Also available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, Switch, and Windows
Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 01/20/2022 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
Three of my favorite things are scifi settings, mythology-based stories, and the horror genre. Apsulov: End of Gods brings all three together in one fairly well-made gaming experience. It was on sale on Amazon recently, and when I saw the cover art and read a synopsis of the game, I knew I had to jump on it.
The basic premise of the game is that in the late 2020s, a company exploring the various realms mentioned in Norse mythology by exploiting the roots of Yggdrasil meets with sudden disaster. You wake up confused and unable to speak as a robotic surgical suite performs a bizarre “enhancement” surgery on you to give you “Sight,” an ability to see what can’t normally be seen. This isn’t quite as cool as it sounds as it’s really just runes on the wall and VERY slightly improved vision in the dark. And there is a LOT of dark. That’s my biggest complaint with the game; it’s too damn dark. You can’t see anything for most of the game. I get that darkness is part of the horror aesthetic and vibe, and that seeing everything is going to make a game much less spooktastic, but when you legitimately can’t see where you’re going for a solid 80% of the game, it gets to be a bit much and more frustrating than scary.
Visually, the game looks great. There’s an awesome blend of scifi and mystic aesthetics that brilliantly accents the nature of the game. As for the horror gameplay, most of the game feels very similar to Outlast, but it’s not a perfect analogy as you’re not totally defenseless. You get a means to defend yourself, but the energy for it gives opportunity to replenish very sparingly, and you also need that energy to unlock some doors, so the “to fight or to run” choice becomes critically important. As you progress through the game, you’re eventually faced with enemies that you really need to fight, so you’ll want to use that energy sparingly.
The story itself is overall good, but it does assume some basic knowledge of Norse mythology. Not a lot, mind you, but you’ll need a rudimentary baseline to fully appreciate and understand the story. Apsulov is a worthwhile game for Norse mythology junkies or big fans of the horror genre, but if you’re not one of those two, it’s a harder sell. The extreme darkness in most of the game is definitely excessive and to the game’s detriment, but it doesn’t outright ruin it as long as you’re patient. It’s definitely not as shallow a horror experience as Five Nights at Freddy’s, but just don’t go into it expecting something as solid as Outlast, SOMA, or Resident Evil.