Now whenever I hear there’s a top down shooter coming out I often perk my ears up. I grew up in an era where top down shooters were king with the likes of Loaded, Super Smash Tv and Zombies ate my Neighbours. That was until the genre became quite oversaturated and the shift went to survival horror to action games and now it’s Battle Royale. Now it’s a breath of fresh air when one does pop on the radar by but not all are impressive and lack any real dynamic elements to make them interesting. But God’s Trigger is hoping to change that.

God’s Trigger is the latest offering from Techland and arrives in the form of a hyper-violent top down shooter. It sets out to bring players a mixture of blood, gore, hellish action and some intelligent components for a more thought-provoking experience.

In God’s Trigger you play as happy go lucky Jess, a demon and Harry an out of luck Angel who’s fallen out of Heaven. It’s an odd couple set up filled with blood and hilarity. But mostly blood. Their job is to work together and foil the plans of the Four Horsemen, who have set up shop on Earth and set on bringing about the Apocalypse. That’s pretty much the setup.

So God’s Trigger may not be the most fleshed out in terms of a plot and it’s certainly not the most engaging buddy cop story that could’ve been produced. It’s a good setup but one that’s been done to death. So the developers or writers have to make sure it’s interesting in some respect. I understand not all games needs a compelling story and certainly it doesn’t need to be Shakespeare. But with my first couple of hours I felt the developers missed the chance to give us a pair of interesting protagonists, or ones that have personality.

Don’t get me wrong, both of the leading characters are likable and have a funny one liner from time to time. But there are plenty of games on market with subpar stories yet have such memorable leading characters.

But I will say there is plenty of creativity when it comes to the Horsemen as they don different attires to blend into the mortal world, yet not blend in at the same time. For example the Horseman Pestilence is a renowned star of the silver screen and influences the minds of those who watch him. His encounters take the duo through various film sets where numerous, large scale set pieces take place. It’s over the top; he’s pretty hammy and just begs for attention like any egotistic movie star would do.

Maybe the story and our leads will develop in the later stages of the game.

Gameplay wise, God’s Trigger is pretty solid in many regards. It can be played solo or co-op and the mechanics for each character’s abilities are handled pretty well for both setups. This is definitely more interesting when played in co-op but solo works pretty well too and more so if you’re looking for a more challenging experience. This is linked to one major mechanic in the game, the one hit and your dead mechanic.

When I first found out about the “one hit and your dead” feature in God’s Trigger, I’ll be honest and say I was super sceptical about it. I didn’t relish in the fact that you only had one chance and if you made a mistake then, you dead, game over.

But as I played for a couple of hours, I realised that there’s was a unique dynamic right in front of me and the developers have managed to balance the experience and create something rather thoughtful.

God’s Trigger presents itself as an all action, mayhem filled blood bath that’s all about guns and running. Well it is that but infused in it’s DNA are elements which make each encounter feel like a mini puzzle that can be resolved in a number of ways. It’s all about planning your attack or evading the enemy. There’s a beautiful structure to each area where you need to think your attack through and often rely on a combination of quick thinking and quick reflexes.

For the first couple of hours, I often found a reliance on melee attacks over firearms. This could change over the course of the game, but I enjoyed the limited use of firearms as it allowed me to use the special abilities and think about how my tactics would evolve over the course of the campaign. Plus the developers have made sure there’s a friendly amount of checkpoints throughout each mission and these are small yet filled to the brim with plenty of events and action.

While there’s plenty to enjoy with the one hit kill mechanic as it implies a strong strategic incentive, it can also become a little tiresome when you feel that rush of adrenalin and just want to break out the carnage and spill some guts. Having only one chance to make your move means you have to make it right to rinse and repeat until you get it right. It also makes no sense that an angel and a demon have only one HP between them and die with someone coughing in their general direction. Often enough you’ll also find that you’ll just die and now know how.

But don’t worry, as the game goes on there’s plenty of shootouts, explosions and mass murder but these are wedge in between quieter and more cleaver moments.

God’s Trigger is a compelling concoction of blood, mayhem, fire and smarts. It has the appearance of a dumb all actioner, but underneath the layers is a strategic brain which allows the game to branch out and appeal to both action fans and those looking for something with great pacing and lateral shootouts. Despite some flaws, God’s Trigger is looking like it could be a top-down shooter classic if it develops the story/characters a little more and goes bigger on the set pieces and set ups.

A Steam code for God's Trigger was provided by the publishers for this preview. God's Trigger is out on April 18th.