Low Poly Count
Polygod is a randomly generated first-person shooter with simplified controls and even simpler gameplay mechanics. Built around extreme difficulty, some players might appreciate the brutal and unfair challenge. Unfortunately, I am not one of them.
Like the original Quake and Wolfenstein, the gun is in the center of the screen and there is no reloading. Instead, the goal is to make it through a randomly generated maze while shooting the same difficult-to-defeat enemies with your weak put-put gun. Also, the right trigger shoots and the left trigger jumps, and that is it; there are no gun swapping, no ammo to pick up, and no melee attacks. You can get a taste of my frustration by watching my stream below.
Defeating an enemy will add a soul to you counter. Souls act like currency as the player can purchase upgrades at random shops in each stage. However, calling them upgrades is misleading. Instead, they are more like gameplay modifiers. For example, you might be able to increase the strength of your gun by at the cost of speed, or your soul count will increase but will force the player to kill enemies in rapid succession or face a severe penalty. This give-and-take system never makes the player feel stronger, just different.
Don’t be surprised if combat forces you to scream some vulgar four-letter words. Besides being underpowered, there is no lock or aim assist option. This means the player must carefully line up shots and lead bullets in hopes they find the target. The player also cannot hit enemies immediately below them and the level ending bosses are pretty much impossible to defeat. This flying segmented snake will break apart into smaller, faster snakes if you take out a middle segment instead of the tail piece. When this happens, hitting the small, fast moving snake will always result in game over as the player just has no chance to hit something that fast, when another bigger snake is attacking you, along with several smaller enemies, with no aim assist. Everything is out to kill you, and kill you they most definitely will.
Overall, the gameplay doesn’t really make any sense. When the player first drops into a game, literally, they are free to walk around this “T” shaped hub world filled with bizarre creatures that talk to you in a nonsensical loop. Falling off the edge forces the player to magically reappear at the falling-in spawn point. The game never tells the player what it is they should be doing, how to level up, how the in-game economy works, or even what the control are. Nothing really makes sense and only adds to the frustration. There are even poor menu and UI choices. Tapping a face button brings up the main menu (not the Start button) and the first choice is to exit back to the main menu. On more than one occasion, I accidentally reverted back to the main menu when I simply just wanted browse the available options.
Visually, the game looks just as peculiar as its gameplay. With bright colors and wonky creatures, this is one acid trip of a game. The randomly generated stages might provide endless replay value but many stages carry poor or incomplete level design. Empty dead ends and rooms filled with an unfair amount of difficult-to-kill baddies are everywhere. The player can even jump on the top boarder of the stage and run to the exit too, a way that seems like cheating. However, there still are plenty of enemies that will provide chase and unfair auto turrets can also snipe the player from far away. Also, the sound effects have to be some of the worst audio cues this generation. Picking up health, for example, creates a turd-dropping-in-water sound effect and the increasing volume of the in-game shops has to be one of the worst audio effects in all of gaming.
In my experience, Polygod is nothing but a pure frustrating mess of a game. If you hate yourself, players might appreciate the steep difficulty spike of constantly being severely underpowered. I, on the other hand, hated every moment I played this broken game.
Not As Good As: Quest of Dungeons
Play It Instead: Doom
Wait For It: a new Quake