I had a cool idea for a game this morning that revolves around a particular combination of game mechanics. It’s a puzzle game that centers around appeasing and calling upon specific deities to overcome obstacles. First, you would have to find a shrine to the deity, learn its name, and make an appropriate sacrifice to get its attention. Then the deity would be open to receive your character’s prayers.

When you encounter an obstacle in the game, you would pray to the deity and if you had appeased it recently, it would (probably) appear and clear the obstacle for you. The chance of the deity appearing is based on how recently you made a sacrifice to it, plus your current “long-term relationship level” with the deity. If you accidentally called the wrong deity, or prayed to one for no reason, it might become annoyed with you.

Each deity would have a sphere of specific, obstacle-clearing abilities. Let’s say you have “creating fire,” “moving boulders,” and “parting water” as three basic deity powers. There would be one deity for each, and you would have to make appease three separate deities to get past three specific types of obstacles. (Anything that needs to be burned, rocks that need to be moved, et cetera.)

Long-term relationship status with a deity would then be modified by calling the deity to do things they’re good at. If you call a fire-starting deity to part water, they’ll become annoyed. If you ask them to do lots of things without making regular sacrifices, they’ll become annoyed. And so forth. The goal of the game would be to clear obstacles, keep your gods happy, and find and appease new deities.

Besides gathering items for sacrifice, your character would be able to “spread the word” of a specific deity, and gather followers to him/her/it. This would make it possible to keep a deity appeased for far longer, and benefit from the power they can grant you. It would therefore be your goal to create small cults surrounding each deity to maintain your obstacle-clearing powers.

The larger the cult surrounding a particular deity, the more powerful they become. They would be able to clear larger, and possibly more types of, obstacles. Creating cults to the deities creates other obstacles, though. Periodically, the cult will need to have their faith re-affirmed, creating new types of obstacles for your character to overcome. (“Show us that fire-thing you said our deity can create.”)

Now, despite the premise, the gameplay is supposed to be really straightforward. Picture it kind of like Tetris, where you are given tiny, one-square pieces. The bottom of the screen fills up with detritus that you have to clear. You can get bigger (traditionally-shaped) Tetris blocks by completing the “appeasement” minigame, after which it becomes easier to clear lines and remove the build-up.

Detritus builds up quickly though, so you repeat the “appeasement” minigame to get more and better pieces so you can clear detritus faster and keep up. New and more complex kinds of detritus appear, which require specific blocks to clear, and in this way, the game becomes more difficult, and more complex, requiring you to complete the “appeasement” minigame more times to get more and better blocks.

…And that’s the core concept. Inspired by XKCD, to a degree, and by the following games, Tetris Hell (inspiring comic), and Tetris Heaven (inspiring comic).