In short: In its current state Godus is way less an actual game than a cow clicker. It's a free2play mobile game at heart aimed at casual gamers which they dare to charge you €19 for. Unless you have some money to wast you should not buy it, not even if it is on sale.
The story of Godus is the story of Peter Molyneux asking Kickstarter backers and (later) Steam Early Access costumers for their support and money to make a god game. However, Peter forgot to mention that Godus was never meant to be targeted at that group, instead it is squarely aimed at the mobile casual market, people that would never spend a cent on Kickstarter or on Early Access games.Gameplay and Mechanics
In Godus you are a god, you reign over your own tribe, sculpt the land so they can spread and help them advance through the ages. At least, that's what the final game is supposed to look like. In it's current state Godus is kinda like that, but in a very casual way.
It starts with your followers. They should be the heart and soul of each god game, but in Godus they are nothing but animations. They have no AI and don't act on their own, they don't even leave their homes most of the time. If you want them to do something you have to click on their houses, so they come out. However, if you do that your followers will die rather soon if they don't find a plot to build a new home to hide in.
Your god powers are next on the list. Currently there are only a few god powers like sculpting land, beautify or the ability to throw meteors and you can place some statues as well. The first problem here is that most of these powers are pretty much useless outside of multiplayer battles. In the main game you basically only use your sculpting power to flat as much land as possible so your followers have more room to build their houses, that's it. The second problem is that your god powers are fueled by belief which you have to collect manually by clicking on your followers houses, on each single one of them over and over again. Later, about 8-10 hours in the game, you get the ability to place settlements which gather the belief of all houses in their area of influence which means you only have to click the settlement which makes things less tedious, but that's just a drop in the bucket.
The way you use your powers should also have an impact on how your followers act and evolve. If you are a mean god and keep destroying what your followers build they should start to fear, but nothing like that happens. You can spend all day throwing meteor after meteor at your followers settlements and they won't care. The opposite is also the case, it doesn't matter whether you defend your followers against wolfs or not. This lack of interaction between you and your followers makes the game feel soulless.
The resource system is also way too casual. You only have one resource and one specific way to gain it per age. In the primitive age you build houses to gain more followers, in the bronze age you build farms to harvest crops and so on. As you gain more of the respective resource a bar fills up, once it is full you get a technology card and the process starts again until you collected, and unlocked, enough technology cards to enter the next age and the required resource changes.
This system is boring and not challenging at all, it's just build x to get y, nothing more. It doesn't even matter where you build your houses and farms, sandy desserts are just as fertile as green steppes or icy mountains and your people don't care whether they life next to the ocean or in the forest.
This leads us to the card mechanic. In Godus you have to collect resource cards to unlock technology cards which you need to advance through the ages. That doesn't only sound weird it is also implemented badly. The resource cards you need are hidden in treasures which you have to excavate by using your sculpting power. Some are close to the surface others are so far down that you need half an hour to reach them.
Once you found a chest you can open it to get a random resource card. Where you found that chest doesn't matter at all, you can get wood under water, meat in the desert and and stone in the woods. What this means is that you have no control over what resource cards you get at all and therefore where you people live or where you tell them to expand to doesn't matter at all. You can't establish a mountain village if you lack stones or just look for wildlife if you need more meat. You just expand, look for chests and hope that Fortuna smiles at you today. That's it.
What makes matters even worse is that there are not even remotely enough chests for you to advance atm. So, unless you are very lucky you have to fight in and win multiplayer battles to get the resource cards you need.
A multiplayer battle is basically just an instanced and greatly accelerated game of Godus. While you easily wait for hours in the main game till a bigger house is build or belief is generated it only takes a couple of seconds or minutes in a multiplayer battle.
So far, so good. However, the battles are incredibly boring and not tactical at all, they are more about who clicks faster. Click to flatten land so your people build houses that then generate more people and belief which you can use to extend your area of influence until you reach you opponent and can crush him with your god powers and followers. But don't start to think you could control your followers like in an RTS game. No, no, no the only tool you have is a totem that orders your followers to go to a specific location. Place it on the ground and your followers will gather around it (if they don't die on the way). Place it close to your enemy and your followers will attack his followers. That's it, you don't have any more control over your troops. Lean back and enjoy the fight and maybe spam some god powers (if you have the belief to do it).Gems - Will there be a shop?
Once released Godus is meant to be played on a planet as big as Jupiter, we all will play online and our civilisations will act even while we are not logged in. Due to that the timers in Godus are quite long, it takes multiple hours to build stuff even in the bronze age (age 2 of 12) so does it for your people to generate belief.
If you don't want to wait you can use Gems to speed things up, just like in pretty much every free2play game. You want more belief? Spend some Gems! You want your house to be finished right now instead of in two hours? Spend some Gems. You are missing some resource cards? Just buy them with Gems! That's what Peter Molyneux calls "giving the players the freedom to play the game the way they want.".
Okay, currently you have to mine these Gems, you can't just buy them for real money. However, before Godus was released on Steam the Kickstarter backers got a build where a Gem Store was included and the only reason that "feature" didn't make it into the Early Access version was the incredible ♥♥♥♥♥torm the broke loose after a backer leaked that info. 22Cans responded, removed the Gem store and declared that there is no store in Godus, at least not currently.
However, after that Peter Molyneux explained in multiple interviews that he likes ingame stores and the idea of people being able to pay money to avoid inconvenience. He also said, that it's not pay2win.Communication and Updates
In my book Early Access should be about communication, about devs asking their costumers for their opinion, about them letting us be part of the development process.
Well, 22Cans seem to think differently. They barely talk to us on the Steam forums and we don't have access to their official forums. From time to time they ask us for our feedback but then they don't act accordingly. So what's the point?
There also hasn't been an update in about 3 months now, which is outrageous considering that Peter promised one update per week back in October. I ran out of characters...