Originally a voice audio saga from French author John Lang, the world of Naheulbeuk is now available in video game form for the first time. The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos find its way to Nintendo’s hybrid machine a little later than you may have seen elsewhere, has it been worth the wait? Let’s take a look.
The Amulet of Chaos finds our stereotypical group of heroes, somewhat reluctantly, tackling one of the great dungeons in the land in an attempt to secure the legendary treasure from under the nose of the evil Lord Zangdar. Who knows if this clumsily put together party will succeed, but it should be quite the adventure.
The games story is good in that the story is fully voiced as you play through it, but where it’s execution lands will vary from person to person. This is due to its delivery of parodying fantasy tropes alongside plentiful toilet humour. Personally it didn’t really click with me, ended up finding several characters to be irritating more than amusing, tho there was still some that were enjoyable – It is after all a humorous adventure, but how funny it is along the way will vary. Fans of the original work from John Lang will no doubt get the most from the story here, with plenty of side quests and additional conversations beyond the story to seek out.
The games presentation is also a mixed bag in the same way the story is. Having a stylised design helps create some nice looking stages here, and there’s plenty of individuality in the partys designs – enemies are also detailed too. Plenty of voice acting and a fitting soundtrack round of the presentation, but those aren’t really the issue here.
The game seems to be the same whether it is docked or portable to me, and I don’t mean docked mode running portable as it seems to be the other way – resolution looks the same and not quite native portable either. Framerate isn’t too different either with what looks a 30fps lock, portable holds it well enough so I guess any kinks are ironed out by the faster clocks of docked mode. To be honest it all kinda makes the docked mode redundant so the game was mainly played portable.
One area the game does excel in somewhat is thankfully the gameplay. If a turn based tactical RPG is what you are looking for then this could grab your attention as it plays similar to the likes of XCOM or Disgaea. Skirmishes will generally see you up against a group of foes with the one that can take control of areas of cover etc. dictating the flow of battle. There’s a good amount of variety in your party too as each member follows a typical fantasy trope, but there are some nuances too in being able to take up weapons etc. that you wouldn’t expect. Party members can be further customised via the skill tree, but they never really overlap too much so each stays useful over the course of the game – highlighted by special actions within the stages such as the thief being able to disable traps.
Making the most of each characters traits is also important. The likes of mage & archer are best at range with weak defence, whereas the dwarf has limited range & weapon reach but can soak up a lot of damage – best used as a decoy. Whilst I mentioned a skill tree earlier, further character customisation from items & equipment isn’t quite so fleshed out unfortunately, something you’ll notice early.. The early game is also packed full of detailed tutorials that it can become a drag, but once past the first few skirmishes you’ll have a handle on the game pretty well and it becomes less intrusive.
The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos is somewhat of a mixed bag, but how much will vary. Story can be hilarious if it clicks but somewhat lame if it doesn’t, there’s also no denying the stylised world is let down by the games presentation & performance on the Switch. Still, the gameplay does pick up the slack and carry the rest of the game anyway, with plenty of battles during its runtime to make the most of your clumsy party. Fans of the works may have sampled this elsewhere already, but for everyone else there is good strategy RPG here on the go if you can forgive the shortcomings.
Can seem as clumsy as your party at times, but has its heart in the right place when it counts.