What do you get when you mix 2-parts RPG with 1-part adventure and 4-parts multiplayer party game? You get Dokapon Kingdom: a unique title that sets out on a quest to surprise gamers of all ages by raising the bar on the party game genre.
Without question Dokapon Kingdom is definitely a unique game. Its as if developer Sting decided to play the part of Dr. Frankenstein and began to lop off the best bits and pieces from the gaming universe; a little from genre A, a little from genre B and little from genre C and then proceeded to fuse them all together. The end result is a cute and colorful title that is sure to provide you with hours upon hours of entertainment and laughter.
So if you feel like kickin’ some serious monster butt, humiliating your soon to be ex-friends and hording ridiculous amounts of gold as you spin your way to victory then follow me as we hack-n-slash our way through Dokapon Kingdom.
The story behind Dokapon Kingdom, while not its strongest suit, is as such: pesky monsters begin appearing around the kingdom and set out on a warpath, terrorizing the land. This of course results in an economically strained King calling upon all adventures, near and far, to rid the land of these lil’ buggers. In return he promises to reward you with not only gold but the hand of his daughter, Princess Penny. Well, that sounds good to me so let’s rock!
Before we can begin our quest we are going to need a hero (can’t help but start singing the song from the film Footloose in my head ♫ I need a hero. I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the end of the night… ♫) Sorry about that I got a little carried away there. Anyhow, through Dokapon Kingdom’s generous Character Creation screen we are able to give our hero a name, set their gender, choose a class (Warrior, Thief, Magician), change the color of their armor/hair and we can even change their facial expressions. Not too shabby for what is at heart a multiplayer-party game, right? And if you have friends to play with/against, Dokapon Kingdom permits both the use of the Classic Controller or the use of the Wii Remote (held sideways), and also allows the use of one shared Wii Remote between all players. Variety is, after all the spice of life.
Now that we have have created our hero it is time to take to the field. The first thing you will notice after your debriefing from the King is the sheer size of the Kingdom; its huge. Unlike other party games that feature a game board so to speak, Dokapon Kingdom features one massive world map, already applying a +5 to Dokapon Kingdom’s Stamina.
Navigating your way around the kingdom requires the use of a spinner. Where the arrow lands determines the number of space you are permitted to move. These spaces are outlined on the world map as set paths that will lead to towns, weapon shops, battles, various power ups and spells, etc. Also scattered about the map are monsters that you must defeat and towns that you are to liberate if you are to win the hand of the princess. Liberating towns is the keystone to success in Dokapon Kingdom. After successfully liberating a town it becomes a “controlled town” where you can then choose to rest, attack, govern or elect to invest in said town, adding even further to the depth of the game. By investing in a town you raise its level and begin to reap the benefits of collecting a larger chunk of their tax money. Be warned should you choose to attack a town, weapon shop or magic shop as a bounty will be stamped on your forehead (not literally), and should you be defeated by another player character, they will obtain a hefty chunk of your gold. Your best bet is to remain a law-abiding adventurer; liberate and invest in as many towns as you can. This method will surely pave your path to victory.
Dokapon Kingdom’s battle system (and just about all other events in Dokapon Kingdom) revolves around the element of chance. You choose your method of attack and pray that your opponent doesn’t select an action that will counter the one you just selected. For instance: if you select “Strike” and your opponent selects “Counter” consider yourself screwed. However, if you select “Strike” and your opponent selects “Defend,” you then gain the upper hand and dish out some serious damage. Of course you should always make sure to have adequate equipment before diving into a battle, otherwise you’ll find yourself on a date with the grim reaper who will take you back to Dokapon Castle and keep you there for several rounds. The single player Story mode can get rather repetitious battling kobold after kobold while in a racing against CPU players in the quest for gold, but then again this is multiplayer game at heart so we should feel so fortunate that Dokapon Kingdom even offers a single player story mode, right? Besides, the fun doesn’t come from the grind associated with the single player mode anyhow; it comes from with battling against your soon to be ex-friends.
Battles against other player characters are acted out in the same manner as battles against NPCs, but there’s an added dirty little bonus that comes with beating the snot out of your friends: the victor can choose to change their opponents hairstyle, change their name to whatever he/she chooses or choose to steal from said opponent amongst other silly options. And should you be the victim of an unwanted new hair style, you can always go make an appointment with Karlie, the apathetic hairstylist who resides in Dokapon Castle. She’ll cut you up a new do’ real quick like. Feeling refreshed and having a new sense of self confidence about ourselves it is from the castle where we can also heal, give gifts to the King and choose to change our job/class type. Simply ask the king and you’re off to a new career as a…Thief. Hey, wait a second, that’ doesn’t sound like an honest profession….
Again adding to the depth and lasting appeal of Dokapon Kingdom a Battle Royale game mode can also be selected from the main menu. In Battle Royale players can choose to race to liberate the most towns, kill the most enemies or collect the most items. Similar to the other game modes you are judged on a weekly basis. The player who collects the most gold, liberates the most towns, or defeats the largest number of enemies is declared the winner. This is a terrific option for those looking for a quick fix.
For players seeking to add some flair and life to their Wii or PS2 Dokapon Kingdom is a steal at the MSRP of $39.99. The Wii version in which I am basing this review off has a slight advantage over the PS2 version of the game by offering 16:9 widescreen formatting and 480p high definition visuals. While the game doesn’t stack up to some of the more visually appealing games on the Wii like LoZ: Twilight Princess of Super Mario Galaxy its appearance and style and suits it just fine. The lack of online multiplayer, monotonous grinding and easily forgettable sound track are really the game’s only set backs. However, these are only minor flaws that are easily dwarfed by the game’s boisterous multiplayer action and in-depth RPG elements.
- In depth RPG elements
- Smack-talkin’ 4-player action
- Fun for all ages
- PvP battles
- Darklingdom…trust me, you won’t like it
- Lack of online functionality
- Forgettable sound track
FINAL SCORE: 8/10 Diamonds
Images courtesy of ATLUS.
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