Dokapon Kingdom originally splashed across our screens over 15 years ago back in 2007. It made its home on the Wii & PS2 as a fun RPG/Board game hybrid could be fun for all the family. Now it makes its way to the Nintendo Switch, complete with added online play, to try and entice heroes back to the kingdom. Lets see if it succeeds.
One day in the peaceful land of Dokapon Kingdom, monsters suddenly appeared an begin attacking nearby towns. It didn’t take long for the economy to collapse and the people were left with nary a gold piece to their name. Taxes were no longer being paid and that’s when the King took action! He calls upon the bravest warriors to rescue these towns and get the gold flowing again! In exchange, the one who collects the most shall be rewarded with the Princess’ hand in marriage and the throne.
Story plays out like before with little change, but once the dice start rolling you’ll soon forget all about Kings & Princesses anyway. The game is similar to the one you remember from the Wii in almost every way, only now with a major addition in online play. I say its major but given the portable nature of the Switch it is something you may not use often, or at all. It does make for some good fun when used though given the AI can at times seem unfair. Luckily there’s 11 classes to try, 5 game modes to play, and several continents on the board to explore, so playing offline will keep you occupied enough as well.
Going in expected nothing more than a resolution boost really, and that’s pretty much what we got. The stylised nature of the visuals do a good job of masking improvements if there are any while keeping a pleasing outlook on the presentation. The world is as colourful and punchy as ever, which perfectly suits the small screen, as the game kinda gets away with its Wii port roots.
Another upside to the Wii visuals would be in performance, don’t think I noticed any hiccups at all during my time with the game. Things looked crisp when on the go in portable, but unfortunately (as usual I guess) docking the Switch is kind of naff. Not really any performance to improve on leaves a visual boost maybe, but it looks as if its just the same 720p as portable that doesn’t look too hot on a 48” screen.
First and foremost, Dokapon Kingdom is a board game. While there are other aspects to it the most predominant is the board game style world exploration and general structure of the game. Each turn you spin the roulette and hope for anything other than a 1 to move several spaces. There are multiple routes to take throughout the world so you actually need to plan carefully and hope to get the roll you require. Each space can bring a new challenge, from simple foes to bosses blocking your path, with some bonus spaces that can also add some items or gold to your inventory. The aim is to clear the board while building up wealth, which can also be invested, to finish the game on top. Each month in-game the players progress is tallied up . Planning each turn can be tricky with the luck of the dice, but doing some planning can see the leaderboard flip in just one round if it all works out.
I mentioned other aspects before and that comes from opportunities during each turn. For example you can get into fights with foes & boss characters, here the gameplay takes on a turn based RPG feel with a rock, paper and scissors styled combat. It’s usually down to luck if you choose the right option, a fight can turn in an instant if you do, but can leave you stuck for a few turns slogging it out if you don’t. With XP to earn and levels to raise, equipment or items to buy etc the game seems as much of an RPG as a board game and melds together surprisingly well for something of a kooky JRPG.
Dokapon Kingdom is as good as ever as something to kick back with, but this ‘Connect’ release is bit of a missed opportunity given the only headline new feature is online play – a little moot for a handheld that requires a wifi connection, but fun when used at home. Regular offline play is still great though, and portability makes it all the better allowing you to get a few turns in here & there, something which should draw previous heroes back to Dokapon alongside newcomers eager to earn some gold.
Dokapon Kingdom returns just as you remembered on the Wii, only now with option of online play to put the hot swapping to bed.