In general, the Wii isnít well-known for epic role-playing games, nor is it famous for hardcore games. Though Japanese gamers are having fun playing Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Namco Bandaiís latest entry in the high-acclaimed Tales series, they too havenít had anything epic arrive. Fire Emblem has made its way unto the Wii, but it failed to soak attention and fill the appetite that role-playing fans have been craving for.
You have to realize that the Japanese are getting a new entry in the main Tales series, at as of writing, it is undecided if it will be localized. Yes, I realize that Japanese gamers are particularly fond of the genre, but in other parts of the world, there are fans just as hardcore. To attempt to satisfy them, Atlus steps in with its Mario Party rip-off, Dokapon Kindgom.
In case you havenít been following the series, the games have been rather stale lately, mimicking the same concepts of its predecessors. With the launch of the eighth game in mid-2007, the series has managed to soak up more attention, but still manages to fall short. Hoping to create an experience like no other, Atlus has decided to bring Dokapon Kingdom stateside. Trust me, Atlusí take on the board-game genre is a lot more enjoyable than Nintendoís.
Half Party, Half RPG
Unlike many party games, Dokapon Kingdom doesnít centre its gameplay on minigames, but rather fuses the party genre with the role-playing genre to create an experience like no other. Though the game doesnít have IR support or motion control, it still fits on the Wii. Also worth noting is that the game supports 480p and 16:9, something that the PS2 version lacks.
Dokapon Kingdom is played entirely on one single enormous board in which four players can go head-to-head to compete for bragging rights. Following in the Mario Party series footstepís, the game boasts just enough chance through dice and spinners to make the game feel balanced, something that recent Mario Party games execute poorly. The implementing of this gives the game a sort of casual feel by that there is a slim chance that a veteran may be beaten by a first-time player.
So there is the party aspect of the game. The remaining portion of the game plays similar to a role-playing game in which players select a character, a class for him/her, and then embark on a great journey in which the king deals out objectives that must be completed. Each turn will have players casting spells, using items, spinning a spinner, travelling the allotted number of turns spun, etc.
Scattered across the mass over-world are spaces for characters to land on after they have spun the spinner. These spaces can either benefit or harm the player. Some will give you cash and items whereas others will force you into a battle. In these battles, players can either attack or defend, and if the battle is not over after your turn, it is halted and resumed after the remaining three players have made their move.
Hit and Miss
Iím not going to lie; Dokapon Kingdom isnít perfect, nor does it even come close. The graphics and audio are lacking in areas, and interface is just barely above par. Brown boxes are married to simple text in terms of presentation and the textures to rather blocky figures. All criticism aside, Dokapon Kingdom is still enjoyable. How, you ask? The customization aspect of the game separates it from other generic party games.
So there you have it, a run-down of the surprising Dokapon Kingdom. What many expected to be a rip-off of the Mario Party franchise actually turned out to be a very fresh and strategic party game. It is a shame that the game will likely be met with poor sales. But at the end of the day, the game will always remain one of the best role-playing games on Wii. For those anxiously awaiting epic entries in blockbuster franchises, Dokapon Kingdom may just be able to satisfy your appetite, because as of now, there doesnít seem to be anything huge coming state-side within the next year.
No Pros and Cons at this time