Goliath combines the best parts of survival games and action RPGs. The game is developed by Whalebox Studios and published by Octopus Tree for PC, Mac, and Linux. On Steam, you can buy the game for a standard price of $19.99 or you can use this link to buy it cheaper.
The story revolves around Grumov, a pilot with a mechanical arm. He and his copilot got marooned on an unknown planet, that is far from France or planet Earth. After the discovery of the planetary system, you start to search for your pal and you get tangled in a political drama between the factions.
However, a big negative with this game is the lack of production value or overall polishing. Since there´s no voice acting and the story doesn’t make an effort to catch you besides some dialogues with NPCs, I found really hard to keep up with the plot or even care about it. Also, Grumov is somewhat of a jerk. Most of his answer are too harsh.
Grumov has a very limited set of skills. He doesn't have a lot of defensive capabilities, only a pistol that stuns your enemies and a temporal-invisibility device that is perfect for making a daring escape during harsh situations. If you need to pick an ability where Grumov excels above everything else, that has to be his ability to craft. Before we go through that I need to mention an important aspect of this game.
For Grumov to craft, you need to gather materials; this is where the game borrows some elements from survival sandbox genre. Gathering materials could have been a really tedious task, however, it is not. Collecting materials became my second nature and only for a few times it felt like a shore. You will rarely need to either harvest or make new resources since in the end this is more of an action RPG. So, collecting resources is not that different from collecting loot in that kind of games.
So, what can you craft? As I mentioned earlier, sometimes you must craft other materials that you might need to craft other objects. For example, to make the healing salve you must gather coil, which you get by burning wood. You can set a camp wherever you want. At the camp, you´ll be able to craft a number of things, including the healing items, traps, and some other materials.
But if you want to craft bigger and more complex stuff, you need to go to a safe spot. The safe spots are only in one place on the planets you visit and they are always at the point of entry, more on that later. The safe spot mainly works as your main base. There, you´ll be able to make new materials, weapons for the giant robots, and of course the titular giant robots, the Goliaths.
Besides the Goliaths construction center, there are alchemy hubs, foundries, garages. Among other things, their functions are on the obvious side. Foundries serve to melt the ore and to make metal bars. The alchemy works to craft chemicals, and the garage stores your Goliaths. Each one of them can be upgraded, to expand the options that are available.
As a Goliath, your offensive capabilities will greatly improve. They come in different materials. Wood is nimble but fast. Stone is heavy but strong, and metal is overpowered but expensive to craft. They not only have different attack patterns, all of them have a normal and a strong attack. There are not only differences between them, they also have element weaknesses and advantages. For example, for the wooden Goliath, the extreme heat of the desert planet (more on the planets climate later) will make him vulnerable to any attack and set on fire so easily while the stone Goliath gets faster with the heat. Same goes for water. While water slows down the stone Goliath, it heals the wood one. The combinations are different and it doesn't stop there.
There are experimental types of Goliaths, which can be unlocked by doing a set of achievements. For example, you can have wooden Goliath that can withstand fire. I wasn’t able to fully explore all of them, but this is where the game caught me; crafting different kinds of Goliaths is where I found the game the most compelling. It also affects the combat and makes it a lot deeper and fun.
Also, all Goliaths have their own set of abilities and defensive capabilities. Once again, this makes the combat a lot more fun. Each time you get to face a strong enemy that has a huge health bar, the combinations of the skills and the elemental factor makes every encounter fresh and exciting. And this is without mentioning the overdrive (a bar that fills up and gives your Goliath a boost) and the fact that both range and melee weapons having the same elemental rules as the Goliaths. The combinations for the combat are almost endless.
But wait, there´s more! You can swap between three Goliaths and the pilot anytime in combat, also, you can use your Goliath in an autopilot way where you can issue him some orders such as Follow and Guard.
Let´s face it, all ARPGs are Diablo clones, and you stand out by either refining the formula (Diablo 3 or Path of Exile), or doing something different (Borderlands). I´m happy to announce that Goliath does something special with the combat, something to stand out from the crowd. The only let down about the combat, it's not a game breaker, are the enemies. Although some have special abilities that make the encounter more than just hit faster to win, sometimes these enemies could be exploited. It was more evident for me with the boss fights. But again, nothing game breaking.
new planetary system
Grumov will find himself travelling across different planets with different ecosystems. Well, most of them revolve around a standard set of surroundings, such a desert, snow, forest and swamp planet, with some crazy one thrown there. Each planet have their elemental hazards, such sand storms, rains, blizzards, and etc. As I mentioned before, both the planet and the hazards affect you Goliath, sometimes in a good way and sometimes is very bad way.
Besides the plants, animals and materials, some planets are populated with NPCs, they all have their factions and this is where the story will develop most of the time. An example of the factions you encounter are the fox people, which don´t get well with the rat people. And rats don’t get along well with demons, trolls, and golems. Like I said, the story didn’t caught me and this is the main reason. The steam-punk setting is mixed with anthropomorphic animals wasn’t enough to get me on aesthetics alone, and with a disjointed setting that failed to really know what it wants to be. It just went unnoticed by me.
Also, the quests design aren’t that compelling in the end. Most of them only revolve around on fetch quests. This could be true for most RPGs, but in those, I got good writing to back it up or well something different every now and then. Most of these quests only get interesting either in combat or by exploring new places.
Looks and performance
The game looks nice. It has some great particle effects, and the art-style is vibrant, yet simple. Also, the fights feel good thanks to some great player feedback and effects, however, there´s a couple of things that sadly stick out like a sore thumb, one of that is the serious lack of polishing.
I can forgive the lack of voice acting, but sometimes some sound effects won´t play for some weird reason, and the whole sound design seems lacking. The punches lack punch, and some weapon effects sound way too loud, especially considering the damage they are doing. The music is decent, though.
Another misstep this game makes is the keyboard and mouse control scheme. I understand if your game is made for controllers from the build up but there are so many ways to control an ARPG with keyboard and mouse. The one they choose was functional but not good in my opinion. The camera just gets a lot in the way and is not easy to control. Also, it is even weirder that it uses a mouse cursor to lock the target you´re attacking, like is acknowledging the mouse but is not using it how it should.
Lastly, the game performance is mostly unstable. But from a game, this open-ended and independent is what you expect, but I must say kudos to the developers. They are active, eager to help you and they solve problems fast. Also, most of the problems can be solved by restarting an old save game, which thankfully the game autosaves always while you hit the right spots.
This is a great alternative for those who are looking for something different in their ARPG or anyone that wants to fill their fantasies for punching a wild animal with a giant robot. It might not be a polished game or even a refined game in that case, but if you´re feeling lucky. You cannot go wrong with Goliath.
+ Extensive world to explore
+ Lots of content
+ Giant robots
+ Deep and satisfying combat
+ Not tedious crafting system
– Dull Quests
– Boring Story
– Mouse and keyboard controls
– Grumov is a Jerk.