Twin-stick shooters are usually associated with simple control schemes, with most mapping essential commands solely to a joypad’s trigger buttons. Due to starring a duo of comic book-style characters with supernatural abilities, God’s Trigger utilizes every single button on the controller – even the rarely used L3 and R3. As the saying goes, with great power comes complex control schemes.
Rather than throw players into the deep end, there’s a lengthy three stage prologue that’s essentially a glorified tutorial. As you become acquainted with Judy and Harry – a sinner and a saint out to foil the demonic plans of Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death – plenty of time is given to experiment with their numerous abilities.
The two can be swapped between at any time, with Judy able to teleport and attack using a long-reaching chain and the sword-wielding Harry able to dash and smash through brittle walls. Both can also scout ahead to target enemies in advance, allowing foes to be picked off in quick succession without manually aiming.
The stealthy approach is another option; sneaking behind enemies and performing executions resupplies energy reserves for supernatural skills more effectively than going in all-guns-blazing.
Being a shooter of the one-hit variety, death comes quickly and often. Enemies – demonic bikers and religious zealots, mostly – are quick to react to your actions, spinning around on the spot and opening fire the second you enter their line of sight. Precise aiming is essential – miss a shot and all enemies in the vicinity will make a beeline to your position, giving just a few seconds to react.
Fortunately, checkpoints are often mere rooms apart; the onus here being on clearing out rooms full of enemies before moving to the next. Every room possesses its own figurative challenges, and this hugely benefits the game’s flow, forever spurring you onwards.
With ammo limited, using supernatural powers is often the only way to escape a swift and messy end. These skills are inventive and fun to use, able to clear out entire rooms once fully upgraded. Judy’s swirling black hole inhales enemies while showing off the game’s robust physics engine. She can also make enemies turn on one another, and repurpose dead bodies as explosive traps. Later, her chain weapon can be upgraded to snatch weapons out of foe’s hands, reducing the amount of melee combat.
Harry’s powers are less centred around destruction, able to freeze enemies on the spot as well as sending them hurtling through the air. Use the force, Harry. His sword only has a short reach, which makes him better suited to firearms than Judy. We soon grew fond of the delightfully overpowered special weapons, which movie buffs will instantly recognise.
The campaign is set over five stages with multiple levels, each with a boss battle at the end. These battles against otherworldly beings are inventive too, and thanks to generous checkpoint pacing they never become frustrating despite becoming more elaborate.
Each stage has its own mission objectives, some of which shake things up significantly. One mission places Judy up high with a sniper rifle, allowing rooms to be cleared out from afar, while another stealthier mission requires the duo to remain unseen. As thing progress obligatory riot-shield carrying enemies are introduced, while a handful of puzzles crop up much later.
While the campaign is surprisingly lengthy – and both local co-op play and an arcade mode are also present – God’s Trigger did start to overstay its welcome towards the end, stretching out its story.
Another downer is that the presentation feels dated. Visually it’s underwhelming, often resembling a last-gen title, and the text on the upgrade screen is ridiculously small. The menu music – with its wailing guitars – can irritate, too, and the one-liners often miss their mark. Of course, these trivial problems don’t make God’s Trigger any less demanding or engaging. It’s a hard going initially, but once you experiment and unlock a few new skills it comes into its own. It’s a game that requires planning, as well as the ability to rely on a knee-jerk reaction to swiftly elude the jaws of death when things turn sour.
Whether you’re carefully planning your approach, memorising patrol patterns and working out which order to dispatch bad guys, or bursting into rooms and leaving things to chance, God’s Trigger is satisfying and rewarding in equal measures.