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Dokapon Kingdom review

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AT A GLANCE
  • Playing an RPG with friends
  • Lots of quirky humor
  • Battle Royale works well
  • Waiting for your turn
  • Story mode is nearly unplayable
  • Falling hopelessly behind

When we first looked at Dokapon Kingdom, we were impressed with its innovative multiplayer RPG concept. Being an RPG player can admittedly get lonely, so anything that brings role-playing fans together for a competitive adventure has to be a step in the right direction, right? Although we desperately wanted to root for this game, it unfortunately fails to live up to its potential in almost every aspect.

Played across a board-game-style overmap, up to four players compete to capture towns and complete quests in order to earn more money than anyone else. The main story mode is nearly unplayable, for varying reasons depending on how many people are playing. With only two players competing, the game quickly becomes completely unbalanced, because once one player gets a leg up on the other it’s all too easy for the player with higher stats and more resources to use the lead to widen the gap. With three or four players, maintaining balance is easier because everyone can gang up on whomever is in the lead, but the trade off is excessively long waiting between turns for everyone involved.

Sure, it’s a board game and taking turns is necessary, but what makes it a real problem is that players rarely get a chance to engage each other in combat. Instead, most turns are expended battling random monsters, visiting item and weapon shops, and landing on random event squares that are kind of like landing on Chance or Community Chest in Monopoly. While it may be a competition in the big picture, it often doesn’t feel like one since the majority of the gameplay doesn’t involve direct interaction between players.


Above: Battles are simple rock-paper-scissors-style matches that mostly boil down to luck

If you’re still dead-set on inflicting this game on your friends, the Battle Royale modes are your best option. With shorter play times and specific goals, like racing to capture a specific town or trying to rack up as many kills as possible in a certain amount of time, these modes are where Dokapon’s format works best. Even still, you’ll soon grow tired of spending most of your time waiting for your turn, and then feeling disappointed when you realize your turns aren’t really worth waiting for to begin with. It’s almost heartbreaking how much wasted potential there is here, and lonely RPG fans are better off playing Tales of Vesperia co-op until a better competitive option comes around.

Oct 21, 2008

More Info

Release date: Oct 14 2008 - Wii, PS2 (US)
Available Platforms: Wii, PS2
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Atlus
Developed by: STING
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Alcohol Reference, Comic Mischief, Simulated Gambling, Suggestive Themes, Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Language

We Recommend

3 comments

  • protospasm - March 15, 2010 7:21 p.m.

    I like that the GR website is quoted on the box: "... the deepest 'party' game we've played." That's kind of a dig, but spun as a ringing endorsement... hilarity.
  • chimaera9 - October 25, 2008 2:46 a.m.

    [EDITOR's NOTE: Just a quick note for folks: Our friend chimaera9 is an Atlus employee. You're still welcome to post here chimaera9, but you need to identify to our readers that you're not just some random player. As for your concerns: 1. She's not complaining about waiting for computer players. She's saying there's not enough interaction between players. It feels too much like everyone is taking turns playing the same single-player game, rather than playing a multiplayer game all together. 2. This feature isn't showcased because we found it unreliable and not as functional as one would hope. 3. Our reviewer spent double-digit hours playing each version. Just because she disagrees with you doesn't mean she didn't do her job. END EDITOR'S NOTE] I think this is an unfair rating, as it is obvious you guys didn't play this game for more than a few minutes. The cons that you mentioned about the game are all addressed within the game: 1. Waiting for your turn is not much of a problem if you go into the settings and change the computer speed to 1.5 or even 2x as fast. When it is the computer's turn, it zips through so fast you can barely see what happened, if you're impatient enough to put it at 2x speed. 2. Story Mode Unplayable--you actually supported this claim with your next gripe, which was that it was unbalanced and easy to fall hopelessly behind. What you did not notice is that there is a truly excellent way for the underdog to catch up, even surpass, the other players. If a person remains in last place for a few turns, a bat appears over his head, and he can then go to a symbol on the map where he becomes a "Darkling" (or an evil guy will visit you and give you a Contract to teleport you there). You stay as an evil, all-powerful darkling for 14 days, and can do all kinds of nasty things: visit anyone's town and a monster respawns, taking it away from them. Land on a player's spot and kill them easily (you have insane stats as a darkling). Cast all kinds of restrictive spells, such as seal their item bags, close all towns and stores, put traps all over the map, teleport them to fight you if they step on a non-icon spot, etc. After 14 days as a Darkling, you'll have brought everyone down within range again, or even dropped them below you. It is clear that the reviewers did not give this game much of a chance and spent very little time on it. Granted, it is the developer's fault for not making these things clearer from the beginning, but in less than 30 or 40 minutes of playing, these things become evident if you even open a menu and look around at your options. I'd give Dokapon Kingdom at least an 8, if this review was up to me. It is a great party game, and can be fun playing solo, too. Give this one a chance--it is very unique, creative, and has a great sense of humor. Plus, the RPG elements keep me coming back for more.
  • Mabui - January 2, 2009 6 p.m.

    I bought this before new years for Wii - and I have to say even with two people it is a fun experience (We played 10-15 hours). We never had issues finding ways of evening out the score when one person seemed to be dominating in levels or territory or both (Though we didn't play as evilly as we could have). The game though - is programmed poorly as a single player game. The AI at the lowest possible level seems to be able to roll the perfect roll at a extremely high consistency - and for people who want a "EASY OPPONENT" this isn't great. It is mentioned they can turn into the demon to equalize the score - but this is just more proof of how much impossible dice skill the computer has. It isn't fun to be frustrated. I can imagine anyone who purchased this game and tried it out for the first time would be destroyed by a computer player. To me, the game seems be worthless as a single player game. I quickly turned off the AI's chatter - seeing as it begun repeating quickly. Some of the things I wished were in the game was - Ability to be co-operative - it does feel like we are off on separate little games and only brought together when we butt heads on rare occasions. Co-operative would really be helpful when dealing with AI as well - as if you had a CPU working with you - then the amount of cheap-ness might feel offset and feel more like a "Shared experience" Making CPU's feel more like a real player would go a long way to improving their use and the single player approach. I played with 3 CPU controlled players and watched as they landed on every reachable town right off the bat - then when I was set asleep - landed on my square to take me out. People like the feel they have a real chance to win - especially when dealing with "WEAK" characters. The game itself doesn't use the Wii at all - when they said you could draw on someones face - I thought a screen would come up allowing you to use the wii remote to make your own design. It is a fun multiplayer game with a good base to become something much greater in a future version. I just hope that no one who is expecting a enjoyable single player experience mistakenly purchases this.

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