Review: Apotheon

About this Game

Apotheon

Publisher

Alientrap

Developer

Alientrap

Release Date

February 3, 2015

Console

PlayStation 4

Time to Plat

12h

Platinum Difficulty

Easy

Online Trophies?

No

Difficulty Trophies?

Yes

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Who put the “Plat” in “Platiator”?

Apotheon came out way back in 2015 and, not too long after it’s release, we were given it for PS Plus. This came about within a miserable drought of good PS Plus games for Playstation 4 and so I admittedly didn’t give it much of a chance. I played it for about 5-10 minutes and then threw it to one side exclaiming that it was more PS Plus trash.

This was long before I started trophy hunting, however, and so had it come out recently I would have taken a quick look at that 12-hour plat estimate and played it from beginning to end no issue. After all, one of the joys of being a Trophy Hunter is that you often give games the time they deserve – as detailed in our post titled Top 5 Reasons to Become a Trophy Hunter – and Apotheon is one of the games I’m glad I gave a chance to.

Apotheon Review

Unique Greek Technique

Apotheon’s art style is perhaps it’s most prominent USP. The whole game is designed to look as though it is a traditional greek illustration upon the side of clay pottery. 

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The game’s very first moments.

Immediately what springs to mind are various sequences in the Disney movie “Hercules”, within which the story is expedited via a similar art style and a trio narrating the tale, who do so musically with such memorable lyrics as “Who puts the Glad in Gladiator? HER. CU. LES”. 

That dumb subtitle is making more sense now, isn’t it? Well, pity me, for that song has been stuck in my head ever since I thought of the “joke” this morning.

What I found particularly pleasant about Apotheon’s approach is their use of bump mapping to make it really feel like it is actually moving art upon a vase of some sort. I do think that the UI, text-boxes, information pop-ups and transparent map all ruin this effect but it is understandable that they were necessary for the game.

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The pottery texture is particularly prominent in scenes like this one.

I would also like to have seen them expand on this style more. Maybe add to the effect by having each area actually tied to a mural or vase in some way, with cracks and damage in the pottery/wall actually becoming obstructions you need to find your way around. Maybe a handle on the side of a large vase is an impassable object. Maybe transitions between rooms could be shown by the camera moving from one piece of pottery to another.

This is all just my imagination running away with the idea and I do think the style is effective on its own, but perhaps if they ever make a sequel it could be improved upon in this way.

God of War 2D

I guess I’m reaching a little with that subheader. The game is like God of War in as far as you are a human who is fighting Gods. Greek gods in particular, and similarly they are also cruel and ruthless here. 

Other than that, the gameplay is entirely different. It’s a side-scrolling platformer and an RPG with pretty simple combat, all things considered. I just have one gripe when it comes to the controls and that is the aiming system.

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Being beset on all sides like this would be a great opportunity for ranged weaponry, but I never used them because of how frustrating they proved to be.

You can use to aim your melee/ranged weapons when attacking but it’s typically not required as the character Nikandreos will usually automatically lock-on to any nearby threat. Which is a damn good thing because the aiming in this game is horrendous. You must hold in the direction you want to aim or Nikandreos will default back to looking forward, but the cursor is constantly fighting you to snap at a 45-degree angle, so if the angle you need is just below or above that, it’s near impossible to line the shot up correctly. I can’t tell you how many times I ran out of arrows because I was trying to hit a target which required precision aiming with a system that doesn’t allow for it.

When I say I ran out of arrows, that probably doesn’t sound that shocking, but there are mountains of different ranged and throwable melee weapons in the game. There’s a durability system in place, so after so many uses a melee weapon will break, which can obviously be a bit annoying, but the game gives you so many weapons that you’re basically just Deadpool if he didn’t leave his duffel bag in the taxi.

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Alongside the tools there are potions, bags of summoning dust, shields, bombs and much more.

It’s a simple system but is highly effective at keeping the gameplay fresh. Fighting with different weapons requires different considerations, your distance from the enemy, the speed you attack, the arc of your attack. Which, okay, is pretty standard and is an absolute given with most games but the fact that the weapons break so easily means you are constantly changing weapon. 

It’s not like most games where you can pick a particular weapon and just stick with it through the entire game because it suits your playstyle or whatever. You’re constantly kept on your toes because one minute you’re swinging a hammer and the next you’re wielding a spear and you need to quickly adapt to that change which can prove quite exciting in some situations.

Semi-Free Roam

There are two hub worlds on your way up Mount Olympus. Each one leads off into three main destinations which are then also sort of free-roam locations in their own right. 

So there is plenty to explore. Multiple buildings to break into, side-quests to complete, optional gods to defeat. If you’re willing and able to do so, taking the time to explore each area proves very satisfying, checking the map to ensure there is no fog of war remaining and you’re sure you’ve opened every chest. Similar to a Metroidvania in a way, except you don’t need to backtrack much and no tool or equipment is necessary for progression.

