What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord 2 ReviewGreg Knoll
When I'm looking for a casual, entertaining game to play I usually tend to search out independent developers. Their games seem to have the most charm, ingenuity and value. They are allotted more freedom, and therefore can take bigger chances. Typically the end result is something that breaks the mold of conventional gaming-something unique and captivating. And with my recent dissent from airships and blockbusters, I sought out a title that would represent those qualities.
One I found in What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord 2. I had heard so many good things about the first one, yet never got the chance to play it. The sequel garnered even more praise (aside from a lawsuit over the first's original name) and I had to see what all the buzz was about-because occasionally I do feed into gossip and hype.
It was a gamble that paid off. What Did I Do was far better than I ever could have expected. I knew little about the game when I first spun the disk, only that it was humorous and initially accessible, but also challenging for hardcore players.
But to say What Did I Do is simply funny would be an understatement. The writing is brilliant, and I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that it was mostly created by long-time fans of the RPG genre. Yet the premise is not another dungeon crawler or monster-bash. In fact, it's the exact opposite. Rather than suit up as a chosen warrior on a quest to save the world, or some other clich spin, you are the villain. The Dark One, whose sole purpose is to overtake all living things one bit at a time. Not an easy task for any, and there are those who would attempt to stop you. So it's your job as master of all things evil to build a dungeon and fill it with enough dangerous monsters so that any would-be heroes seeking out your demonic constitute perish long before they find him.
While it's a theme that's been attempted before, it's never been done like this, because What Did I Do doesn't ever take itself too seriously. It's a satire of all things RPG, and an obvious jab at some of the genres bigger players. The Dark Lord's advisors are so over-the-top evil that you can't help but laugh. Anytime I quit the game, he relentlessly insulted me and called me a coward. When heroes enter the dungeon, he panics as all nefarious overlords do, and orders you to hide him. When heroes are overwhelmed and perish in the bowels of your malevolent creation, they utter some of the most amusing things. One cried out I didn't save!-a long spoken catch phrase I've uttered on several occasions. I felt his pain. Only for a moment, then the next egotistical, glory-hound hero made the attempt and renewed my ambition to make my dungeon bigger and better.
And aside from the story, that was the second most addictive thing about What Did I Do. Rather than overcomplicate it like other games that ask you to build every part of the dungeon-such as the walls, the corridor, the type of ground etc.-What Did I do's design is simple. In actuality it plays like anti-Tetris. The dungeon is one giant rectangle full of blocks, with only a small clear pathway at the top towards the entrance. It is your job to break blocks and design complicated corridors to confuse and redirect any intruders long enough for the monsters to pummel them into a pile of noble goo.
The monsters don't come pre-made, however and it's where What Did I Do goes from simply entertaining to engaging. Certain blocks are marked with nutrients. Sometimes it looks like green moss and breaking them will render a green slime. Other times it's glittering stars and upon their destruction a magical wisp is released.
Aside from protection, these creatures will also fertilize other blocks around them. The moss shifts into what resembles marble, and inside is an upgraded hierarchy on the food chain-a giant ant-that is far more destructive than the regular slime. The wisps eventually turn into succubus. There's also a third level, but I don't want to ruin all the surprises for you. The challenge is finding a good balance, and keeping all types at a suitable level, leaving the heroes plenty to combat.
Initially it's fairly simple, but grows more complex as the enemies become stronger. It's easy to learn, but can get incredibly addictive when you're trying to determine their patterns-as well as those of the invaders-to come up with the perfect dungeon with the least amount of work. You're only allotted a certain number of block-breaks-or digs-and having a certain amount left over will allow you to upgrade your monsters and add to your overall score and rating at the end of every level. Sometimes I got a C, other times an A.
Regardless of my score though I think I played every level at least twice, simply because What Did I Do was that entertaining. It's the perfect mix of accessibility, charm, originality and entertainment. I can't imagine how I ever let the original pass me by, but I can assure you-if What Did I Do is an example of what they produce-I will definitely be looking for more games from NIS. They may in fact be the next big thing.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.
May I have the strength to lead with compassion. May I have a resolve strong enough to inspire it in others. May my heart be true, my motives virtuous, my spirit valiant. And whether I fail or succeed, may I at least be brave in the attempt.
About the Author: Greg Knoll
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