Game Reviews

Olympus Rising - Day 7

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| Olympus Rising
Olympus Rising - Day 7
| Olympus Rising

From early interactions, Olympus Rising seems an enjoyable antidote to the waves of identikit base builders currently populating the App Store.

The premise is that Olympus, home of the Greek gods, has collapsed, with a number of rebellious deities deciding to flee the nest and batter one another.

It's the player's job, advised by Zeus and co, to rebuild the sacked mount and win the war of the gods.

I'll be taking on this godly mission over the course of a week, reporting back with my findings every few days.

First impressions

I'm a sucker for Greek and Roman mythology and, while not particularly deep in its exploration of the theme, it's nice to see a F2P game looking at more interesting and unique environments.

It's a great-looking game, too, and there's clearly been a lot of love put into its presentation - a cut above the usual, dispassionate tutorial dialogue, there are early signs of a rivalry between advisors Asclepius and Zeus that hopefully comes into play more as the game goes on.

In attacking sequences, however, its uniqueness may not be such a good thing. Seemingly unable to decide whether it wants to be an action RPG or a strategy title.

You control your character's movement by tapping, while attacks occur automatically based on proximity. You can also summon back-up units, like archers and spearmen, and occasionally deploy a special attack.

The problem is it simultaneously demands too much while offering too little. You're forced to tediously tap to move, but are denied the enjoyment of attacking.

But these sections are a spectacle. There's also an encounter with a mythical beast that serves as a thunderous conclusion to each, complete with an enjoyably cheesy splash screen with a tagline straight out of a '60s comic book - 'Raging Minotaur: Half Man - All Beast!'

It's too early to draw any real conclusions, but here's hoping the combat becomes a little more involving as we go on. Let's give it a few days.

Day 3 - Momentum

Olympus Rising, it turns out, is all about expansion. So when you successfully lay siege to an island, you gain the territory - and its resources - for as long as you're able to occupy it.

This becomes central to the meta-game. The more islands you dominate, the more resources and influence you earn. But there's a constant back-and-forth at play, with other players able to wrestle control from you.

So you're encouraged to make hay while the sun shines by sending heroes to speed up production or hiring a Defense Fleet to protect an island for the next 8 hours.

Momentum is key, which works better for a game about war than a linear, level-by-level march to victory. You can lose ground as well as gaining it, meaning you can't rest on your laurels.

I hadn't been struggling with the combat in Olympus Rising - far from it, in fact - but I also added Prometheus to my roster of heroes. He's a pretty cool-looking guy, all chains and scars and a nice grey beard.

I've dabbled with equipping him with new armour and weapons too - a key part of the game's monetisation through random chests and such - but other than bumping a few stats, it changes very little.

A new sword might have a slightly more jagged edge, or knuckle weapons might have two prongs rather than one, but the difference is barely perceptible. Some armour parts aren't visible at all.

That's especially annoying if you've paid money to get them, with such a key part of this kind of customisation being a visual manifestation of your power and progress.

But then, it's still early days. I've also just joined an alliance, but have yet to figure out what new dimensions that will open up.

Return for the final part of this review to see how that turns out.

Day 7 - Commitment

One thing has become clear in in the last few days of playing Olympus Rising - this isn't the kind of game you can dip in and out of.

You don't have to play marathon sessions - the energy system won't let you, in fact - but you really need to be playing daily if you intend to be make noticeable progress.

It certainly narrows the appeal for anyone who's not up for that, but those with whom it resonates will likely lose months and months to it.

The problem, from my perspective, is that the actions you're performing aren't engaging enough. Something about the combat remains unsatisfying, not least because I've yet to be defeated, and the game honestly wouldn't lose anything for it being automated.

There's the nub of something truly interesting in the expansion meta-game, especially the fact that you can fund further attacks by invading Ambrosia-producing islands, but it's not quite enough.

One area in which I must make a U-turn, however, is customisation. Having now earned some quite distinctive armour and weapons, opening the random chests at the end of each successful siege has actually become a major reason to keep coming back.

Olympus Rising isn't bad at all, then. Its mythological theme is light but nicely-implemented, and it does feel notably different to competing free to play games.

However, it demands a lot of investment from its players while offering little gameplay variation in return.

How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below. Click here to learn about our free-to-play review policy.

Olympus Rising - Day 7

Enforced repetition of samey combat lets Olympus Rising down, despite some nice ideas