Gods Will Be Watching seemed to promise a beautiful, pixel art science fiction story, with a heavily branching narrative that pivoted around life-and-death decisions for its ensemble cast. The reality was disappointing: a resource management game, where your resources were opaque, success was ill-defined, and failure meant restarting scenes over and over.
I don’t know if Gods were watching, but the developers certainly were. They’ve now released a patch for the game that adjusts the game’s difficulty by adding two new game modes.
Termed the Mercy Update, the changes sound welcome. The first addition is a Puzzle mode, which “removes all elements of chance” from the outcomes of your actions. Which sounds like a very good, very important thing; I didn’t know there was an element of chance, what the hell. The second addition is a Narrative mode, which is designed for players who don’t want any challenge at all and simply want to experience the story.
For those who wear their ability to struggle through arbitrary systems like badges of pride, the original version of the game is intact via the Original mode.
I only care for difficulty if the challenge is something I can discern, learn from and re-apply later in the game. If each challenge is bespoke and the system’s arbitrary conditions only discovered through trial-and-error, that seems like a waste of time. But I do love Gods Will Be Watching’s atmosphere, art and music, so the addition of a Narrative mode does make it sound suddenly more appealing.