The Dungeons of Naheulbeuk, by Artefacts Studios, is a strategy, turn based, RPG. What it does well it does so wonderfully so. However… I didn’t get far into this game despite enjoying the battles so let’s just bask in the positives before trudging through the muck and mirth that encompasses The Dungeons of Naheulbeuk: (DoN for future reference)
When you first start DoN, you are greeted by a deluge of options. New game? sure have 4 difficulties and a handful of options before you even get to hit play. Want to check out what the actual settings tab has? Be ready to drown in customization then. Narrators gender, tutorial, auto attribution of skill points, pausing or leaving the game play while in the background… There is just so much you can do to change that I could spend an hour talking about it. Just know that if there was every anything you feel was missing in a games options screen… It’s probably here.
Aesthetically, DoN is very reminiscent of a 90’s to early 00’s cartoon. The cartoony characters, the colorful yet dulled dungeons, the whimsical music and sound effects are all there. Bring a bowl of Cap’n Crunch to this party and you’ll find yourself reliving a part of your childhood. Of course this also makes it a reminder why things in the past might want to stay there but more on that later. for now I have one more positive to share and that is the gameplay.
The gameplay in DoN is just fantastic when it works. Controlling it can be a bit of a nightmare but when you get the hang of it combat is just wonderful. Certainly not designed for newcomers to the genre of SRPG though. Positioning is key here. You have collateral damage, backstabbing, being attacked while moving if you are close to an enemy, support buffs and attacks, terrain boosts, hitting an ally instead of an enemy… Let’s just say if you don’t put the effort in placing your characters just right; you are in for a world of hurt. This will be very rewarding for those who enjoy depth and consequence but will turn off anybody who looks at the deceiving game design and expecting an introductory to the genre.
Unfortunately this is where I stop praising DoN. While the game aesthetics drew me in, the humor has all the charm of a D&D campaign irl; warts and all. Humor is mildly juvenile and combined with the frantic pacing of the character voices, makes for scatterbrained and unapologetically annoying banter in an otherwise perfectly fine story. The fact people rush their lines while other characters interrupt one another… It’s just like my college days are clawing at the back of my mind; desperately trying to sink me back into despair with a strong reminder why I didn’t last long with our Role Play games club. There are also inconsistencies with the spoken lines and what is written. I remember in the tutorial the ranger said “that’s an elf” but the dialogue box was “that’s the elf”. Is this showing of different meanings a lack of polished editing or poor voice direction? who knows. The dialogue is also peppered with swearing and gross out humor; giving it an edge I personally feel clashes too much with the overall presentation.
The battle system, while rewarding as stated earlier, controls like an egg in a tornado; ridiculously unwieldy and bound to hit you in the face. While the game does support controllers; the tutorial will make it abundantly clear in a passive aggressive manner that keyboard and mouse will offer you a much better time with using the various interfaces the game offers. It would have been nice to have my Xbox controller also have worth as I prefer using it but it’s literally a chaotic mess to utilize the battle menu with it as well as the inventory system if you aren’t equipping things directly from a character slot. Speaking of which… when in the inventory screen and selecting a character they will say a line. this gets annoying fast. I ended up using both a controller and the keyboard mouse to make things “manageable”.
The combined “humor” and poor implementation of controls really sucked the fun out of this game for me before the tutorial was even done. That’s a shame because it has decent and inventive combat for it’s genre. while others will probably see past these things and enjoy the game; I personally just find it insulting and frustrating that fun gameplay is behind Such unpolished presentation and has the personality of an edgy step child of Saturday morning cartoons gross out humor.
Overall this edgy Myspace fanfic of Dave the barbarian, repurposed to avoid Disney’s lawyers, just fell flat on it’s delivery of a competent and deep Strategy RPG wrapped in tongue in cheek humor. Avoid it unless you think fart jokes and attention devoid conversations are still relevant or you are willing to skip all dialogue to enjoy the gameplay.
*This game was provided free from the publisher. The review is of my own thoughts alone and not influenced by any third party.
- It looks and sounds great.
- In-depth evolution of the SRPG genre is competant and engaging for those with the patience to utilize it's mechanics
- Story and gameplay clash for the ultimate mid-life crisis
- Controls terribly.
- Contains all the worst qualities of your college D&D group.