On the surface, Aegis Interactive’s Gods of Olympus looks like the sort of thing that mobile gamers have been tapping away at for years. Resembling city-building strategy games, Gods of Olympus has a few tricks up its sleeve that may slip by those of you who merely glimpse the screenshots. The touted differences that Aegis Interactive headlines the game with are that players can control their attacks directly, meaning you don’t have to cringe when the AI sends your soldiers in the wrong direction — as well as the fact that there are no construction timers in the game. If you have the resources for a structure, you can build it right then and there.

The changes had an immediate, noticeable impact on not only the game itself, but in how long it held my interest.

Gods of Olympus review

Where most of these sorts of strategy games focuses on players building an expendable army of soldiers to hurl into the enemy’s defenses, Gods of Olympus equips players with the ability to summon and control ancient Greek gods and goddesses in lieu of an army. This concept isn’t entirely original, as I distinctly remember it from playing mech-focused Dawn of Steel, but it certainly isn’t a common mechanic to see in the genre — and it’s one that I was happy to see included in the game.

Players start with Zeus and from there have the option to unlock deities like Ares, Apollo, and Artemis. Each god and goddess has unique abilities that can be utilized during the offensive missions. For example, Apollo can super-charge his arrows into fire-arrows, while Zeus can zap out some lightning that chains through enemies, killing them instantly. By using combinations of gods and abilities together, players have some great strategic options as how best to approach an enemy city. The objective is to destroy the enemy’s temple (or temples; each god you unlock grants you a temple for that god, making your city that much tougher to defeat), and as soon as the last temple is destroyed you win the fight, even if other buildings remain standing.

Gods of Olympus review

After each fight, resources are collected and players are brought back to their home city where they can choose to either invest in defensive options (guard towers, stronger buildings, better defensive reinforcements) or put their resources into upgrading their pantheon. While there is no timer for building things, there is a limit to how many multiplayer fights you can partake in per hour. Nectar is the “energy” of Gods of Olympus, and it slowly trickles in over time. Each fight costs a good chunk of nectar, so eventually players will be limited to how many fights they can engage in (for free) in one sitting — but because your nectar refills when you level up, you can get through the first half-dozen levels in one sitting if you wish.

If you do choose to play a bunch of the game in one sitting, Gods of Olympus can get pretty repetitive. I had to constantly deploy the same couple of gods until I saved enough gold to buy more, while I marched in on enemy fortifications that are either mindlessly easy to overrun or borderline impossible. There are three difficulty settings to choose from, but each failed to provide a satisfying challenge. Easy and Normal were all too easy, and Hard matched me against players whom I had little chance at defeating. There was no true middle ground; the game was either too easy or too hard.

That problem though isn’t really the developer’s fault: most players at the early levels don’t really think too defensively, and so their building layouts often allowed me to summon Zeus right down next to their temple where he kicked it into rubble and instantly achieved victory. Hopefully, as I progress further into the game, the difficulty will settle. But in these early stages, it’s really just too easy to win.

While Gods of Olympus may look like just another “Noun of Noun” strategy game, the varying gameplay mechanics resulted in a refreshing experience. Gods of Olympus is an easy recommendation for fans of base-building games looking for something a little different.