Space shooters seemed to be a dying breed around two years ago, now there’s more than you can shake an energy-shielded stick at. GoD Factory attempts to blend standard sci-fi space dogfighting mechanics with customisation, hundreds of ships and components and some unique anime-inspired visuals. Somehow it manages to do it successfully.
When you load up GoD Factory some users are going to be irritated that their Xbox 360 pad isn’t immediately recongised. Even more confusingly you need to run through a button mapping exercise that actually shows you a 360 pad and asks you to press each button in turn. This is actually part of the joy of the game, you see by doing this any input device could be configured to work with the game. It doesn’t matter what gamepad or joystick you’re using, as long as it connects to your PC you’ll be able to use it with this. This reaches out to the Oculus Rift VR system which is already mapped to a hotkey and fully supported (although not tested as we haven’t managed to get one yet).
Options out the way the game will be fairly familiar to anyone who has played a space-based dogfighting game in the last five years. You pick a ship and customise it (modules and new ships as well as other customisation options can be bought from a store using credits earned in-game) and then you pick a mode to take part in or press’ quick game’ to get thrown into the next available lobby. At the time of writing we were struggling to find games with more than two or three people in but the game is new and we were playing at odd times during the day so you might have more luck. Once in the game you usually have a home ship from which you can launch one of your two (you take two into a match) and take part in the fight. Once one ship is getting damaged or is low on ammo (everything uses ammo) you can return to your ship to recharge and hop in the other one while you wait. It’s an elegant system and the ships are never too far apart so it’s not an arduous trek to get back. Real dogfighting battles often worked like this in real life, with planes needing to rearm regularly and pilots hopping between aircraft to get back into the battle so it’s nice to see a system that manages to capture this mechanic in a sensible way. The game end when the enemy’s ships have all been destroyed or you have taken down their capital ship.
The shooting is competent but lacks any real punch despite a variety of weapon particle effects that clearly lets you know what you’re being hit with. These particle effects can actually cause problems as often the screen will be awash with neon colours to the point where it’s difficult to see what’s actually happening.
Despite a layer of polish over the whole game the lack of power in your weapons is the game’s biggest fault. It takes a long time to take down an enemy (to encourage players having time to return to their bases we imagine) and so even when you fire an impressive looking missile, you’re still likely to only take down a small slither of health. This removes some of the excitement and leaves the games feeling a little stale as you swoop round enemy craft only to lightly patter them with laser shots over and over until they finally go down. Deaths are rare, which for some might be a good thing, but it often means there’s a lack of drama in individual games.
The game’s biggest strength is the art style. While the models and textures are not technically impressive, the design of the ships is amazing and the way they fold in on themselves as they boost through the battlefield is going to bring a smile to any transformer fan’s face. Little parts of your ship are constantly moving and twitching and the silhouettes the ships create are unique and often beautiful. It’s a shame that the engine often causes destroyed ships to simply disappear and for models to decrease in quality hugely at distances because the spectacle of these craft could have been worth the admission price alone.
As it stands GoD Factory: Wingmen is only £14.99 and for that you’re getting a competent space-based arcade dogfighting game with a really unique and compelling style. It may be a little rough around the edges but it’s fun and aesthetically unique, for us we’d say that’s worth it.