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Don’t worry, not all stages are this large and complex. In fact, very few are.

Of course, you’re probably here for the fact that this is a Platinum Trophy review, so if you’re looking to plat the game, you’ll be doing all of these things anyway, and it’s really not a bad time at all.

The game is prone to crash here and there but it autosaves with every exit/entry of a doorway so you should never be too inconvenienced.

Each main quest features a somewhat challenging boss fight prefaced with various puzzles or mini-quests which offer plenty of satisfying gameplay. From the moving Labyrinth offered up by Athena to the gauntlet of mini-bosses put forward by Ares, there is enough variety to avoid you becoming bored.

My Apotheon Trophy Experience

I had originally planned to have some sort of route mapped out when it came to platting this game, but I took one look at the trophy list and was immediately somewhat overwhelmed with the number of things I’d be trying to remember. Various optional side-quests which I would have liked to do as  I progress rather than coming back to, weapons and chests to ensure I acquired… Eventually, I decided to ignore the trophies and just get stuck in.

As it turned out, it was a lot easier than I expected. All I really had to do in each area is to ensure I did everything I could think of. If there was a blue or red door on the map, I hadn’t been through it yet, so I’d head on through and loot absolutely everything that I saw. 

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Most miscellaneous trophies simply require using a key from one place on a door in another. What you do once that door is open is of no consequence to the trophy.

The locations in the game were all fairly small for the most part so this proved to be a very straightforward process to consistently keep using and typically resulted in success.

Of course, with the number of chests in the game (75), there were a few that I missed but the world map allows you to see how many chests there are in an area and how many you’ve managed to acquire.

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Due to a glitch, I had 13/12 in Acropolis which meant I didn’t need to find all 75, just 74…

Using this and the Fast Travel towards the end of my playthrough allowed me to quickly clean up those remaining chests and get the related trophy. Collecting all weapons (at least once, they are allowed to break) required the exact same process and I manage to get the last weapon I needed – a Mirror Shield – within the last level, earning the trophy with absolutely zero trouble.

Again, even the side-quests, though there is no quest tracker per se, as long as you are making sure to visit every part of the map whenever you’re in a new area you’re practically guaranteed to complete them all.

Some quests do start in one area and end in another, though, so you may find yourself going back and forth a bit but the documents in your inventory where relevant will often give you more than enough information to figure out what needs to be done for the trophy.

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The most annoying trophy was this one, requiring you to visit multiple locations to complete it. Though, even that was pretty simple.

The one trophy which might be making people a bit unsure about platting the game is the one which asks that you complete the game on “Olympian” difficulty, which can only be accessed after a full game completion and would suggest an entirely new playthrough is required. 

Thankfully, the game’s bugginess works out in your favour on this part as you can simply start a new game on Olympian difficulty after beating the final boss and then immediately load the autosave of the final boss fight from your last playthrough. The final boss will load but your difficulty will now be set to Olympian (you can check this in the settings if unsure). Thanks to this, the difficulty-specific trophy is a total breeze and the best bit is that the final boss is no easier or harder depending on your difficulty as it’s a somewhat unique set of circumstances.

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Another plat under my proverbial belt. I’m self-isolating, I haven’t worn a belt or even jeans for that matter in many moons.

Time Breakdown

Exploration

Mainline Quest Progression

Post-Game Cleanup

That concludes my Apotheon Platinum Trophy Review. If you enjoyed reading this review, please do let us know, it means the world to us when we hear feedback and we love engaging with people over the game we just platted. It’s basically the only thing motivating us at the moment!

You can follow us on Twitter @GetPlat and Instagram @platget where we’ll be sharing updates, upcoming reviews and general gripes about the games we’re working on so feel free to follow us or use it as another channel for feedback!

Verdict

Plat

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I kind of feel bad for not playing this when we got it for PS Plus years ago. All in all, it is a fantastic game with a very well-executed and unique art style worth experiencing. And with it only taking a mere 12 hours to plat, it’s a no-brainer!

Pros

  • Aesthetically pleasant ancient-greek-pottery-inspired art style
  • Satisfying pseudo-free-roam mechanics
  • Weapon durability results in a frequently rotating arsenal keeping gameplay fresh

Cons

  • Prone to crashing
  • Awful aiming system
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Gold Trophy

As far as indie games go this is pretty damn good. I have a proclivity for disliking the seemingly bottomless pit of half-finished lazily-produced indie games and was very pleasantly surprised with the quality of care put into crafting this short, yet excellent, adventure.

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About the Author

More fond of single-player experiences and story-driven games than anything else, TheDblTap has a keen eye for secrets and collectables, a skill which serves him well as a Trophy Hunter. However, with little patience and poor timing, he can struggle where MrZhangetsu would succeed.

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