Dokapon Journey Review
Dokapon Journey box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Sting 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Atlus 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Apr. 14, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
The Journey is Long...
and I Can't Level Up!

by Amanda L. Kondolojy

Last year's Dokapon Kingdom for the Wii was certainly a mixed bag. On the one hand, I really loved it for being the first and only RPG/Party game mash-up I had ever played. Although the lack of online multiplayer as well as painfullylong CPU turns marred the experience, I was relatively pleased and was able to look past some of its shortcomings and appreciate the new things it tried. However, now that the second entry in this emergent series has been released, I don't feel the need to be so forgiving.

Dokapon Journey screenshot

For a follow-up title, Dokapon Journey recycles basically every element from its predecessor. Again you play as a warrior competing with two or three others in order to get the king some money (and marry his daughter). The plot may be a little hokey, but since this is a party game, I don't really think it matters that much.

Your character (along with all the others) can then spin a spinner and move along a board with obstacles, monsters, shops, and treasure. One thing that is immediately annoying is how strict the moving system is. If you have a specific monster you want to fight, and it is five blocks away, you will have to spin a 5 exactly on the spinner to be able to engage the monster. So, if for instance, if you spin a 6, you will land on the space behind the monster, and you will then need to hope that you spin a 1 so that you can backtrack the one space you missed. This can make engaging in battles a little cumbersome, and makes luck a little too important in the gameplay.

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The battle system in the game, however, isn't half bad. When you land on a monster space, you will have to draw a card to see who goes first. You can then choose from four standard "attack" or "defend" actions based on your characters class (chosen at the beginning of the game). While most standard battles will be decided after one turn, if you are fighting a big monster, your battle turns will replace your normal moving turns.

Dokapon Journey screenshot

This is a real detriment to the gameplay, because battles take far too long when you have to wait your turn for every attack phase. While other characters can run around, get treasure, and buy things from shops, you are stuck in battle and can't move until the battle ends. And when you have a battle that lasts more than three turns, it can get very boring.

The battle system itself suffers from being dull, chiefly because it works a little too well as an RPG. It is strictly turn-based, with no active elements whatsoever. You trigger attacks by pressing the face button tied to a specific attack (such as "strike" or "MP Blast") and then wait for the other party to attack (or defend), and then your turn is over. When you are in battle, the extent of the gameplay per turn is pressing two buttons, which is not exactly that satisfying. This issue is compounded by the fact that other player's turns can take an excess of two to three minutes each (or even longer if they decide to go shopping for new weapons/equipment), and you have to wait ten minutes just so you can press two buttons.

Dokapon Journey screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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