Flailing limb sims such as Surgeon Simulator and Octodad have become big business recently. The former, in particular, has sold over 2 million copies.
It’s easy to see why. Surgeon Simulator is hilarious, frequently making the slippery controls and the player’s incompetence the centre of its comedy making machine. Godly Corp is the latest attempt to introduce guffaws into games.
It makes a decent first impression. It has a nice icon (it shouldn’t matter, we know, but so many Switch games make such a bad go at this) and its basic premise of being an ancient Cthulhu charged with manning a desk in a drab office is ripe for laughs.
Unfortunately, that’s where the fun ends. Godly Corp is less ‘corrupted elder being’ and more ‘corrupted save slot’.
Let’s start with the controls. Frankly, they’re abysmal. But not abysmal in a fun way; more like in an H.P. Lovecraft racist essay way. In most limb simulators (this is a term I’m trying to coin, so go with me), the joy comes from flailing about, the fluid and quick movements quickly get out of control as you lose to momentum and inertia.
Godly Corp’s controls are way too slow. You control one single limb, rather than two, using the analogue sticks. The right stick moves up and down while the left moves left to right. It all results in a lot of frustration, jerkiness and clipping, but no joy.
The developers clearly want you to laugh. There’s a picture of Cthulhu on the wall with an ’employee of the month’ badge, as well as a radio that spews ‘satirical’ messages, but it thinks being difficult is enough to bring that about. It’s not. To compound the issue, most tasks make you do two things at once. Frustration alone isn’t enough for comedy.
There’s a litany of other complaints. The loading times are long and there’s no animation to let you know what’s going on – it simply stops responding to input for a while. The graphics are ugly and inconsistent, resembling a bunch of bought-in assets flung together with often terrible animation.
It also doesn’t make the best comedic use of its own concept. The idea that you’re an ancient god with a desk job is amusing, but the tasks the game asks you to perform are bizarre. From heating the world while swatting bugs to using a laser to destroy enemy breeding grounds, the game simply doesn’t deliver on the incongruity of the mundane and the otherworldly. One minute you’re watering plants, then the next a wall opens and you’re shooting robots. It’s a bit of a mess.
A bit of a mess describes Godly Corp perfectly. It wants to be offbeat and humorous, but it feels slapdash and half-finished. If it were a corporation, it would be modern day WH Smiths.