Game Review: Dokapon Kingdom (Wii)

Hey everybody. Sorry for not posting in a few days…I barely have time to sit down anymore. It’s one of those weeks…

Anyway, today I’m reviewing the game Dokapon Kingdom for the Nintendo Wii, published by Atlus. Atlus has made many role-playing games (RPGs) and tactics-based games since I was a child, including:

  • Many Bomberman games
  • The Ogre Battle series
  • The Disgaea series
  • The Trauma Center series
  • Brigandine

Overview

Dokapon Kingdom is a party-style game with many RPG elements. The overall gameplay is very similar to the Mario Party series and plays best when you play with several other people. However, unlike typical party games, Dokapon Kingdom has a story mode that allows a single player or more to work on missions as you play through the game. The main goal in Dokapon Kingdom in story mode is to obtain the highest net worth to appease the Dokapon King. Your net worth is determined by the amount of money you collect and the value of the towns you control. Controlling a town consists of either defeating a boss-style monster in a battle or taking it from another player under certain circumstances.

Read more after the jump…

Gameplay

How do you gain money? The simplest answer is to fight enemies, sell items, or take it from enemies or other players. The King also has several contests to earn money, and usually provides a hefty reward for defeating a “big boss”. Also, accomplishing story-based missions usually nets you some cash. If you make the King happy enough, he may bestow control of a castle to you, which is basically a large town that cannot be taken away (barring the use of a Darkling, see further below).

The game takes place only a weekly basis. Each day of the week is a single turn for each player. The day of the week determines if shops are open, what sales are going, etc. Movement performed each turn via a 6-item spinner (similar to a 6-sided dice). Whatever number the spinner lands on is how many spaces you are required to move, and you cannot move backwards. To purchase items, weapons, or magic, you must land on the appropriate shop. The same is true for capturing a town. There are also a number of spaces to land on, which may give you items, weapons, money, etc. They may also take away things or even weaken your character. “Normal” spaces are the most common type of space and they usually consist of a battle with a random enemy of the current area. Enemies differ in each area, so leaving the Dokapon Castle area in the start of the game is a quick way to a shallow grave. If you land on a normal space that has another player already on it, the players will battle each other. Sometimes landing on a normal space will trigger special events that can help or hurt the player. For instance, anytime the character Weber appears, it’s usually very bad news such as giving you an item that eats one of your items every turn until none are left.

Battles

Battles start by choosing a card, which will randomly let you attack first or second in a turn. On offense, you have 2 options: Attack and Strike. You also have 2 other options for a skill and a magic, for example Pickpocket and Drain. Skills and magics are learned or purchased. On attack, your player launches a normal attack against an enemy. If it hits, it does normal damage. Depending on the speed attribute of the enemy, you may randomly miss at attack.  When using Strike, your player launches a powerful attack against the enemy. All actions are infinite use, so you are free to use any attack without worrying about conserving magic points or whatever.

Why would you ever want to not use Strike since it’s a much more powerful attack? That’s where the defensive options kick in. When on defense, you have 3 options: Defend, Counter, and Give Up. You also have one option for a skill that a character can learn. Defend lowers damage from an Attack. Counter causes a Strike to miss, and counterattacks. Give Up lets you end the battle and take a random “minor” penalty, such as dropping some money and not moving for a turn or two. This design puts both attacker and defender in control of their fate and adds some skill and thought to the battle, not just stats and weapons. If you believe the enemy will attack, then you should probably defend. If you believe the enemy will Strike (powerful attack), then you can Counter to avoid the attack completely and cause damage. This design also allows players to use different strategies. For example, a conservative move would be to choose Counter even if you expect the enemy to attack. Although you may take damage from the attack, a successful Strike might be able to kill your character, so Counter may be the least risky option.

If both players are still alive after attacking and defending, the battle will continue to the next turn. If the player defeats an enemy, he/she gets money, experience, and possibly an item. Experience is used to reach the next level, which increases your stats, teaches new skills, etc. If a player looses a battle, he/she will be teleported back to the Dokapon Castle or last temple visited on the map and be unable to do anything for a few turns. He/She may also drop some or all of his/her money, drop an item or weapon, or have a prank played on him/her (i.e. renaming the player, changing his/her hair style, etc.).

