Last fall, the Dokapon series made its debut on the Wii and PS2 with Dokapon Kingdom. With its fusion of RPG and board game elements, it was a unique experience for gamers and a welcomed change from the static RPG formula. The game may have fallen off the radar for some, and while it did have its problems, it was still a pleasant surprise for most that played it. Now players are in for another pleasant surprise. Atlus and Sting have teamed up again to bring DS owners some Dokapon love with its new release Dokapon Journey, scheduled for an April 14th release.
Dokapon Journey features a story mode similar to its predecessor, Dokapon Kingdom. You compete against 2-3 other players in a board game full of twists and turns. During the game, you will need to beat monsters, earn money, liberate towns, and viciously destroy your competitors' progress. If you are successful, you will not only win the hand of the king's daughter (whether you are male or female), but you will also become heir to the throne. The story mode is eight chapters long. Each chapter not only marks progress in the story, but it also adds extra quests for you to complete.
The fun won't stop once you beat the story mode, however. The game also offers greed and battle modes. In greed mode, you're money hungry, and the player with the most money wins. Battle mode is nice for players who want to set one of three specific objectives. The first one is a collect-a-thon, where you have to bring back orbs to the castle. There's also a liberation race, where the player who liberates the most towns wins. And for those of you who want to play dirty and take out some pent up aggression on other players, death match is the mode for you. In death match, the goal is to cast your fury on other players and defeat them.
All the different game modes are sure to take up a good amount of your time, but the game will probably shine most in multiplayer mode. Let's face it: It's so much more fun to be devious and competitive against other people than the computer AI. Multiplayer mode allows up to four people to participate in single or multi-card local wireless fun. Additionally, a great advantage of Dokapon Journey being on the DS is that you no longer have to gather a group of people together to play the game; you can now bring your game wherever you go.
For those not familiar with the series, the battles occur in a turn-based fashion. At the beginning of the game, you choose a class. Dokapon Journey has eight classes to choose from: fighter, amazon, bandit, spy, mage, witch, paladin, and valkyrie. There are advantages and disadvantages to each class. Some classes are more proficient in one area and less in another, and each job has different skills. Also, as you level up, you will be able to customize your class by distributing skill points as you please.
The graphics are nice for the DS. They are crisp, clear, and illuminated. The character portraits are also done well and have a cute appeal. Furthermore, the music is upbeat and lighthearted, which definitely will get you in the gaming spirits; unfortunately, it can be irritating at times. A little variety might have made the music more enjoyable.
With April 14th less than a month away, DS owners should get ready for some competitive mayhem. After all, one of the tag lines for Dokapon Journey is: "The friendship-destroying RPG!" It seems the more dirty you play, the more you are rewarded. So, get ready to anger your friends and make some enemies; Dokapon Journey is on the horizon. Stay tuned for the full review coming soon.