June 29, 2010

Catching Up With What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord? 2

What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord? 2
On the surface there’s only so much to be said about a game that puts players in the role of a pick-axe. Fortunately there’s plenty stewing beneath the surface here, much like the plot and play of a release that wears that simple guise only to quickly birth a complex Eco-system. Life spreads swiftly through the twisting tunnels players rush to create, seconds before the tropes of the RPG genre ruin the best laid plans of civil engineers with full on trench warfare.

Though NIS America had to drop half of an impressively long title in bringing another dose of dungeon building 101 to the PSP, What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord? 2 returns the equal share of love and frustration the original offered to give a definitive disc based release to the series.

The sequel to the mobile ant-farm of evil simulator is something I’ve been playing in small doses over the last month. It’s really the only means I have of tackling a game that offers plenty of elements to engulf the player and drag them deeper down their own tunnels, but with end goals that make frequent breaks from the experience necessary for my sanity.

What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord? 2
It’s easy to love the pixelated aesthetic, Acquire’s ability to weave a canvas creating a bizarre Galapagos, where Darwin’s theories are free to run wild within sprite based beasts of burden and all manner of familiar RPG evils.

The way growth and evolution simulate life gives the real spark to every creature, energizing the whole of each dungeon with layers of personality. Players are again called on to defend the baddest man in the land by digging out the network of tunnels and chambers that can spawn the evils necessary to slay the endless series of noble pains seeking to drag him from his lair and save the day. While the player is merely represented by a pick-axe, they are in fact “…the deity of demise, master blaster, creator and the destroyer of the universe.”

It’s even easier to get frustrated with the play of it all however, of furiously digging tunnels in the attempt to grow and spread life. The pitch is easy enough, but doing the job right in the short amount of time before the heroes arrive is a remarkable ball-buster, like trying to slip all the pieces in to that old Frustration game before the timer buzzes and fragments explode in your face.

What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord? 2
In a continuing act of quantum simplicity, all the player does is chip away at blocks of earth to create the necessary dungeon lairs. Layers of considerations wash in over this of course, with blocks developing varying nutrients that will create life-forms like Slimes in the beginning. As the Eco-System develops, stronger creatures feed on others, slain creatures leave behind more valuable nutrients, and population control plays an increasingly large role in future creations as life runs reliably chaotic as cause and effect takes hold.

From there on in there’s a flowchart syndrome about what creatures will eat others, about discovering the right balance of creatures to sustain and encourage stronger ones that can better defend the tunnels, and about the effects heroes have in their attempts to save the day.

No matter how many times I try to tackle the challenge, it’s hard to resist the urge to quickly dig deep and winding dungeons – an ant farm littering the screen as I continually attempt to wear the heroes down by extending their trip. I’ve had a few successes, but more often than not this strategy fails me completely as the long trail of breadcrumbs leaves too many weaker creatures to defend the way forward.

It’s hard as hell to wrap my head around devoting more time to providing for those creatures in order to build stronger ones. The concept doesn’t elude me, but the time restraints are the real challenge, leaving short bouts of time in which to monitor a laundry list of options in growing a deadlier dungeon.

What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord? 2
Evolution takes the entire Eco-System further this time around, with the population balance of each creature allowing for changes to occur, as they potentially adapt to food shortages for instance – changes which can be prevented by the player if desired. This added consideration offers yet another dimension to the pixel life simulation, one in which the heroes successfully come across as a large annoyance.

Simply put, if the actual game offered hours of time to lay out a dungeon before the heroes arrived, it still wouldn’t feel like enough time to fully take advantage of everything possible – so the game proper becomes a serious case of time management, the frustration I often encounter coming from the fact that I get lost in simply watching the dungeon come to life. This is one of the few games I’ve encountered where I turned to the Interwebz to get strategy advice.

I’d likely fall back to saying that with all the features, this release is one the encourages being played around with more than played in the straight-forward sense – though the course to conquering the lands is always clear and ready to be attempted. For my money, the real charm is that oddity the game occupies on the PSP shelf, as a casual experience – one made more complete via a retail release that includes the original game as an unlockable on the disc.

It’s likely more accurate to say that the emphasis isn’t as straightforward as other releases, which usually suits me well – moving forward on the world map is not made interesting by the progression and stat building so much as simply watching that initial premise of life take shape within each dungeon.

Designing lairs that prove victorious is just icing after the fact.


  1. Another game to add to the list of PSP games I would like to play… without buying an actual PSP.

    Comment by EdEN — June 29, 2010 @ 3:14 pm

  2. I feel bad that I still haven’t opened my copy of this game! It’s sitting pretty on my shelf. I have opened and started to play Half Minute Hero though and while the premise is entirely different, it reminds me of this game for some reason. Maybe the pixels… or the Good guys/Bad guys save/conquer the world stuff!

    Comment by Ujn Hunter — June 29, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

  3. haha, guess which other game I’ve been playing and writing about this week for a catch up piece!

    Comment by Jamie Love — June 29, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

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