Published on December 6th, 2017 | by Craig Forshey0
Despot Dungeons Review
Like a long lost Game Boy game that never was, Despot Dungeons is a throwback to an era of handheld gaming when the importance of graphical fidelity was dwarfed by the need for clever game design and heart. In this retro inspired adventure puzzler from indie developer Real Fast players must help a hapless young frog topple the reigning tyrant of a literal animal kingdom by battling their way through monochrome dungeons filled with deadly puzzles and ghastly enemies laying in wait for their next victim. After being banished to the sewers in humiliating fashion by a haughty lion king the froggy protagonist of Despot Dungeons is determined to use his wits to seize the throne for himself but he’ll have to defeat an army of anthropomorphic animal foes and supernatural bosses first.
Players guide their amphibious friend in grid-like fashion around each screen by tapping on an adjoining square to move, activate objects, and attack. While stationary puzzles like spike switch arrays are a heavy focus players must also be wary of a host of different enemies that will attempt to hamper their ambitions by following them around the screen and engaging them in combat. Despot Dungeons uses a simple but effective turn based combat system whereby players need only bump into their opponent to attack which is woven nicely into the puzzle mechanics of each scenario as players attempt to balance quelling a horde of regenerating skeletons with a series of gated switches guarding the key to the next room. While at first players will face off against simpler foes like rat rogues they’ll soon run up against hardier fare such as knights or one of the game’s fearsome boss enemies that require a well thought out strategy to defeat.
While purposefully minimalist by design the Game Boy style graphics are still appealing and feel authentic to the older period of gaming that they recall. Chiptune enthusiasts will also appreciate Despot Dungeons’ original six song soundtrack which sports some catchy arrangements and completes the game’s nostalgic atmosphere.
Summary: Puzzle fanatics will get a kick out of Despot Dungeons' clever gameplay, roguelike style combat, and nostalgic theme.