Game Review #362: The Savior's Gang (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Chad M.
Developer: Catness Games
Publisher: Catness Games
Category: Action, Adventure, Other, Puzzle
Release Date: 6.4.2019
Price (at time of review): $4.99
Buy The Savior’s Gang from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
I’m Gonna Burn in Hell For This One!
As a young man, I would often go to church with my grandma. I wouldn’t say my family or myself were overly religious, but we definitely followed the moniker of the stereotypical Christian family that rarely went to church. We talked openly about Christianity, but really only went to church for Easter and Christmas.
I’d never played a game that made me feel like the flames from Hell were creeping up behind me—not even through Dante’s Inferno, even when the demon babies came out and I had to slaughter them—but today’s game definitely made my back get warm, like the flames were incoming. Catness Game Studios, based out of Spain, developed HIVE: Altenum Wars as their freshman effort, and now their second and newest game, The Savior’s Gang, has me a little worried I’ll be struck by lightning.
Come On, Dad! Let Me Back In!
You may have heard this story before, or at least a version, as this one takes liberties like no other. The Romans capture and crucify “JC”—The Lord and Savior—and before he draws his last breath, he warns the Roman’s, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”
Yeah, we’re just getting started and JC is already quoting STAR WARS! So, you should know the type of ride you’re in for, and maybe this’ll set proper expectations. From here, The Lord and Savior ascends to Heaven, but unfortunately, he’s been locked out and is now stuck in the mortal world, leaving him asking his dad, “WTF, Dad?!”
At this point, all the followers that had condemned him publicly now show remorse and believe in The Savior again. Now JC appears to them, telling them he will guide them from here on. The only problem is that JC’s dad, God—an almighty pigeon—sees The Savior’s death as unfair, which unleashes a series of traps, disasters, and dangers all over the world. The Savior must negotiate with his father to stop these catastrophes and save only his worshipers from all of these evils and try to get out of limbo to recover his power. To achieve his goals, he will have his good friend Stan and the not-so-divine intervention of his Mother and Step-father.
Yea, I Walk Through the Valley of Death
The Savior’s Gang is an adventure puzzle game that has you in the role of The Savior, JC, who will take control of his flock and lead them through stages filled with dangerous obstacles. While playing, you’ll see that the screen’s top left corner displays the stage name you’re currently on, top right corner has the remaining time—as each stage is given an allotted amount of time—and the bottom right corner shows the number of souls/worshipers you have to command through the levels.
As each level begins, you take the left stick to control your flock of worshipers, and right stick moves the camera to allow better angle views—more on these camera angles later on. Every level is sprinkled with traps throughout, like trees that fall over when you near them, and rotating blades. You’ll find buttons you can walk over to activate, which will stop certain traps like the saw blades or spikes that shoot out of walls. You’ll also find puzzles with which you interact, like activating a button that’ll drop a giant wooden box that you have to push over to a large pit of spikes in order to pass over the pit safely.
It’s inevitable that you’re going to lose followers over the long stretch, especially when the level difficulty ramps up, but you can find golden goblets—which I can only assume are holy grails—and by obtaining these, you will regain fallen worshipers, prompting them to slam back down to the earth, ready to re-join the flock. You can also grab white lights that add time to the clock; and keep an eye on the clock, because if it runs out, your worshipers die, and you lose the level. Luckily, you can just jump back in and try again, but, unfortunately, you have to start from the beginning of that level—and as you go, they become rather long.
Hello, God? Are You There?
Worshipers will stop to pray, and this had me chuckling. You hear a dial tone and a phone ringing as they attempt to connect to God’s call center. While moving through the levels, you see text message conversations happening between JC and his family and friends. The one that had me laughing a little too hard was “Stan”, or as we know him, Satan. He will cut it up with JC from time to time like they’re old buddies, and he bears a striking resemblance to President Putin of Russia.
When you lose worshipers along the way, the soul counter on the bottom right—which also has a picture of The Savior—will change to show how upset or dismayed he is with the performance. When you finally do reach “The Light”—which is the end of each level—you’ll be graded by the man upstairs and rewarded points, and these points can be taken to the Devil’s Market in the menu to buy perks, which help you out on your journey.
The one thing that really bothered me—and, as I mentioned before, I’d retouch on this—were the camera angles. There were times I’d run through a very tight area where I had to be very precise with my movements or I’d lose a ton of worshipers, and the camera would totally sabotage me and go from isometric bird’s-eye to an extremely close zoomed-in shot that would make the deaths feel very cheap, as you couldn’t see a thing. This isn’t something I ran into a lot, but when I did, it was very annoying, and would sometimes make me lose the rest of my worshipers, sending me back to the start of the level. This, again, felt cheap, but didn’t happen all the time or on every level. Overall, I had a lot of fun watching my worshipers be dismembered, crushed, burned, drowned, infected, and skewered—among many other horrible tragedies—every time I’d make a mistake.
Audio & Visuals
The music is mostly done with strings, and it plays it a little too safe, as it was very forgettable, and one of the only things that didn’t leave an impression; though, I will say that the sound effects and the small little bits of voiceover where worshipers begin to freak out and say things only added to the hilarity of the game.
The visuals were the opposite of the music. Anytime I play an indie Switch game and it’s not pixelated I get excited, and it’s already a plus, as I think we need more games trying to do their own thing and standout. Now, saying that, I really do think the game has a nice solid look, with levels that go from woods, deserts, mountains, and more.
Also, the art varies from in-game art, to the hand-drawn emotes in the bottom right, to the profile pictures in the calls and text conversations. If you’re big into pop culture—especially movies—you’ll pick up a lot. I’m pretty sure the Buddy Christ JC from Kevin Smith’s movie, Dogma, is where they got the profile picture for JC in the game. All of it looks great and is well-crafted.
It’s A Wrap!
I had a lot of fun with The Savior’s Gang—and laughed a little too much! The game was, at times, a tough puzzler, even though some deaths felt cheap. I can see myself playing this one again, and for a budget title that you’d usually play once and never touch again, this title exceeded expectations. The Savior’s Gang is a budget title, coming in at only $4.99 in North America, and for that price, you’ll have to have this one in your collection; but buyer beware: you may burst into flames!
Buy The Savior’s Gang from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Catness Games