Despot’s Game Is A Sadistic Game For Masochists

Despot's Game is now out on PC, as is the Challenges DLC. Are you ready to prove that humans aren't as puny as this game would have you believe? Good luck!

More Despot’s Game? Hell yeah. It’s out now and has the Challenges DLC, too, so back off, alright. Konfa Games and tinyBuild have a corker here, and it’s not a game I’ve been tired of since the early previews and demos. However, playing against other players is a little… testing.

The skinny? Humans are puny. Essentially a rogue-like dungeon crawler, you are burdened with a bunch of pathetic humans to survive as long as possible in a labyrinth truly against you. As their numbers grow, so do the available skills you can attach to them, as well as the food bill – they don’t run on air alone. That’s fine. Anyone not pulling the weight can be sacrificed for a juicy flesh burger.

That’s essentially it, but Despot’s Game is so bloody addictive and often hilarious with its tongue-in-cheek writing style and nod to other games, such as mage classes and protectors of Earth Realm. It’s incredibly addictive, and no battle is the same, irrespective of the tactics you think might work. But instead of looking at the base game as a whole, as before, let’s look at the other features.

Despot's Game Early Access - Gates of hell
Gates of hell? Source: Steam

Despot’s Game Review

Brawl is the multiplayer version of the game and probably my least favourite bit. Y’know, better gamers, socialising and all that human stuff. It’s pretty painless to get into a game, though, and if it weren’t for the announcement that you’re fighting another player, you wouldn’t pay attention. Scratch that. The AI is a doddle compared to other players who have maxed out their teams with some excellent classes. 

That mode, in particular, has a PvP game every three rooms, but others are effectively difficulty modes unlocked through in-game feats. Other options include the load-outs for your crew that potentially make it easier or more challenging (having five mages equipped with random items, for example). Straight up, King of the Hill isn’t for me. It’s totally an online thing of leaderboards and seasons and doesn’t appeal whatsoever. That’s what losers say. So that leaves the Challenges, of which there are 20 of them.

Typically, these aren’t procedurally generated, and you have a limited number of humans to control and limited weapons. While the battles in Despot’s Game can often feel like a butt-clenching luck thing (there are strategic elements, of course), the Challenges are definitely harder and require more than luck to get through. Even in the first level of two large enemies, it took multiple attempts to determine what class works best, the correct number of humans to send out, and arguably just as important, where do you place your units? There are auto options, but that takes the fun out of it.

Without a doubt, Despot’s Game is one of my favourite indies this year and hasn’t lost that same appeal it had when it was first announced. I’m not going to sugarcoat it: it’s bloody hard and somewhat random, but that’s the appeal. What with this and Souls-like titles, it makes you wonder whether you’re more of a masochist than a sadist – if either at all. It doesn’t matter: it’s time well spent, and if you aren’t clawing at your face in frustration for losing Elsa Curie again, or whatever random name you get, you’re laughing at the absurdity of it all. Despot’s Game is well worth a look.

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