Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Aztech Forgotten Gods is an interesting title using Mesoamerican culture and mythology as its basis. Join Achtli, a young woman who has come into the power needed to defend her city from the giant creatures that threaten her home.
In Aztech Forgotten Gods you play as Achtli, a young woman in a futuristic Aztech city. Towns are now super cyber advanced consisting of vibrant and weird neon geometries. Her mother, an archeologist/scientist has recently had her project discontinued, so Achtli decides to help her finish the final tests. What this means is using a giant glove of ancient construction that is mysteriously more advanced than anything they can currently make. Achtli promptly wears the glove, because that’s a good idea, and releases a bunch of giant creatures on the city. Although released one at a time, they’re kind that way. So it falls to delivery girl Achtli to fight back using the power of the gauntlet, accompanied by the consciousness of the God residing within it.
Aztech Forgotten Gods feels a lot like Crackdown without as many features. For those not familiar, your power glove essentially allows you to jet around the city. It allows you to climb buildings, shoot across lakes, and fight baddies (who appear as sort of mechanical enemies). There are also these pedestals scattered throughout the city. These pedestals either activate a battle challenge, a race, or give you a bit of info on one of the giant enemies. Movement around the city is certainly interesting, as you’ll almost constantly be using your glove to jet around the city. Be careful though, because you only have a limited amount of energy. You have to land, grab a ledge, or perform a similar action to start regenerating your glove energy. This same energy is used for attacking, as well as performing special moves.
Combat plays out in an interesting mix of bullet hell-esque style and a “quick time event” type deal. As you are fighting the giants, there are usually certain gimmicks to the fights you need to be aware of. Perhaps you need to destroy a shell or maybe you need to slam certain switches, for instance. Once you’ve performed your gimmick, a weak point will appear on the giant. You must avoid these spheres with holes in them, threading through the holes, so you can get close enough to the weak point to start an attack. Each normal attack has a sort of quick time event sort of deal, where you time button presses while circles converge. Do enough damage to the giant, and you’ll take it down.
One thing to mention is that there aren’t really any “stages” in the game, just boss fights book ended by plot points and whatever exploration you decide to do yourself. Between the boss fights, plot points aside, you can partake in the races or combat challenges, which are varying levels of difficulty, generally wholly unrelated to much skill actually involved. Let’s start with the combat challenges. These are pretty basic, transporting you to a field where enemies spawn. You have a time limit to kill them all.
The time limit is the only tricky thing, as I routinely was left with only a second or two remaining when I cleared them. The races are…frustrating most of the time. There is this flying drone, and you have to follow it within 60m until it stops, and then you can break it. When I started, I was decently slower than the drone, and the low energy levels made things quite difficult. After purchasing all the speed and energy upgrades, I was now faster than the drone! Problem is, it doesn’t speed up, so I shot past the drone and failed the race. There is a “slow down” move you can get later, but good lord man, it’s frustrating.
Between the giant fights you will also be unlocking new abilities, which will generally be used both to get into the new boss arena as well as actually fight the boss. These abilities can also be used to unlock some of the challenges around the city. Unfortunately for you, the abilities aren’t explained super well, and can sometimes require a lot of practice to understand. For instance, a very early ability is a sort of charged punch. Apparently, you don’t need to charge the punch to do an attack on an enemy. I didn’t figure this out until the very end of the last boss fight. Do you have any idea how annoying it is to try and time a charge as you’re slowly falling/flying in a direction with no auto targeting? And while the enemy is moving? Aiming for a very small area? Really tough.
Well some of the boss fights can be fairly frustrating, depending on skill level, you do have access to two aspects to help you out. The first is an upgrade station in town, where you can have somebody upgrade the mysterious and highly advanced gauntlet you’re wearing, despite nobody being able to replicate it. Don’t question it. These upgrades could be health or energy increases, upgrading your moves, or adding different aspects to abilities. Your other tool is a healing ability, which will recharge slowly, and will slowly heal a portion of your health. While the upgrades cost a sort of in-game currency collected from enemies, I didn’t really find myself in too much need to go farming for money at any point. Pro tip, energy can be VERY useful during the longer boss fights.
As much as I rather enjoyed Aztech, it definitely has its fair share of issues. It feels a little unfinished, as if a lot more was planned that never happened. You only need to complete maybe half the challenges for enough resources to get you through the game. The city feels like there was supposed to be more planned in it with little bits here and there still feeling off. I just got the overall impression that the available tasks and city exploration should have had more to it.
Oh, did I mention there is no upwards bounds on the play area? You can literally just keep going up. I managed to do this early on, where I shot straight upwards and went so high the map disappeared from the rendering distance. I then literally fell for 5 minutes to get back in range. On the plus side, all the bonus and main objectives have these glowing light pillars indicating where they are, so at that height they were easy to see and make note of as I came back down.
Another issue I had was that, despite the storyline implying the giants are going to, like, eradicate the town or something, the amount you do between fights makes the pacing fall flat a little. It’s like saying “Oh no, there’s a giant in the volcano going to rain ash down on the city!” Which is very dangerous I’d like to point out, but is promptly followed by racing a few drones around the city, looking for the free “memory” tokens. Maybe buying an upgrade or two, and only then dealing with the volcano problem.
Before I wrap up here, there are a few miscellaneous items to go through. First of all, the game looks like it’d be at home in the mid to late PS2 era. Wonderful for nostalgia, but the younger audience may not be too excited about it. The combat and movement are largely fine, but there are a few occasions where you want a little more precision in your movement that the game just doesn’t provide. Also, the storyline is…well, it’s rather decent for the most part, a little cliché here and there, but largely pretty good. My only real complaint is right at the end where I was questioning the in-game laws of electricity, because there was a simple solution to a problem that nobody had the common sense to consider. Apart from that though, I thought it was a well planned out game, story-wise at least.
In conclusion, Aztech Forgotten Gods is a fun title with a cool movement and combat idea that was implemented fairly decently. The game isn’t very long, but is full of a charm that is quite nice to see. While there are a few technical issues and a lack of explanation for some of the abilities you get, Aztech Forgotten Gods was still quite enjoyable.Score: 7.5 / 10