For the last year or so I’ve been getting into tabletop gaming. When I first started out, I had a weird notion of what it was about—super serious people pretending to be other people, and arguing about dice rolls. I mean, most of that is true, but tabletop games can be a whole lot goofier than all that. You might be wondering where I’m going with this, since this is a video game review, but I haven’t really found a video game that emulated the tabletop group zaniness until I played The Dungeon Of Nahelbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos.
The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos, besides being a mouthful, is an adventure role-playing game with turn-based strategy combat. It mixes CRPGish gameplay with a buttload of humor. Apparently it is based on the established Naheulbeuk universe, created by French author John Lang as a parody of traditional role-playing games and heroic fantasy clichés, but even if you’re not familiar with that series, The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk touches on a lot of tropes you’ll definitely be familiar with if you’ve ever played any sort of role-playing game.
In The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk you play as a party of adventurers with seven members. There are six core members: the ranger, wizardess, barbarian, thief, elf, dwarf and ogre—with an additional (and optional) seventh member that you can choose. There is synergy between certain members, not only because of their varied abilities, but also because of their talents that lend additional buffs for being around certain characters. See, teamwork is important in The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk, and even standing next to a team member lends a precision bonus. As a game that mocks tropes, the typical setup of healer, tank, and damage dealers are present—though with a little bit more versatility and a little less specialization.
Most of your time in The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk will be spent in, well, the dungeon of Naheulbeuk. There isn’t a large epic, continent or world spanning quest, and despite its charm the dungeon lacks many interesting locations. Exploration is probably the weakest part of The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk, though there are secrets to discover for those who seek them—but you are mostly railroaded from one encounter to the next. Whether it is main or side quest, you are told to go somewhere, and inevitably there is a combat encounter. And that’s the gameplay loop: short bouts of exploration and waypoint following, and then you meet a group of enemies and fight. Loot gear, heal your party, and repeat.
I really wish there was more customization. You only can choose one of your party members—and when the choice comes you’re not even able to compare them. Each character has their own skill tree and gear, though most of the skills and abilities are rather pedestrian. Gear is the same way, with item names often being the most exciting and stand-out aspect.
For a game that’s based around comedy and parody, The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk has great turn-based combat. It does nothing revolutionarily, but it has an incredibly tight and fun combat system. Anyone familiar with turn-based combat games will feel at home. There are a large amount of spells, attacks, and enemy types, too. Destructible cover and other hazards make battles feel like they could turn at any moment. A big part of what makes The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk so satisfying to play is its surprising amount of polish.
The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk also has some impressive production values. It’s not a AAA game, but it has bright colorful graphics, and great animations. It’s by no means perfect—I ran into a few bugs here and there in my review build—but it’s incredibly satisfying to play. Its production values are enhanced even further by the good voice acting. There are a few missteps and lower quality contributions, but the voice acting really carries the humor—which is mostly character based.
The humor in The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk isn’t really my preference, but even so, it has its moments. It is a little corny in parts, but it manages to get the job done. There is a good amount of censored vulgarity, and most of that falls-flat, humor-wise. But what really shines is the interactions between the characters—and the quirks of the characters themselves. I found myself a little put off by the type of humor at first, but then it clicked. I started to realize that the banter between the characters sounded like our weekly tabletop sessions—bad jokes and all. I absolutely hated the Elf’s voice, though.
I was surprised how much I ended up liking The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos. It’s not exactly the type of game I would seek out, but I’m really glad I had the chance to play it. It has a slightly irreverent humor that can be obnoxious at times, but the interaction between the main cast makes up for any low points. It also has surprisingly impressive production values and polish—everything looks good, and it feels fun to play—especially with its great turn-based combat.
The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos is available today
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