Dokapon Kingdom

Friendships Destroyed: 3 and Counting

And Atlus and developer Sting couldn't be happier that Dokapon Kingdom was responsible.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: July 4, 2008
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Billing your title as a "Friendship Destroying Game" isn't something that's generally taught in Marketing 101, but then again, most marketing departments don't really operate on the back imported, niche titles from Japan like Atlus'. Honestly, that's fine by us, because the publisher's regular attempts at bringing over unique Japanese fare have culminated in one of the best localization departments and one of the best PR/Marketing groups in the industry. They have an audience, they know it well, and they want only to make gamers that are into that stuff happy (we also hear making a few bucks here and there helps).

Take Dokapon Kingdom, for example. You probably didn't even know you wanted a game where you can punish (or collaborate with) friends in a mash-up of classic RPG bits like hit points, experience and leveling up with... a board game? Yes, it's a weird combo, but it's one that actually ends up taking the oh so familiar party game and actually adds the one thing most in the genre don't have: depth.

So it's an RPG, certainly, but being a party game, there's also the multiplayer element that must be addressed. While you can try to find a multi-tap, three controllers and three friends (or have a slightly easier time of it with a PS3), if you're flying solo, the game will auto-fill the rest of the four-person party with AI characters. A fairly deep character customization setup will allow you to pick from a handful of basic classes like mages, thieves, warriors and ninja (there's a greater pool of 12 classes -- including two hidden ones -- that you can graduate to after mastering a given class a la Final Fantasy Tactics).

The classes are your ticket to a number of extra little bonuses. As a thief, for instance, you can steal an item as you run by them. As a mage, you can use spells (two of 'em, in fact) before making a move. Your class is also your ticket to a payday at the end of the week, which is good because all those store spaces on the map need money. Well, technically they don't need money, since you can challenge a shopkeeper to a rock/paper/scissors battle. If you win, you'll get the loot, but if you lose, you'll be a wanted man or woman, meaning you can't get back into Dokapon Castle for a set number of turns.

Dokapon Castle, incidentally, is where weekly quests are doled out (and finished, so being wanted in this particular instance isn't a good thing). You don't have to follow the quests necessarily, but the payout is huge, and given that money is the key to winning, it's a good idea to go after the quest -- or another wanted player to get the bounty. Still, if you're looking to win a bit more at the end of the week, you can choose to liberate towns. By stopping on a town, you can drop in and take on the monsters living there, thus winning their support. They'll pay a little at first, but if you throw a little more cash their way, you can level up the town, thus earning you a whole hell of a lot more at the end of the week.
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