Please The Gods is essentially a dice-rolling tabletop RPG put into video game format. The slower and random pace of gameplay might not be for everybody but it isn’t without charm.
Playing as a father who is on a quest to find an ugly teapot he sees in a vision, gameplay is all about the random rolling of digital dice. Battles are entered from an overhead map, often allowing the player to choose more than one route to reach a destination which provides some variation and replayability. The rules of battle are simple on the surface, as the higher roller wins, but it isn’t without strategy and depth. Rotating turns between offense and defense, if the player has the higher roll when on offense, he gives one point of damage. If he has the higher roll when on defense, attacks are blocked and no damage is received. Again, this is simple on the surface but strategy comes into play when abilities are selected. For example, the player might select an ability before a roll that lowers the dice roll by a couple points but raises offense the next turn. Since each dice roll is random, the player can never truly play it safe which could create excitement and frustration. Eventually the player will unlock new abilities through experience but can only select a handful of abilities at one time. Choosing the right loadout is critical to the success of future battles as each common battle could be your last. Also, once you die, it is game over and the quest starts over again just like a rogue game.
Combat and map direction isn’t the only player choice. Along the way, the player might encounter an opportunity to hunt or fish to stock pile food, or might run into a character that asks for help. This encounters might aid or hinder the player depending on choice. It is also worth pointing out that health does not regenerate after each battle which makes Please the Gods a pretty tough game.
From a presentation stand point, everything is composed of blocky pixel art and limited frames of animation. This might seem amateurish but this visual style feeds into the simple menu-based gameplay; there isn’t a need for highly detailed graphics, animation, and musical score. It looks good for what it is even though each monster you encounter is grossly disfigured. This dice-rolling RPG isn’t designed to be a long, drawn out journey but it is still a shame that each quest cannot be saved at will to start again later. Instead, I had to leave my Switch in sleep mode and continue next time I booted the system, leaving me to keep playing since you cannot open another game without first closing the first. The initial loading screens are also quite long.
Please The Gods isn’t the best game and not for everyone but I wound up liking it more and more with each attempt. Once the dice-based combat is understood and strategy is seen, there is something charming and addictive about this simple game even though it isn’t a perfect experience.