Please the Gods
Switch version tested
Review code provided
Mythology has been a strong inspiration for many years across all forms of media. Drawing from the widespread believes of various cultures throughout the centuries has provided us with epic stories of heroic acts, dastardly deeds, love, friendship and betrayal, but at its core has always been one unshakable fact, what some consider mythology others consider religion and religion is a powerful thing that governs many cultures lives making it the perfect backdrop for rich adventures. In recent years we have seen many games draw inspiration from the more widely known Norse mythology but now Spawn Point OSK bring us an adventure set in the world of Finnish mythos wrapped lovingly in a turn-based strategy RPG, Let’s take a look!
Please the Gods follows the story of a loving father who has fallen on hard times. Struggling to feed his family he set’s out to the land of the Gods on a perilous quest to retrieve a sacred treasure that will provide riches and nourishment until the end of time. But like all good quest’s, our family man hero does not travel alone, taking his trusty dog with him they set out across the lands and encounter all manner of creatures, friends, foes and God’s along the way.
As with most mythology, God’s usually wants you to do something for them because let’s face it, they are lazy bastards and why use their Godly powers when they can get some poor human to do their bidding. Completing the task’s they set will see you progressing across the lands and collecting all the pieces of the treasure. God’s are not the only encounters you will have, a number of characters will pop up along the way, each with well-written dialogue and stories to keep things ticking along nicely.
The land is shown in a top-down world map form, not too far removed from the classic Super Mario World. Icons indicate the locations you can move to, these will range from enemy encounters with the type of enemy shown, campfires, character interactions, food harvesting and so on, sometimes the paths branch off and you can choose which way you would like to go, this may mean the choice of fighting either a wolf or a goblin or you might have the option of heading to a campfire or meeting a new character. Most encounters will have options to consider, meeting a lost and scared creature, for example, may give you the option to offer it food which may yield a positive reward like healing or if you choose to ignore it, it may turn violent and begin a battle. These encounters and choices really pushed the role-playing storytelling in the right direction and I found myself always taking a moment to consider the options, a good thing too as if you die during a quest you have to start the whole section again, fighting through each encounter once more. As you only have one set of health for each task and can only move so long as you have enough food supplies, considering when to play it safe and when to be aggressive is the key to success, this same notion applies heavily during combat too.
Combat is turn-based and played out via dice rolls, harkening back to the good old days of tabletop gaming. Each battle will alternate between attack and defend phases until a character is defeated. The dice will roll automatically, during attack phase you need to roll a higher number than your opponent to score a hit, during the defend phase you must roll the same or higher in order to block an incoming hit.
As well as the dice rolling you can carry up to eight abilities, these take the form of cards and you can have up to four attack cards and four defend cards. Cards come in various forms and you unlock more as you level up. Your play style will determine what cards are best for you, if you are aggressive you may want to use abilities that add plus bonuses to your roll’s or even extra dice. Though due to the fact you will have to restart a quest from scratch if you die with no guarantee of healing along the way, I primarily opted for a more defensive strategy.
The dice rolling is a good concept and suits the classic vibes Please the Gods is going for but I couldn’t help but feel the element of chance loses something with digital dice. This becomes slightly frustrating if you get to the end of a quest and fail, restart and then have terrible results early on. Challenging games are fun but more fun when the challenge is something the player is more involved in overcoming and not just relying on a chance that the numbers might be in your favour.
Please the Gods is very nice to look at, pixel art can sometimes feel overused especially in the indie scene which tends to rely heavily on nostalgia, but Spawn Point OSK have created a great looking world that really stands out on the Nintendo Switch especially in handheld mode. The animations are simple but effective with the text and icons all presented very clearly.
One thing we really love at TBG is a great soundtrack and Please the Gods does not disappoint. With a beautiful music score playing throughout the experience that really pulls you into this world of Gods and creatures proving it’s not just graphics that deliver a memorable and rich world. The title ran fine on the Switch, I encountered nothing in the way of glitches or bugs, loading times were to a good standard though this is likely helped to the more pixel style presentation.
Please the Gods is a fun turn-based strategy with the RPG elements focused more on the storytelling and decision making instead of just levelling up. Though the dice rolling mechanic does feel a bit hit and miss, literally, and provide minor frustrations, it’s implementation helps set the title apart from other strategy games on console. The roguelike elements of starting quests from the beginning if you die felt slightly cheap and seemed like it was only put in to stretch out the length of the game which is fairly short overall. But for a modest price and a great story, I can’t gripe too much as I had a good time and enjoyed seeing an interpretation of Finish mythos brought to life on screen.
TBG Score: 7/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC
Release Date: 03/02/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure. Strategy. RPG
Developer: Spawn Point OSK
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Download link: eShop