Game Review: "Despot's Game: Dystopian Army Builder"

I first found this game after watching a Let's Play on Youtube, and the gameplay had me hooked immediately. Do you want to build an ever-increasing army to battle towards the bottom of a death-filled maze that will have you throwing your arms up in excitement and frustration? Then this is the rouge-like game for you. I can describe the game as organized chaos with a splash of insanity and silly but nail-biting action. The gameplay isn't heart-pounding, adrenaline rush combat, but you still end up chewing down a few nails due to losing one to two soldiers or your entire army to either a horde of undead or four overpowered robots. 

First off, I've always been a proponent of utilizing stickmen in all of my sketchbooks and high school textbooks. Now that we're giving stickmen weapons and mystical, magical powers through items bought from a self-aware game, it's the icing on the cake for me. The art style is my cup of cartoonishly detailed eye candy. The maps aren't boring despite replaying the game several times over. The character art with all of their fantastic and silly weaponry is both super cool and stupidly funny in the best way possible. Who knew I would be rooting for the guy throwing pretzels at monsters to survive and make it to the end. 

Then you've got the gameplay itself, a grab-bag of soldier archetypes that you can improve upon through quite a few ways. By equipping them with items bought in certain rooms, you can increase the variety of soldiers you have, such as having four different kinds of fighters, magicians, cultists, and so many others. Then you've got mutations that you can find through map events, side missions/tasks, or answering a certain way to questions asked of you between floors. You can also look forward to your army leveling up the longer they survive and purchasing upgrades for your entire army.

Speaking of surviving, be ready to lose a lot. With each room's enemies randomly selected from specific themes and you not knowing what you'll be facing until the battles start, you'll have no idea if the build you have can withstand what comes at you. Luckily, boss rooms are marked, they aren't random, and after playing the game once or twice, you can pick up the kind of boss to expect on each floor and the floor's themes. All of this makes planning ahead an excellent strategy, and don't forget you'll also have to manage your finances and food intake for your army. You'll have to choose between spending the tokens you have on new equipment and people or purchasing the more expensive upgrades, the higher the tier. Buying more people also means the more extensive the army, the more food they consume from room to room, and hunger can play a significant role in your army's effectiveness.

Overall the game is entertaining and addicting to play. With its easy replayability, to the multiplayer aspect of pitting your army against other players, to unlocking new starting combinations of puny humans, you'll have loads of stuff to explore, experiment with, and eventually die and try again. If you want to play the game yourself, and I highly suggest you do, you can find it on Steam for only $14.99 right now. Did I also mention this game is still in Early Access? So, look forward to even more content as the developers continue to update and improve the game.


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