Apotheon sets up its action well. Sadly, the payoff isn't quite what all that wonderful art suggests. As I said earlier, combat is initially quite fun. Even in its early stages, Apotheon provides to a wide variety of weapons, from close-combat armaments such as spears and "Xiphos" swords, to ranged weapons like javelins and arrows. Of the two, the thrown weapons are slightly more satisfying. Nikandreos' arm has a vicious snap to it, his thrown spears scything through the air and plunging into enemy bodies. The melee weapons are equally effective, but Apotheon's simple animations struggle to covey the complexities of hand-to-hand combat.
The action comes thick and fast. Nikandreos slays hundreds of foes as he slowly ascends Olympus to the seat of Zeus himself. But between the god-killer and the head of the Pantheon are dozens of other gods, demigods, and Titans that need a steely dose of humbling. Some of these showdowns are superbly staged. The battle with the Colossus has a solution straight from Jason and the Argonauts, while the climactic battle with Apollo is conducted in darkness, as the Sun god sneakily switches out the lights. Yet not all the set-ups are quite so spectacular. The descent to Hades is oddly subdued, revolving around four uninspired jumping puzzles. Other scenarios, like the fight with Poseidon, are conceptually fantastic but ultimately don't work due to Apotheon's physical elasticity.
Although it's enjoyable to begin with, after a couple of hours the appeal of Apotheon's bounciness wears off. I started to wish that Alien Trap had spent more time tightening up the combat, and less on the many smaller features that Apotheon offers. See, Apotheon isn't a linear game. Instead it's divided into to several hub-based sections, each playing home to three gods whom you can battle in any order. Their domains are connected by a small open area that offers smaller distractions including a few buildings to explore, and a market where you can buy and upgrade weapons and equipment. On top of this, Apotheon also sports a crafting system, which you'll use almost exclusively for the purpose of creating health potions.
Frankly, none of this is very interesting. At least, not compared to Apotheon's main theme of stabbing gods in the face. When that's the subject of your game, you don't need anything else! Apotheon's sprawling structure only serves to hinder its premise. Since you can choose the order of how you confront the gods, there isn't much in the way of a difficulty curve. The challenge escalates slightly once you reach the second area, but only slightly.
I'd much rather that Alien Trap had stripped out all this filler, focussing on the combat and the godly confrontations, tailoring one to follow another and slowly ramping up the challenge. With the structure it has opted for, Apotheon feels too much like running errands, while the unpolished combat pokes a big hole in the sense of grand mythological conflict that Apotheon otherwise succeeds in channelling.
In the end, like the Titan Prometheus, Apotheon's overreaching proves its downfall, which is a shame because Alien Trap clearly possess a wicked talent. The concept is fantastic, the presentation a treat for the eyes and ears, and the component parts for an excellent game are all clearly visible. Alien Trap just needed to tighten some of the screws, and trim some of the fat, and Apotheon would have been worthy of its Olympian subject.