Golem Gates (PlayStation 4) Review

By Renan Fontes 18.06.2019

Review for Golem Gates on PlayStation 4

It's hardly unusual to see developers combine genres. When done thoughtfully, genre blending can lead to some truly fantastic titles. The Metroidvania "genre" essentially built its foundation by adding RPG elements to an action-adventure format. On the other hand, genre blending isn't a guarantee of quality. Far too often, developers don't realize that placing genre conventions where they don't belong can lead to disastrous results. Thankfully, despite is strange blend of RTS and CCG, Golem Gates has enough sense to pick and choose what goes in the ol' genre blender.

The RTS genre is almost deceptively simple when it comes to its core concepts. All action occurs in real time, resource management more often than not plays a key role, and not taking into consideration whether or not to be on the offensive or defensive, will inevitably lead to an early grave. It can be difficult to add a new spin onto a tried and true formula without just varying what the player can pull off mechanically - which isn't an issue per se, but it's something Golem Gates chooses to address nonetheless. In its attempt to add gameplay variety to the RTS genre without resorting to playable characters, deck-building plays a massive role in the core gameplay loop.

Screenshot for Golem Gates on PlayStation 4

Before entering a mission or battle, one's loadout can be fully customised. Glyphs, which serve as the card analogue, can be mixed and matched in a deck to create a loadout personal to the player. There are Glyphs like Units and Building which play traditional RTS-esque roles, and Glyphs like Traps and Techs which serve more specific purposes. Along with Buffs and Debuffs, deck building allows for a variety of different play styles. Simply sticking to standard Units, Building, and Traps will result in gameplay that's rather typical for the genre, but playing around with the more experimental Glyphs leads to an experience exclusive to Golem Gates.

With a lengthy single player mode, however, it's often beneficial to build different decks and have multiple sets of Glyphs rotating in and out. While the mission design more or less allows playing how one pleases, there's also a clear encouragement from the developer's part to play around with different Glyphs, most evident by the fact that different missions reward different Glyphs, one of the many ways to actually get more Glyphs.

Screenshot for Golem Gates on PlayStation 4

When it comes down to it, though, the Glyph system is a clever way of getting around the arguably tired and overdone RTS formula. Since decks are shuffled before each match, players also can't just fall into a routine, needing to adapt to what Glyphs they're given when. It's a simple change, but an inspired one that adds quite a bit of depth and fire to the whole package. Unfortunately, deck building is much neater on paper than it is in execution.

In the title's transition from the PC to the PS4, quality assurance seems to have been pushed to the wayside. Not only is the title far buggier on home console than it was one year ago at launch, load times are generally longer and the game is prone to crashing. Worse yet, said crashing occurs the one place where it absolutely should not take place: while deck building.

Screenshot for Golem Gates on PlayStation 4

Should a player idle too long in their deck builder, the game will crash, booting back to the PS4's home screen. This issue doesn't seem to be present in missions themselves (thankfully), but the mere fact that the title can crash at all is frankly frustrating, especially since this problem did not exist when Golem Gates launched in 2018. One of the worst things a port can do is create new problems where there weren't any.

Of course, as modern western game development tends to live and die by the "release first, patch later" methodology, this is perhaps to be expected, although by no means excused. Either way, small graphical and performance issues are one thing, being booted out of a game session is another. This isn't to say Golem Gates is awful, it's a fine title conceptually - one Cubed3's very own Eric Ace praised in a review of the PC original... but the PS4 port is a buggy, disappointing mess that's in need of some serious fine-tuning.

Screenshot for Golem Gates on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 4 out of 10


Although the controls aren't exactly ideal, Golem Gates is a thoughtfully crafted title that blends RTS gameplay with some solid deck building. Forging new Glyphs, reorganising a deck to make it more optimal, or simply experimenting with deck types fit so naturally in the RTS genre that it's at times shocking how well realized all the core concepts are. Unfortunately, the title is also plagued by terrible performance issues that didn't seem to be present in its initial PC release back in 2018. Load times are often long, lag is a problem, and this is prone to downright crashing should players spend too much time customising their deck... in a title all about deck building! This is a legitimately good RTS. Just not on PS4 for now.


Laser Guided Games


Digerati Distribution

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   


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