HEXplore It The Mountains of Godai: Honest & Precise Prototype Review.

HEXplore It The Mountains of Godai

HEXplore It series evolves further

If you have followed us long enough, you know we love the HEXplore It series from the very first volume of this amazing, unique, immersive game. The Valley of the Dead King, Forest of Adrimon, The Sands of Shurax, and the last Domain of Mirtza Noctis—all of these editions share similar core mechanics but play entirely differently due to the fresh perspective and mechanical twist implemented every single time.

In several weeks, fans of this series will be able to back the fifth Volume, The Mountains of Godai. And if you thought Mirza Noctis was a breath of fresh air, prepare for the tower defense approach to this beloved series. Please keep in mind that components you see in this video are the prototype ones, and many of them will be thicker, in different sizes, and of way better quality.

A mix of two mythologies provides something entirely new

Before we focus on the new mechanics, let’s discuss the theme first. Mountains of Godai marries two separate mythologies into one game. On the same map, we will have two city-states: the Empire of Caprakan, dedicated to Mesoamerican mythos, and the Empire of Ishidan, dedicated to Feudal Japan.

This fusion of themes oozes from every single element and component of the game. You can see classic Mayan temples and huge cherry blossom trees on the map. Among the game bosses, we have Oni, a Serpent-like goddess, Human-Fox creatures, and other monsters matching one of the two mentioned themes.

New classes and races

To address new challenges, the game provides new classes and races. The Ninja uses Kusarigama and masters both Ninjutsu and Genjustu, using ninja scrolls to add elements to its attacks. Samurai use Kenjutsu and Aikdo to enter different stances, while the jaguar mesmer shapeshifts and reflects damage. These are just a few of the many, plus plenty of new classes that will be unlocked during the campaign.

Among the many new races, we get classics like Tengu or Nagual, but players can also finally play as Kobold!

Harvest Stage and Defenders

Now, let’s focus on the tower defense mechanics. The game is won if the group vanquishes Jaethi, the level 10 boss in combat, or at least one City-State will endure the last Siege.

To address this, the flow of gameplay changed quite significantly. Right now, the whole session consists of 3 to 4 Siege Waves, each split into the Harvest Stage and Siege Stage. The first stage helps players to prepare for the worst. You will travel the map, grow your heroes, face encounters, and challenge bosses. What’s new is the Harvest itself, where your group will gather different resources, from ore and wood to human resources and living crystals, to build and upgrade Defenders.

The Five Elements of Godai are a special resource players can harvest. Air, Earth, Fire, Water, and Void are some of the most important aspects of this Volume. Players can use them in many situations, and often, they are forced to do so because now enemies also represent particular enemies. And as you can guess, some elements work better against others.

What are the Defenders? They are special places on the map that will be targeted by the Siege Opponents. When Cituy-States and Temples are already on the map, players are able to build towers and fortresses to repel enemies’ attacks successfully. Each kind of defe3nder has its special, smaller boards with stats, elements, and enhanced options. The Defenders board can even be equipped with special cards you can find during your journeys!

Sieges are the true test of a player’s abilities

During the game, players will draw cards from a new type of deck named Jaethi Deck. Drawing these cards will bring new challenges and fill a special calendar, counting the moments till the Siege Stage. As you can guess, the Siege Stage is the moment when the game goes full-cannon mode, testing the preparations players made previously.

Heroes will endure cataclysmic events, powerful creatures, and armies. Even the Plumed Serpent Jaethis can enter the map, making things even more complicated.

Map evolved as well

The designer put a lot of effort into the map aspect as well. Despite the new, stunning design, we get plenty of novelties. One is Cataclysm Tiles, which you must place on the board when you draw a Cataclysm card in Jaethi’s deck. Those tiles overlap the base map, creating insanely challenging terrain to travel through, with different penalties depending on the element of the cataclysm. But what is worse, if this tile lands in the spot with our defenders, it will affect their capabilities a lot.

We have Sky Tiles and Risers in the new map element. When the double-sided Sky Tile is put on board Floating Mountain side up, you need to put a 3D Riser underneath it. Such tiles are very hard to enter, and the primary solution for this is having someone with the Soar skill in the team, like in the Tengu race.

Finally, we have mentioned previously Siege Portals, spamming waves of enemies we need to defend against.

Augmentations, a new way to evolve our heroes

By gaining the elements, you can use them to augment the defenders and the heroes. Augmentations are represented by cards representing different elements, and each element can be augmented up to 5 times. Why? With higher tiers unlocked, you gain more powerful skills for your heroes, making them killer machines against enemies with the opposite elements. Augmentations definitely raise complexity here, but they’re worth it. Suddenly, Hexplore It gained an entirely new layer of strategy to think about, and it works great with the rest of the mechanics.

Probably the most complex of all of the Volumes

When Domain of Mirza Noctis seems like the easiest entry to the series, Mountains of Godai seems the most challenging one—or at least at a similar level to Volume III, Sands of Shurax.

It requires a significant amount of time to understand the game, get the rules and possibilities each location and mechanic within the game offers, and even more time to explore the abilities of your constantly evolving team. You have to track many things during the sessions, and at the beginning, you will probably feel overwhelmed by so many options and ways to proceed. And where the core mechanics are easy to grasp once you start playing the game, tower defense elements on top make this Volume a true beast you need to tame first. When fans of the series love everything here, and this level of complexity is more than required for the veterans, the newcomers need to prepare themselves for the steep learning curve.

Does it mean you should start with other Volumes first? It depends on your preferences. If Volume V’s theme and tower defense approach speaks the most to you, pick this one. If you’re on the fence here, probably start with Mirza Notcis. But the best answer here is to get all volumes and enjoy the game at your own pace once the fulfillment reaches you.


After this many years, HEXplore it still doesn’t have worthy competition when it comes to adventure games with endless replayability, open world, insane customization, and satisfying, challenging gameplay. HEXplore It series can be tasted slowly, or it can be your new way of life. The game offers endless possibilities, and it’s up to players how they use them. The Mountains of Godai stands proud as the series’ properly designed, evolved continuation. Introducing tower defense mechanics, a double theme, and plenty of new mechanics, as well as new classes and races, make Volume V an amazing, polished, and fresh addition to this beloved series. If you’re a HEXplore iT veteran, Mountains of Godai is a must-have. If you are new here and looking for the king of epic board games that can translate immersion of RPG sessions into the tabletop world, this is your game.

– David

Hype & Hopes: 9.5/10

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