Job Classes

Characters start the game with random stats based on the job class they choose. Warriors generally have high attack and Hit Points (HP), and these stats increase more frequently and by larger amounts than other job classes. Warriors also usually have very low speed and magic guard, which makes them susceptible to magic. Magicians generally have high magic guard and moderate speed, but low attack and defense, but they can carry many spell items compared to other job classes. Thieves have very high speed but are physically weak. However, thieves have the ability to steal items from other players.

As you battle with a player, he/she will increase their job level, which determines their weekly salary and can make new skills available for battle. When somebody fully levels up a job, it becomes mastered. Mastered jobs provide money bonuses, increased stats based on the mastered job, and usually opens up a new job class for that user. Players can switch job classes at any time by landing on the Dokapon Castle.

Darkling Powers

Here’s one of my largest complaints about this game. The catch-up logic is far too overcompensating. If you are ahead of another player, things start to not go your way. If you are behind, it’s not too difficult to start catching up. If you get too far behind, your character starts to hear a dark voice. If so, he/she can land on a “Dark Space” on the map and may a contract with Weber. In exchange for giving up all money, items, and towns, the player gains Darkling powers for 2 weeks. As a Darkling:

  • You are nearly impossible to defeat until very late into the game and can usually kill players in 1 attack.
  • When you kill another player, you get the option to throw away their money, throw away their items, throw away their weapon, or throw away their shield.
  • Killing another player earns many experience points.
  • You get anywhere from 2 to 5 spinners per turn, which makes it very easy to go anywhere on the map very quickly.
  • You fully heal HP and cure any status ailments when you land on a town that a boss controls.
  • Landing on a town controlled by a player or nobody, will summon a boss to the town to take control of the town. This will also earn experience points.
  • At the start of every turn, a spinner will appear to earn “Dark Art” points. Dark Arts can be used each turn to close shops, put all players asleep, summon all players to your your position and immediately attack them, summon bosses to all towns to take control of all towns, change all normal spaces to spaces that cause the player to battle you if they land on one, etc. Dark Arts are also the only way I’ve seen to take control of a castle away from a player.
  • And more!

Needless to say, if somebody goes Darkling, you’re screwed. In a matter of a few turns, the playing field will be completely leveled or possibly favor the player the player that was behind. This is way too much.

Conclusions

Overall, this is a very good game if you have a few people over, and is still a good game if nobody else is around and you like RPGs. For teens or older players, I would suggest turning off the character voices since they are very cheesy and childlike. I would also love the option to be able to turn off certain types of random events, especially Darkling powers. Other than that, the game is a very solid choice for party and RPG lovers.

Ratings

Visuals: 6/10 (Typical for the Wii, but still reminds me of SNES graphic quality)
Audio: 7/10 (Typical party-style game audio, but annoying dubbing)
Controls: 10/10 (There’s only a few buttons to use and they’re on-screen and obvious. You can use a Wii Remote, Gamecube, or Wii Classic controller)
Gameplay: 9/10 (Very Solid)
Replay Value: 8/10 (Never gets old. This is not a one-play through game)

Total: 40/50 = 80% (B-)

If you are like me and don’t mind the aged graphics and turn off the character voices, this is a great game. If you are concerned about graphics, then you probably aren’t using a Wii anyway.

Next Time

Look forward to my review of Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope for the XBox 360. This prequel of the Star Ocean series is slated to be one of the few, but great RPGs for the XBox 360. With 3 full dual-layer DVDs, it’s bound to make it’s mark. Will it live up to its predecessors?

More information: IGN

Comments (3)

TonicMarch 26th, 2009 at 12:59 AM

Thanks! i found this to be very useful.

AndrewBoldmanJune 4th, 2009 at 7:16 AM

Hi, good post. I have been woondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll definitely be coming back to your site.

AmberlieghAugust 3rd, 2010 at 7:25 AM

ok so ive been playing this for about a week and its really fun
EXCEPT the last part at chapter 3
ive bought 5 magical keys 3 times now and brought it back to the king but he wont even acknowledge them!!!!
y isnt it working?!?!?!?!

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