Review: What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord!? (PSP)July 22nd, 2009 | Written by Chris Selogy | Topic: Reviews, Sony PSP
As the PSP Go launch nears, the amount of UMD games from other countries becoming PSN downloads in North America continues to grow. What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord!? is about as interesting and odd as the title would probably suggest. This niche PSP game offers you a chance to see what it’s like to be on the side of the overlord.
The premise for What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord!? is to design the overlord’s dungeon since he brought you, the God of Destruction, back to life to realize his dream of conquering the world. The best way to accomplish that goal is to lure all of the heroes into your dungeon so they may be defeated by your minions. You don’t actually design the dungeon, but more or less just carve out the paths so that life can be born and evolve into more capable minions that can defeat each hero that enters your lair. It’s a bit of a mix between Dig Dug and Dungeon Keeper with enough awareness of all of the clichés it keeps alive. The split between those two influences may not be as good as you’d hope they are.
What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord!? doesn’t quite have the control over what goes on as you’d expect from a game about making dungeons to destroy heroes. With your trusty scythe, you dig out blocks of dirt to create out paths for your beginning slimes to emerge from the blocks with nutrients in them. Those slimes help spread nutrients, one of the two main elements that can inhabit blocks, around until enough are collected into a block to be broken open to give birth to one of the creatures above them in the food chain. Mana is the other main element that can be spread around in the dungeon, but your first bits of mana come from the first hero you kill and can give birth to the more magical creatures that you can create. Add in turning the skeletons of the defeated into your minions and the dragons that you can also create and you’ve got a nice and varied selection of minions to craft. This is all done without much hands-on input from you, so you have to work on maintaining a balance of each type of creature to keep the ecosystem from dying and making it easier for the overlord to be captured.
Basically, What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord!? is about creating and fostering this growing ecosystem to be the “defense” that will protect the overlord from the heroes that wish to capture him to save the world. The main story mode, which ironically lacks an in-depth story, can be boiled down to arcade-style stages where you get some time to carve out your dungeon or extend what is already there before the hero arrives to tackle the minions you’ve created and grown until the hero is killed or the overlord is captured. After you beat the stage or let the overlord be captured, you’re scored on a few different factors and then graded to show how good you’re doing, which can change quickly if you’re not careful. Outside of the main story mode, there are some tutorial missions in the training mode along with a bunch of challenge missions that further test your skills in crafting good dungeons for those minions to grow. There is also an edit mode that lets you create your own set of heroes to tackle a dungeon that you can share with friends to test their skills.
While What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord!? teaches you the basics of the food chain well enough in the tutorial missions, it never really touches on anything close to good techniques for designing the dungeon itself or even making it easy to get good feedback on what you may or may not be doing well. Even the simple option of saving between stages in the story mode would help greatly, so you could try different techniques to see how they fare instead of starting over and hoping the randomly-generated earth is more to your liking. A walkthrough or a good forum would be the best resource for figuring out what you’re probably doing wrong so you can get better and actually have fun more easily than just trying to get better by just trial and error.
With a side view of a bunch of dirt blocks, What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord!? does a good job of stylizing everything else to be like a 16-bit RPG on the SNES. Everything is made up of higher details versions of 16-bit sprites with better animation that the PSP can easily offer for that art style. It’s easy to see everything in the dungeon clearly, from the levels of mana or nutrients in blocks of dirt or what creatures inhabit different parts of the dungeon. The game is fast to load, so you’ll spend more time in the few bits of dialog or menus the game offers than load screens. The music is also very reminiscent of the SNES era of music capabilities, which is quite nice, though the noise chosen for the overlord’s speech is quite annoying when you need to read whatever advice he might be giving you.
The biggest thing to take away from this review is that What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord!? is definitely an acquired taste, which you probably could’ve gathered from the title, screenshots, or everything that is written above this conclusion. Those that enjoy difficult games and this game’s concept will enjoy what they get for the $20 price tag on PSN. Anyone else not in that group would probably do well to just try out the demo and go from there. There is a sequel to this game in Japan that does beef up the amount of content along with adding some nice features, like saving between stages, so you should hope that this does well enough to entice NIS America or another publisher to pick up the sequel for release and another awesome localized title.