Spoiler alert! As much as I would love to rate it higher, Godfinger can’t compete with competing games. 4 Stars, (or a Jenny purr) and that’s being kind.
One of the ultimate childhood fantasies is what we would do to everyone who makes our miserable lives so miserable if we were in charge. Kind of like the book of Revelations. If God isn’t going to wipe out the world like this, he damn well oughta.
I know some people won’t like this comment because the Book of Revelations isn’t a revenge fantasy, it’s the honest to God truth. But one of the clear messages is, if you’re God you can do anything you damn well please to the rest of us and if you’re not on my side, it won’t be pretty.
That’s kind of like Godfinger. You’re god, you get to make a whole world and if you like your people, you treat them well and if you’re in a bad mood you can fry them, drown them or toss them into the outer darkness (in this case it’s called “follower throw” and my best toss is over six hundred meters).
Truthfully, it’s been a long time since I’ve been all that comfortable with the whole apocalyptic agenda thing. I know I’m standing directly in the face of my Baptist upbringing on the one hand; on the other, it’s every Baptist’s obligation to declare that you know the will of God and everyone else doesn’t.
Furthermore, Christians shouldn’t have sacred cows, especially since sacred cows are Hindu and therefore about as far from Christianity as Catholics were when I was a kid because of the whole Pope thing. Since I can’t think of any doctrine that’s more of a sacred cow to modern Baptists than Revelation and the Rapture, it’s time to call a sacred cow a sacred cow.
Every time I read Revelation1 I feel like the Bible took a right turn from Jesus and Paul saying God wants us to be good but loves us all even when we screw up, to the Book of Revelation which seems to say, God may love you but he can’t wait to drop the axe. And I don’t just mean a right turn, but one of those wide right turns that you read about on the back of sixteen wheelers; the kind of wide right turn that leads to piles of wrecked cars in the middle of the highway.
A lot of people don’t know that the Book of Revelation was pretty controversial back in the fourth century before Constantine called the Bishops together and told them to come up with an official version. The Roman Catholics loved it, but the Constantinople Catholics (now called Eastern Orthodox) weren’t all that fond of it. So they struck a deal, the Romans could get Revelations if Constantinople got the book of Hebrews.
Boy did they get screwed on that deal. Kind of like trading Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds for Moe Berg.2 Revelations may be the most famous book in the Bible, inspiring millions of dollars of film and fiction spin offs, and Hebrews is kind of like the Bible’s version of Wittgenstein. Nobody really reads Hebrews unless it’s assigned in advanced Bible study.
But this review’s about Godfinger’s retribution, not the Biblical God’s. And in Godfinger you can be as merciful or merciless as you please. You just can’t kill off all of your people or you can’t earn any more experience points.
In case this game sounds familiar, I have written about a similar game before, a game called Pocket God. But this in an ngmoco:) game, which means you should also play online with other player gods. So they had to spin it differently.
Kicking and screaming.
I can’t tell you whether Godfinger or We Rule came first, but they sure seem similar to me, except for the god part. In We Rule you erect farms and buildings, earn gold coins to shop for more farms and buildings and progress through levels based on the number of experience points you earn. You hook up with other players to earn more gold.
In Godfinger you erect farms and buildings, earn gold coins to shop for more farms and buildings and progress through levels based on the number of experience points you earn. You hook up with other players to earn more gold. Except you’re God.
Okay, there are some differences. Godfinger’s world is round, We Rule’s world is flat. And you actually get to play with the characters in Godfinger. Oh yes, and be mean. Really, really mean.
You can torch your players with the sun, or drown them with rain.
And those are only two of the options.
Some of the differences can probably be accredited to the development teams. Godfinger was created by Wonderland Software, We Rule by New Toy. The truth is I looked at Godfinger back on my iPhone, played it for a couple of days and got bored with it. The only reason I looked at it again was because some of the players who shop in my We Rule kingdom invited me to play Godfinger as well.
I’ll do anything to keep customers so I started playing. The more I played, the less I heard from them. Once people reach level 40 their interest seems to wane, and there may be a reason for that.
You can zoom out from your planet to visit other players’ planets.
The Little People
Godfinger’s characters remind me of leprechauns. Once you catch them they have to dig for gold. Other than digging, they’re a pretty useless lot. The sleep, juggle, drink, belch and fart. Occasionally they’ll wave to you and try to catch your attention.
You can also enchant other player’s characters, which earns gold for both of you. If, in fact, the game actually lets you. I’ll return to this in a few paragraphs.
The belching and farting probably endear you to the game more than anything else. I can’t think of any other game’s players who are quite so shameless. Pocket God’s pygmies use the outhouse, but at least they close the door.
You have to convert your followers. They won’t believe you if you don’t impress them with an instant rain shower or a burst of lighting.
You can’t work your players non-stop either, or you’ll wear them out. So you have to buy them campfires, fountains, and (their favorite) taverns to refresh them. Otherwise, once you wear them out, you’re stuck. You can’t do anything.
Carol found this out when she was playing. She invested in nothing but farms, her players all dropped dead from exhaustion and she had no way to revive them except to buy awe.
Characters wear out easily. If you don’t refresh them, they’re worthless.
In Godfinger awe isn’t something you inspire so much as something you buy. To those of you who have played other ngmoco:) games, this should come as no surprise. Sooner or later you won’t be able to get to the next level unless you pony up the credit card and let the Apple store earn their commission.
Fortunately, Godfinger isn’t as greedy a game as We Rule. If you let yourself move through the levels more slowly you shouldn’t feel the need to buy more awe as the game progresses.
As you move up the levels the world gets bigger and you accumulate more followers, including super followers who earn more gold when enchanted.
You start out with a few simple farms.
And grow your planet with more advanced farms, mines and taverns.
As your world grows you have to fight off skeletons, learn to terraform and earn manna, the miracle stuff of the gods that allows you to power your planet. Manna and awe are easy to confuse until you remember that awe costs money. Manna is generated overnight, and by followers who worship at your shrines.
You can also buy mana with awe.
Mana not only powers your farms and taverns, you need it to resurrect your followers from the dead. These guys are really fragile and die easily from skeleton attacks or firestorms that are easy to trigger accidentally.
This poor fellow is waiting in his grave for a blessing of mana to revive him.
A less than perfect world
The philosopher Leibniz argued that God made this world the best of all possible worlds. Your world, however, isn’t. The developers still haven’t figured out how to allow planets to enchant each other every time, and they’re quite up front about it. This means that if you never hear back from another planet, you’ll never know if the other player doesn’t want to cooperate or if the developers screwed up.
To be honest, however, the game loses it’s charm after a while. Once you pass level 40 there’s nothing new to earn. The planet may get a little bigger, your lightning more powerful, but nothing tangible.
I suspect this has more to do with why I don’t hear from players I used to hear from frequently than any other aspect of the game. New Toy goes out of their way to make sure We Rule frequently adds new shops, crops and magical creatures. Their motivation may be nothing more than a desire to get players to buy more mojo with real dollars so they can buy more game items with game dollars. At least they keep things interesting.
The only reason I play now is because Carol finally became so intrigued by the belch and fart noises that she had to try, too. So now we enchant each other. Sooner or later she’ll probably get tired of Godfinger and we’ll have to go back to enchanting each other like we did before we were married.
I can’t say I’ll regret it.
Jenny Manytoes rates Godfinger
Jenny Manytoes occasionally purrs over Godfinger, but she isn’t sure she should. Perhaps this is because the game feels like a cross between Pocket God and We Rule and never manages to rise to the level of either.