Were you seeking a two- to four-player party game where you battle your friends for the honor of awakening the eldritch god Gurgamoth with your own sacrifice? Well, you should be, because it’s one of those games that makes you say “just one more round,” over and over until it’s way past when you should’ve gone to bed, and everyone glares at you as if they are prepared to sacrifice you to the glory of Gurgamoth for a few more precious hours of sleep. Or they would, if they weren’t having an amazing time playing the game, too.
Galvanic Games’ Gurgamoth has a straightforward premise: to win a round, be the last one left alive. The first player to win three rounds awakens Gurgamoth. It’s a concept that we’ve seen many times before in games such as in the Super Smash Bros. series or in Towerfall: Ascension. However, there are quite a few things that set Gurgamoth apart and make it (in my opinion) more fun than either of those games.
First of all, the adorably creepy style of the art is candy for your eyeballs. This game makes me want to stare at it and admire all of the designs of the five different cultists (and the maps). I was particularly fond of Lilith, the pink, gasmask-wearing cultist with spiky hair.
The music (which varies with each of the seven maps) is appropriately dark yet subdued enough that you don’t get tired of hearing it if you play for an extended time.
Another important thing that makes Gurgamoth unique is the fact that all of the combat is aerial. When I got a chance to speak to developer Patrick Morgan at PAX South and try the game for the first time, I learned that the inspiration for the game had come from an interesting source: a glitch that had been encountered while playing a Super Smash Bros.-type brawl game that allowed the players to stay up in the air rather than land after jumping. The tightness of Gurgamoth’s aerial controls (you need to play with a controller) combined with the wide variety of items gives depth to a game that seems simple on the surface.
Each map has a different mechanic that allows you to brutally destroy your fellow players. As if spinning orbs with lasers and spiked walls were not enough, the items that occasionally float through the room can really throw everyone for a loop. My personal favorite was the item that splits the room in confusing ways. Activating it was just about guaranteed to score a kill (though it might be yourself who’s taken out).
Though there is some rainbow blood to be found in this game, the cartoony nature of it means that it will likely be appropriate for anyone old enough to handle the controller with confidence.
Gurgamoth is definitely a party game that anyone can jump into and have a good time with, regardless of experience with other brawl-type titles. I highly recommend checking out it out when it’s released on Steam on February 16 for Windows and Mac. It will have local co-op and full controller support.