Dokapon Kingdom: Connect – Review
Follow Genre: Party Game, RPG
Developer: Idea Factory
Publisher: Idea Factory
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Dokapon Kingdom: Connect – Review

Site Score
Good: Offers a surprising amount of depth to its RPG elements
Bad: Random luck is way too much of a factor
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 5.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Way back in 2007, Japanese developer Sting Entertainment took it upon themselves to answer the question of what would happen if you combined Mario Party with traditional RPG mechanics. The result was Dokapon Kingdom, a party game for the Wii and the PS2. Idea Factory is now providing the game with a second lease on life in the form of Dokapon Kingdom: Connect. This new version is not a sequel but a remastered version of that original game, with the added functionality of online connectivity. While we weren’t familiar with the original, we were still eager to find out whether or not this classic party game held up, over 15 years after its original debut. If you’re reading this, we assume you’re wondering the same, so let’s dive in to see what Dokapon Kingdom: Connect is all about.


Given that this is a party game, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Dokapon Connect isn’t exactly heavy on story, but we still appreciate the effort that was put into providing the game with a coherent narrative. The opening scene explains that people have stopped paying taxes after monsters invaded the kingdom. The king needs his income, of course, so he recruits four brave adventurers to deal with the invaders. Whoever generates the most income for the king by getting rid of monsters will earn the hand of the princess in marriage. Of note here is that the king doesn’t discriminate: female adventurers will also be able to be betrothed to his daughter.


The original Dokapon Kingdom is a niche title but it also has a diehard fanbase, so in bringing the game to a modern-day audience, Idea Factory had to carefully balance between staying true to the original visuals and making sure things looked appealing on modern screens as well. Thankfully, the developer succeeded in this. Although the visuals look undeniably dated, they also carry an old-school charm. The bright colors and cartoony art direction certainly help here. Because the game’s aesthetics are so simplistic, performance isn’t an issue either. All in all, Dokapon Kingdom: Connect’s visuals ooze charm, even if the game isn’t pushing any graphical boundaries.


We couldn’t help but feel that Dokapon Kingdom: Connect’s soundscape was a bit of an afterthought, as it wasn’t particularly outstanding or memorable. Now, this is one of those rare cases where we don’t really mind this because of the game’s nature as a party title. If you’re playing this with your friends, the game’s audio is likely going to be drowned out by the insults and shouts that you’ll be flinging against one another.


As we mentioned in the introduction, Dokapon Kingdom: Connect is a Mario Party-esque party game for up to four players. The main difference here is that the minigames that are Mario Party’s bread and butter have been replaced with RPG elements, so instead of counting fruit or balancing on a tightrope, you’ll be fighting monsters, collecting gear, and learning new abilities. It’s still a party game where you face off against your fellow players rather than cooperate with them, however, so the friendship-ruining potential still shines brightly here. You’ll run across a game board, with each square offering something, whether it’s a shop, an enemy to fight, or taking on one of your opponents. It’s an interesting take on the formula, although we couldn’t help but feel like the original Dokapon Kingdom formula has a few major flaws that Dokapon Kingdom: Connect doesn’t really address.

For one, the core game is a surprisingly lengthy affair. We don’t want to continuously compare Dokapon Kingdom: Connect to Mario Party, but it *is* the closest and most well-known game to reference. While the average game of Mario Party will take between 90 and 120 minutes, a game of Dokapon Kingdom: Connect that lasts under three hours is considered a short one, with an average playthrough taking 15 hours. This is a game that requires a significant investment of time and dedication. That’s fine if you’ve got a dedicated group of friends that are eager to pull an all-nighter, but it’s far less suited to casual play. Leveling up and advancing across the map takes time, and it’s easy to hit a wall when you’re under-leveled and are facing a boss. Add to this that luck plays a much bigger role in Dokapon Kingdom: Connect than it does in Mario Party, and you’ll find that a bad streak can really take your enjoyment out of the game. While Mario Party can also feel luck-based at times, that game at least gives the illusion that player skill is important through the minigames. Here, victory seems tied to whoever was lucky enough to land on the right space and pick up the best gear, or who happened to rob an NPC shopkeeper by winning a round of rock-paper-scissors. The game does offer additional modes that offer a faster and lighter version of the game, but these cut out so much that they feel like bastardized versions of the core experience that aren’t really worth mentioning.

Because of the sheer randomness and luck-based mechanics, the actual board game part of Dokapon Kingdom: Connect is perhaps the weakest element here. The game’s combat is simple to understand but offers a surprising amount of tactical depth and interacting with NPCs never failed to put a smile on our faces. If you persevere and actually succeed in building a powerful character, Dokapon Kingdom: Connect becomes a surprisingly engaging and capable RPG, even if it can feel a little grindy at times. It’s also a game that greatly benefits from the added online functionality, not in the least because of the sheer length. Being able to play the game over multiple sessions rather than in a single sitting helps tremendously. That said, the original Dokapon Kingdom was always a niche title, and this reincarnation isn’t going to have a lot more mainstream appeal either. Playing online also requires picking up multiple copies of the €49.99 title, which makes this a tough one to recommend. It’s fun to play through the game once, but unless you’re a diehard fan, we can’t really imagine this one becoming a mainstay in anyone’s library. In turn, the price tag becomes a bit of an issue, especially because playing against AI opponents really diminishes a lot of the experience.


The least we can say about Dokapon Kingdom: Connect is that it’s an interesting take on the genre, even if it didn’t fully gel with us. We’re not sure whether it’s because the game is showing its age or if it’s simply held back by design flaws, but we weren’t particularly impressed with what’s on offer here. The foundation is solid, but the sheer length, luck-based randomness, and uncomfortably high price tag make this one a title that we cannot wholeheartedly recommend to a mainstream audience. Now, if you happen to be in the specific niche that Dokapon Kingdom: Connect is targeting, you’ll absolutely adore what’s on offer here, because it remains a well-made game. But if you’re in the more casual party game crowd, there’s a specific mustachioed plumber whose social get-togethers we can recommend instead.

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Rating: 5.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Dokapon Kingdom: Connect - Review, 5.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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