App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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It's not common for a mobile game to rely first and foremost on delayed gratification. Although individual matches of Geo Gods may only take a few minutes, you have to play several rounds of it for you to even begin posting high scores or really understanding how to use its mechanics to your advantage. In another developer's hands, I may not trust such an experience to pan out well, but as a game from Arnold Rauers I didn't think twice--Geo Gods is a great game well worth sinking time into.
Geo Gods is a tile placement game where your goal is to fill 17 hexagons with gods drawn from three decks of cards. Placing gods rewards you with points, and each god has their own abilities that can interact with other game elements to boost its own point value or those of other cards. Each time you place a god or elect to skip a turn, you discard the face-up cards on each deck before revealing the next cards in each deck.
Rounds of Geo Gods end when you fill up the entire game board, run out of mana gems (the currency that controls where you can place gods and how many times you can redraw), or are unable to play any more gods given your hand and remaining pool of mana gems. This all sounds complicated (and it kind of is due to the amount of interlocking systems), but the basic idea remains simple: try to find the best way to make the numbers on your gods go up in any given situation.
Time and pressure
If you are anything like me, your first few games of Geo Gods will not go well. You'll place tiles in ways that feel effective, but without more strategic knowledge of what you can expect from the deck, a fuller grasp of mechanics, and an understanding of how some dubiously-worded cards actually work, you'll hit the endpoint and feel pretty underwhelmed and discouraged.
That's totally ok, though! Geo Gods is designed to be a bit of a slow burn, so much so that your scores don't even post to the leaderboards until you've played at least a half dozen times. Over that time, provided you are committed to experimenting and learning, you'll start to master mechanics like the ideal time to activate crystals, cards you can and should lock, and what to expect from the deck later on in a game.
Free the gods
All of this might sound a bit intimidating, but again, this isn't something to worry too much about. And you don't have to just take my word for it. Geo Gods is a free game that lets you play to your heart's content. If you find yourself enjoying the experience and wanting to really compete in the game's weekly leaderboards, though, you can opt to pay $4.99 to unlock the full game, which includes some additional cards.
The weekly challenge is perhaps my favorite feature of Geo Gods, as it gives you an opportunity each day to see how you stack up against others while also competing to play the most consistently to net the best average score. This scoring mechanic is a nice way of balancing out some of the randomness in Geo Gods, and is a big reason why the game is currently a daily play for me. It also helps that this game has such a nice and soothing aesthetic, making for a nice little escape to dive into during the day.
The bottom line
Geo Gods has a pretty significant learning curve before its placement and scoring mechanics click into place. Once you get there, though, you are left with a very pleasant puzzler with a high amount of variability that will keep you on your toes, especially if you want to shoot for the top of the leaderboard.