Dokapon Kingdom: Connect Review – A Taxing Adventure
Title: Dokapon Kingdom: Connect
Release Date: May 9, 2023
Reviewed On: Switch
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Genre: RPG Board Game
It’s true that Mario Party has pretty much had a chokehold on the party game genre of video games, but there’s been a few titles that have attempted to give fans something new. In 2008, Dokapon Kingdom was introduced to the West, where players from the family-friendly board game scene unexpectedly started a game expecting to have fun. However, they soon became consumed by greed as the game went on.
But in order to push the people closest to you away, you’d need to have family and friends come over, which is something that no one does anymore. To mitigate this, Dokapon Kingdom: Connect is here as a remastered release with online functionality to cry alone as your in-game character goes into debt.
Dokapon Kingdom: Connect is technically the second remake of this title, but you’re not here for a history lesson, given that the only entry people know of in the West is Dokapon Kingdom on PS2 and Wii. To preface this review, if you’ve played Dokapon Kingdom, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting you’re getting yourself into. All your old strategies and paths are preserved to flex on online players worldwide. However, some updated systems can be found, so let’s start from the top.
Dokapon Kingdom: Connect‘s Story Mode introduces the Kingdom of Dokapon under attack. The king announces that anyone who has the most money will be able to marry his daughter. The jokes in this game don’t stop, as each chapter is closed out with a funny interaction between the king and his daughter.
Players will create a character by choosing a Job Class, with Advance Job classes available through gameplay. The customization is pretty limited, but more ways to personalize your experience are unlocked as you progress. The advanced job classes definitely shake things up in terms of strategy, as their field actions open up possibilities to interfere with other players.
However, the story isn’t really the highlight here. Instead, players will make their way through various locals and dungeons until they reach their goal or rage quit, whichever comes first. Returning is the option to become a Darkling is also available, where players can turn into a demon character for a few weeks and take out opposing players.
The general game flow has players spin a roulette to see how many spaces they can move. Whatever they land on will play out a scene. Most squares feature a battle encounter, but others can be shops, equipment, or other events. The various paths of the board offer many possibilities for the player, but the idea is simply to get stronger, earn money, and get to the next chapter.
I would say Dokapon Kingdom: Connect is way more fun to experience than it is to read about. The game just has so many moving parts, and the elements that players find “fun” vary from player to player. For example, some mini-games allow you to enter a fashion competition or test your luck, and there’s even an option to play a prank on players after beating them in a duel. As if taking their money and their pride isn’t enough already.
The arguments between players come after they race to secure properties around the game board. This introduces the option to collect taxes, but late gameplay becomes incredibly chaotic as players will utilize their higher stats and items to steal from other players, slow them down, or fight their land. It’s true that when money is involved, shit gets real.
Aside from Story Mode, players can customize the experience with Normal Mode, which allows you to choose several weeks, and whoever has the most money at the end wins. This is an excellent mode for those who just want a quick tour through the incredibly vast gameboards, but I preferred the Story Mode when playing with friends.
There’s also a Battle Royal Mode where you can choose, Town Race, Kill Race, or Shopping Race. Each mode comes with a specific goal, and whoever gets it first wins. What’s cool is that it provides a separate objective that isn’t just money-based.
The online mode is where the most fun is to be had, and it is the most significant feature of this remaster. Players can begin a game with up to three other players. A player can drop out and switch to a computer because these games can be long. A few records are kept, but the experience can be off the rails, depending on who you’re playing with. While there are some ways to interact with online players, the limited online chat functionality with Switch means you’ll likely have to find Discord communities to get the best experience.
Graphically, Dokapon Kingdom: Connect looks like the original with a fresh coat of paint. All the zany designs and situations have returned, backed up by a great soundtrack. However, I do find it strange the Switch release in the West has a couple of altered clothes on female characters. I usually can understand why these alterations were discussed, but here, I don’t think there was a reason for these changes.
Dokapon Kingdom: Connect remains a friend-ruining RPG board game experience that mirrors its PS2 counterpart. The unique mini-games and systems return to bring this unconventional party game to modern players. Playing with friends is still fun over a decade later, and the online options make it even more accessible. Still, its nuanced systems and limited new gameplay features may make it more of a novelty than a game with significant staying power.
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