity

The game opens with the hero, Nikandreos lying amidst a ruined city wrought with fire and destruction. Soon he learns the reason for his, and his fellow Greeks’ plight—the Gods. The deities of the ancient world have decided to abandon the human race, hence all the damage to the antique real estate. Luckily for the rest of humanity, Nikandreos is not going sit idly by and watch his home get obliterated. With your help he must travel to Olympus and defeat the Gods in combat before they finish wreaking their havoc on earth.

There are plenty of ways to best these divine beings thanks to the plethora of weapons obtainable throughout the game, swords, shields, lances, bows, firebombs and many more historic armaments can be used to defend our hero from all manner of unearthly attacks. The weaponry can also be upgraded to pack a more powerful punch; something that will greatly help as the battles with the Olympians ensues. Sadly a drawback to traversing the celestial domain can be the lackluster controls, Nikandreos can be somewhat unresponsive to commands and may even get stuck in walls and floors for a few seconds in midst of a conflict.

A Wealth Of Knowledge

Fighting is not all this game has to offer. The gamer may also pick up some interesting facts about Olympus and the individuals residing there. Stone structures are scattered throughout the realm, each one with quotes from Greek writers, such as Homer. These monoliths not only help players to better understand the world they have entered, but to also educate those who may not be familiar with the mythology. All in all, Apotheon is a game with an unequaled art style, beautiful environments to discover and the ability to allow the user to learn. Although uninspiring controls tragically holds the game back, that should not stop you from playing a work of art. Also free this month for PlayStation 4 is Transistor, an RPG game where the gamer plays as a singer whose voice has been stolen and now must use a talking sword to help her though her journey.