Please the Gods
Developed By : Spawn Point OSK
Published By : Ultimate Games
Category : RPG
Release Date : Feb 03, 2020
Many of my favourite games, both on the Switch and other consoles, are turn-based RPGs. And, as more mainstream RPGs turn to action battle systems, I can always rely on smaller indie studios to keep pumping out enjoyable turn-based games. That’s not to say that all games in this genre are great though, with Please the Gods being more of an RNG-heavy board game than an enjoyable RPG.
Please the Gods’ setting is based on Finnish mythology and borrows many of its deities and creatures from this inspiration. You control a nameless man who travels to “the land of the Gods” in search of a relic called the Sampo, which is said to produce infinite riches and food. This relic is seemingly the only chance he has to save his starving family, the only other companion on his journey being the family’s dog. Aside from the unique Finnish theming, there isn’t a whole lot to say about the game’s story. The main character’s journey has no depth, the characters you meet are not given much time to develop and overall, it feels like a waste of the setting’s potential.
When it comes to gameplay, things are slightly more complicated. Movement on the map screen is handled through nodes, with each node having an event that takes place. This could be an enemy encounter, a place to set up camp, or a run in with a friendly NPC. Each move you take requires food which is replenished through certain events, and only if you’re lucky enough. At first, the way the map is laid out seems similar to games like Slay the Spire, where the layout changes on each playthrough. That’s not the case here though, meaning that there are no surprises on a second attempt. Most problems with progression come from not getting enough food or health through events, rather than poor planning.
Combat doesn’t make things more interesting either. Battles are another aspect of Please the Gods that is heavily RNG dependant, since it’s based around dice rolls. Battles alternate between attack and defence phases, with you and the enemy rolling two dice. Having a higher number means that you’re successful in either attacking or defending based on the phase. The card system adds another layer to this, letting you choose one of four skills in a phase for extra bonuses. This could be an extra attacking dice, or reducing your attack total to increase your defence on the next turn.
In theory the card system should add more depth to encounters. You gain skill points after completing quests which let you unlock more skills, potentially increasing the amount of strategies you could employ in each battle. However, with luck pretty much determining most of a battle’s outcome, unlocking more skills never feels very impactful. You already start with a balanced lineup of attack and defence skills, and they’re enough to complete the game with a relatively small amount of strategy.
On top of all this, the game itself only has a couple hours of content. There was an attempt made to pad out the game by making you restart from the beginning on death, but without any randomisation of map layouts this ends up being pointless. How long it takes to complete Please the Gods depends mostly on how lucky you get, instead of requiring you to get better each run.
A unique setting and occasionally decent artwork are not enough to hide Please the Gods’ many flaws. Battles are slow and overly RNG dependent and the setting is underutilized; there’s nothing here that hasn’t been done better elsewhere.
*The Switch Effect was provided a code for this game*