A pretty cool game with a pretty unwieldy title comes out on September 15th, as Despot's Game: Dystopian Army Builder (opens in new tab) bursts out of Early Access. The Steam demo was a highlight of Next Fest last year (opens in new tab), and since it released last October its been pretty positively received.
In Despot's Game you organize a squad of "puny humans" who arrive in the toruture labyrinth of rogue AI d’Spot and have to face challenges and quests to escape. You organize them with weird weapons, like stale pretzels or cultist's robes, and place them as tactically as you can before they dive into autobattles.
It's basically I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream except you have no mouth and someone hands you a buster sword and dresses up the person next to you in a sailor moon outfit and then you fight a man-eating cabbage. It's absurd, irreverent, and entertaining.
For me Despot's Game is a real good bite-size strategy game. I can jump in and get a twenty or thirty minute slice of tactical goodness that doesn't require my brain to be working too well. I can make weird combos like refrigerator shield tanks that guard some cthulhu-summoning cultists, or TF2 Engineers laying down a barrage of fire while a bunch of wolverine wannabes close the distance.
There are a fat stack of weird equipment and mutations to give your puny humans, and it's all about finding weird combos and fun concepts to win. There's also a multiplayer mode where you can see your stupid and/or winning team ideas face off against others' stupid ideas in seasonal matches.
As it stands, the singleplayer might frustrate those who don't want to learn the mechanics or can't roll with a difficulty spike by changing their build. Balance changes, enemy reworks, new mutations, quests, mechanics, and a more traditional autobattler multiplayer are all slated for the 1.0 release later this month.
You can find more on official website despotsgame.com (opens in new tab), or just jump right to Despot's Game on Steam (opens in new tab), where it costs $15, though they say it'll increase once it releases from Early Access on September 15th.
Anyway, here's an extremely chaotic gif about the game.