Developed By: Artefacts Studio Published By: Plug In Digital, Dear Villagers Categories: RPG, Strategy Release Date: 06.24.21
The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk to me feels like a videogame version of one of those tabletop RPGs that a bunch of friends work on together. By that, I mean it comes off as just a bunch of people having fun, which is reflected in the dialogue. The very, very self aware dialogue.
Lets get this out of the way immediately. This game has one of the worst, most constrictive tutorials I’ve ever played. It does explain what it wants you to do and how to move in menus, but if you don’t do EXACTLY what it wants, it won’t let you even move. The game will tell you “Press A to cast a spell and in the left stick to free roam”, but then will neglect to tell you how to even highlight that spell, which is using the d-pad. If we get passed that, then you get some really fun RPG mechanics.
What you get is a strategy RPG with ever class all together at once. There’s always a party member for each situation. It just means you need to plan things out. With moving, you have to consider two grids. One, a blue grid is how far you can move and still perform an action like an attack or skill afterwards. The orange grid is the maximum distance you can move, but you’ll be defenseless that turn. If you’re surrounded by enemies, it’s probably best to not move too far. Some classes need to move up close however, like the thief, who’s great at backstabbing or flanking. The archer or witch don’t have this problem, as they have great ways to fight at a distance. In the Witch’s case however, her spell can’t just be spammed, as there’s a cooldown for using abilities like that, regardless of class.
It’s often best to just play smart. I’m nowhere near good at SRPGs, so you can see how someone like me would struggle. Thankfully, there’s difficulty options to choose from, which if you’re a fan of the writing, you might just want to play on the easiest difficulty. As it’s an RPG, there’s stats and skill trees. If you don’t want to fiddle with that, you don’t have to, as there’s an option to have the game do all of that fun stuff like allocating skill points for you. A welcomed streamlining process.
While not in battles, you can wander around with your party, loot, avoid traps, and most importantly, have random conversations. Looting will get you treasures, foods, and the like to sell or trade. Those will often be in much safer areas, like an inn or tavern, between the fun dungeon parts.
The writing is great in The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk. Not so different from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, everyone in the story is a bit of a greedy, selfish jerk. That isn’t to say nothing bad happens to them, it does. The Dwarf being greedy in a gameshow leads the team to being ambushed. These characters are barely heroes. At the same time, it makes me want to see them succeed, just to fumble their way through. Self referential or deprecating humor can either be funny, or get annoying really fast, thankfully, it never gets to the latter often enough. It isn’t a modern Sonic game.
I’m rather fond on the artstyle the game has, but the Switch is probably not the best place to play the game. It’s resolution seems rather low, as there’s a blurry look to things. Not to mention, the framerate TANKS in certain fights. This is a turn based game, which means it isn’t a a dealbreaker, but when it dips to near single digits when trying to choose what moves to do or where to do them, it becomes a huge issue. What becomes a bigger issue however is how otherwise unpolished it comes off. Load times are long, usually at least 20 seconds. Not to mention, as soon as I got to a tavern, audio would consistently just disappear.
The technical issues stacked up eventually, and I just didn’t have it in me to play the Switch port. I wanted to, the characters and writing was great, but I didn’t want to put up with the bugs and other issues. Play this on PC, I might even do so.
Buy Now: $44.99
*Game Download Code supplied for review purposes