Okhlos Pits Angry Citizens Against the Gods in Ancient Greece

When you pit a group of concern civilians against a common threat, you usually get results. But what happens when these citizens have a bone to pick with the Gods themselves? Well, this retro-inspired 2D RTS roguelike seeks to answer that question. Coming from Argentina-based Coffee Powered Machine, Okhlos injects humor and loads of quirk into Ancient Greece.

In Okhlos, you play as a group of Greek philosophers who decide to wage war against the Gods after seeing the destruction they've caused upon civilization. Rounding up an angry mob, they battle mythological creatures and worshipers of the deities in order to take the fight to the Gods themselves. Along the way, you'll band together civilians, heroes, philosophers, and even some random appearances of Baron Munchausen and Drakulous (Greek Dracula, basically) to round out your angry mob.

At its heart, Okhlos is a roguelike. Granted, it's a very unusual roguelike, but one all the same. You select your philosopher and hero classes, essentially the leader character who possesses special buffs and sub-leader with more skills, and set out on your campaign. As you march through the various randomly-generated maps set across several areas of Greece, you'll influence the various classes of civilians and warriors and add them to your group. Eventually, your mob will grow to 180-members strong, and they can all be controlled at once.

When you hear about the core mechanics of the game, it's a bit hard to wrap your mind around it. It's essentially a 2D RTS controlled like a twin-stick shooter. Left stick controls movement of your leader, while the right stick moves a cursor around the map which in turn controls the movement of your mob. Using the triggers activates attack and defense formations, while the face buttons use items that your units pick up, such as health and support items. I was initially put off by the odd control scheme, but after the first five minutes, I was rolling through the first few stages with ease.

With your mob—not an army, this is an angry mob, big difference—you'll have to ransack several towns and cities across Ancient Greece to overthrow the influence of the Gods, and it all starts with winning over the populace. While many will join you in your fight, others have sided with the Gods and will defend their honor. With your units in tow, you'll be able to destroy buildings and other structures to loot and vanquish all your foes. Maintaining your destruction will cause your group to enter a frenzy, essentially the game's take on the killstreak, which grants the group additional buffs.

As a roguelike, many of the stage layouts and enemy spawns are randomized. The developers wanted to make sure that each playthough is unique, which gives the game immense replay value. After stages are complete, you'll be able meet with shop owners between levels and spend your hard-earned resources to strengthen your band. But instead of gold or other material value, you'll have exchange members of your mob to acquire stronger units focusing on offensive or support abilities. It's an interesting trade-off, your mob is the one resource you have, and you'll have to consider what you want focus on in the later levels of the game.

After titles like God of War having popularized (and continuing to popularize) the Ancient Greece setting, it was certainly refreshing to play a title that doesn't take itself anywhere near as seriously. Okhlos feels very much in keeping with Devolver Digital's lineup of titles, which often verge from subversive retro titles to the just plain odd. It's all good, though. I had a real blast with Okhlos, It arrives on PC, Mac, and Linux, on August 18.