There are some things that make you wonder ‘how the hell did it end up here?’ I had quite the same feeling while playing Tabletop Gods. But even with all its minimalistic grandeur, the game wasn’t what I expected it to be.
So why was it so? Let’s find out.
The game stars you as a God who has to face-off against other Gods because “the Elder God has vanished leaving a power struggle in its wake!” You are to gather your devout followers (composed of low-polygon assets) and lead them into battle across a tabletop arena in frantic, arcade-style gameplay. Set up deadly traps, deploy powerful armies, buff them up, conjure devastating spells to obliterate enemy units in the blink of an eye, all for complete control of the heavens.
Gameplay & Mechanics
The game has a practice mode, a single-player trial mode and a multiplayer which is quite fun if you go up against a friend. There’s also a spectator mode which makes you feel as if you’re watching a cartoony gladiator match.
Each match begins with selecting a faction. Since the game is still in Early Access, you’ve got only two factions for now: Humans and Undead, and just two maps: Castle Ground and Nether Realm. Each faction has troops with varying abilities and mana requirements, with lowly soldiers consuming the least mana to get deployed and gigantic destructors consuming the highest. Mana is everything in TTG – from placing traps and summoning troops to cast powerful spells and bolstering defenses – which regenerates over time as you play.
The Pre-Battle Stage
Now before the battle begins, you are given a few seconds within which you must place traps and artilleries in your zone by spending a limited amount of mana. This you must do very wisely and strategically as once placed they cannot be replaced or relocated and the mana lost on them cannot be recovered. You might end up placing them in a tactically wrong part of the arena and bam! You’re destined for defeat by the See Pee You (if you’re playing Single Player).
The pre-battle stage also gives you the option of choosing what spells and units you’ll lead into battle because once the match begins, your arsenal cannot be changed. Do you want the almighty Champion instead of the old Wizard even if it costs 8 mana units and has only one of its kind in your reserve? The choice is yours and critical and the consequences will be dire and instant!
Equip your trigger fingers because here comes the best part of TTG: the rapid pacing. Your mandate is to destroy as many of the opponent’s towers as you can within the stipulated time and allotted rounds. The more the damage to the enemy towers, the better your chance of winning the rounds as even damage points are calculated for victory, which can be quite a tie-breaker if you have an equal number of destroyed towers.Once an enemy tower is destroyed, you claim that region and will be able to deploy troops closing the distance between your armies and the enemy’s strongholds (which is a risky move if the nearby towers are still intact).
Since TTG slaps a tabletop view at your face, you need to drag your cursor across the screen as fast as you can because it so happens that you could be bolstering up defenses in one lane and the enemy units could be marching into your zone through the other. You need to remember where the opponent has set its traps because they don’t show up on screen.
Once a tower of yours is destroyed you get some extra mana to spare. It’s a minor perk if you’re losing heavily and you need to use that to deploy more powerful units. But the catch is the enemy gets a buff once a tower falls. Better try not to let them near one. One wrong move and all you can do is pray till your mana recharges enough for you do anything worthwhile because at one moment you might be fighting lowly soldiers and in the next, your troops might be on a suicidal course into the shelling zone of an enemy cannon.
Oh, and the game isn’t paused even you press Esc to bring up the menu screen!
Like I said earlier, owing to its early-access nature the game has only two maps. Both the maps differ just in terms day and night because the layout is interchangeable: two side-lanes and one mid-lane. The positioning of towers is also unchanged which should be expected because the game follows the same formula as the mobile game Clash Royale. It would have been better if we had got more maps as due to this, the game becomes way too repetitive after you had played two or three matches.
There wasn’t much to see here because not many people are playing as of now. So I told a friend to search for an arena which I had created and he was able to join instantly without any time delay. The multiplayer was very smooth without any flaw. What’s better than going up against a God who happens to be your friend!
Graphics and Performance
TTG utilizes low polygon assets to create cute little-animated sprites that run wild across the arena to do your bidding. Which means you will not experience any graphical lag at all even at the highest settings. The graphics are very cartoonish – reminiscent of Fortnite – which might be pleasing for some in VR. This fits perfectly with the main menu music which is very casual and calming.
Early Access Impressions
However hard I might try to go easy on this game, it just won’t allow me to do so. Tabletop Gods simply didn’t… click with me; a few rounds down and I was bored beyond recognition. There’s nothing much to do in this early access version other than practice. I might as well say it is one of those games that you open when you’re bored of your collection and so you play a little, say like 10 minutes, and again send it back to hibernation in your Steam Library.
Speaking of which, this game is priced at 529 INR, so it’s your choice whether you want to purchase it now and let it sit idle in your library or wait for the full version. All in all, the game isn’t bad, it’s just so bland for as it is now. I know they will be adding more maps and factions in the future and I just wish we get the option of battling 2 or more Gods at the same time. Imagine a three-way tabletop! Now that’s gonna be epic.