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Good Goliath Review: Painfully Simple Giants

Good Goliath Review: Painfully Simple Giants

Good Goliath has you playing the role of a, well, Good Goliath. If you’re curious about whether this game is good, you’ll just have to read our review below.

You’ve fallen from your home and landed on a world full of really angry short people who want to hurt you because they’re intensely jealous of your ability to reach the top shelf. As such, they’ve all decided to throw pitchforks, barrels, and wagon wheels at you.

You, being the Goodest of Goliaths, only defend yourself by catching the things they throw at you and tossing them back where they came from. That’s the basics of Good Goliath, and honestly, it’s the vast majority of the gameplay. There are a few other little mechanics sprinkled throughout the levels, but you’ll mostly just be doing a bit of the old catch and release.

VR has come a long way since its inception. We’re long past basic tech demo-style experiences that show off the cool way you can use your hands in VR like catching objects and throwing them. Well, at least, that’s what I thought. Clearly, I’m wrong though because as much as Good Goliath has its moments, it rarely feels like more than a very basic demo of what VR can do.

Your hand movements are limited to moving them around and opening and closing them. Those are your interactions. For example, you can’t point; I know it’s an odd complaint, but come on, we can do better here. You just catch the things thrown at you and throw them back. Sometimes you catch a bowling ball, sometimes you catch a cannon, but there’s so little aside from the basic actions that it’s hard to even justify the differences.

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Even your defensive options are very basic; you just make sure you move your head out of the way. It’s fine to have simple controls, but you can’t even move. The whole thing just feels a little bit bare-bones. The good news is that I’m pretty sure the character model is two disembodied Rayman hands and a big old beer belly, at least that’s what the shadows show.

It’s not that Good Goliath is bad, just that there isn’t much going on. I ended up finding my own entertainment in several levels. I tried catching every single halberd thrown at me in a flurry at one point, it went fairly well, but I did end up pulling a couple out of my chest. I also kept one of the knights I caught alive to slap him in the face occasionally and use him as a shield, that went a lot better.

My favorite thing to do was to catch a weapon thrown at me and then use it to strike the others out of the sky like Zorro. It didn’t advance the game at all, and there was no reward for doing so, but it was cool, and sometimes you have to make your own fun.

The one thing that is genuinely great in Good Goliath is the boss fights. Each one feels like the best kind of throwback to the classic era of video game bosses. You have multiple stages to work through with an ever-increasing number of things to dodge, weapons to catch, and trick shots to land. The game is never better than when you’re fighting some monstrous enemy, and that’s the case with the bosses.

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The writing is also quite entertaining. The narrator does a good job of keeping your attention and has a wonderful tone of voice for this kind of work; he also does a good job when it comes to comedic timing, allowing for some funny, if somewhat predictable, story moments.

It’s entertaining, and it’s fun at points, but it’s all so very basic. The interactions don’t match up to those available in so many VR titles, and I don’t even mean Half-Life: Alyx, that would be an intensely unfair comparison. I mean other indie titles, the smaller ones. Good Goliath has been designed to be easy to play and good for new users, and it is, but that doesn’t necessarily mean things have to feel so sparse when it comes to the gameplay.

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