Despot’s game is a quirky little roguelike somewhat similar to other dungeon crawlers such as Darkest Dungeon, Iratus, and Deep Sky Derelicts if the combat was simplified and automated.
You control a band of puny humans (sometimes food) as you try your darnedest to survive to the bitter end. As you crawl through the dungeon, most rooms will have enemies you will need to clear out before you can leave. After defeating the enemies, you will earn tokens that you can spend on equipment for your puny humans to make them less puny. You could also go for quantity over quality and amass an army of tiny pink guys that will most definitely get obliterated in the next encounter.
Each puny human can equip one item and each item has a type associated with it, such as mage, egghead, tank, etc. Once you collect three or more different items of that type, you will unlock an ability. Doing well in Despot’s Game requires you to think of the synergies between each type and build a team that will be able to support each other. Before each encounter starts, you will be able to position your units and you can use this to your advantage to place tanky units in the front and more fragile or damaged units in the back lines.
There is strategy required beyond the combat as well. Exploring each room in the dungeon uses up food. If you don’t feed your tiny humans, they will get a debuff that lowers their amour and damage so it is very important to keep them well fed. This creates a risk versus reward system where exploring the dungeon fully may net you more tokens and other surprises, both good and bad, but at the cost of requiring food. If you are short, you can always sacrifice a unit to turn them into food. I guess friends can be food, Bruce.
Overall, the Despot’s Game demo showed off a fun and quirky roguelike that felt like a polished experience. The strategy required to build a team composition that works based on the random assortment of items available as well as deciding whether to take risks exploring the dungeon fully create a challenging experience every time you play the game.