Dungeons and Dragons have become one of the pillars of popular nerd culture within the last few years, so it is only natural that game developers would want to jump on that bandwagon. From the humble inside studio to the AAA world new titles based on the property have slowly been flooding the market. Today we are going to look at one of the newest releases on Game Pass.
The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos is more than a complicated name to spell. It is Artefacts Studio’s indie game that delves into the world of dungeons and dragons. The game sells itself as a wacky heroic adventure into a mystical tower as the player takes control of a party of level 1 characters.
The story is pretty standard, but not in the way you would think. You see, the plot manages to unfurl in a way that any D&D player would recognise. There is actual chaos as the characters all develop their relationships and react in various ways. There is the player who is waaaaay too into the roleplay aspect, another who is completely fed up with the party's antics. This familiarity, for players, at any rate, helps to keep everything interesting and engaging and there’s enough for people who aren’t fans as well. To be honest, the actual plot isn’t as important as the characters' interactions with each other, essentially like a real game of D&D.
The gameplay is very similar to X-Com in many ways, yet different in others. Players explore the dungeon until they are engaged by an enemy. Once this occurs the player places their characters and then enters a turn by turn battle. Each character is given a set amount of stamina, using this they can either move and attack or move a further distance. Added to this are several abilities for each character based on their class. There is certainly more of a difficulty curve than one would expect, and mistakes will cost you. The amount of health and defence the players have is minimal and any attack out of cover will hurt, and even potentially knock out your characters.
Visually the game is pretty simple, but the style works for the world. The fantasy setting allows the developers to add a good sense of variety to each of the floors to keep things interesting. The characters themselves are expressive, if a little bland, but they manage to convey everything they need to. The music is pretty simple, with the inn and battle music coming across as staples of the setting. It all helps to convey the idea of this being a D&D game, but without other people. However, the level design is a bit odd with some of the floors feeling a little off when moving around them. There is also a lack of variety in some of the character designs and it is hard to tell what is important or how strong the enemies are from a single glance.
The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos is a fun game to play, and the design choices help to connect it to the world it wants to remind players of. However, there is one major issue here that is hard to get past. The game touts itself as a wacky and comic adventure but, well, it just isn’t very funny. The issue is that the jokes are simple and lack any real depth. They don’t go much deeper than some pretty simple jokes relating to D&D and the classes. Some moments might elicit a chuckle, but that’s really about it. The other issue is the way the combat works out. In small numbers it is fun, but when larger groups of enemies turn up it starts to drag.
The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos is fun in its way, but it struggles to push past being anything more than a passing fancy. The game sells itself on the humour, but it isn’t enough to keep players invested. However, while the game is on Game Pass, it might be enough to while away an evening.
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