Cladun: This is an RPG! Review
Nippion Ichi Software (NIS) continues it's streak of awkward, yet innovated RPGs with the release of Cladun: This is an RPG! Cladun is what gamers may call an 8-bit dungeon crawler. Dungeon crawlers allow players to wander around a series of randomly generated dungeons and search for rare items. Dungeon crawlers have been around for years. Cladun takes the gameplay of dungeon crawlers and adds a little humor to make it one of the best downloadable and affordable RPGs for the Playstation Portable (PSP).
Players step into the world of Acanus Cella with the introduction of Souma and Pudding. Souma and Pudding join the cast of characters, which can range from pretty awkward to rather interesting. The cast includes a talking cat, who is actually from a royal bloodline, and a cranky female wizard named Despina. While Cladun has a full cast of characters, it lacks an overarching story. Each character is introduced with a certain predicament and they spend their time in Acanus Cella waiting for something to happen. The game never clearly states why these characters are in Acanus Cella. It becomes apparent thatCladun isn't a played for it's deep story.
Gamers can use any character they want as their main character. If players want to see the ending to a particular character's predicament, they can always go to a small cave in Acanus Cella where credits will start to role and a final scene with the character is shown. A first for many RPGs, gamers can finish the game whenever they want. They can just go up to a door and leave the world of Acanus Cella.
Cladun isn't visually awe striking, yet the soundtrack stands out more then the graphics.The music is great especially the opening vocal theme. Cladun features very unique and catchy dungeon themes. An interesting feature to Cladun is an option to listen to music in orchestral or in 8-bit retro forms. While it was nice to have this option, gamers may prefer the orchestral version of the music, because it makes the game feel more engaging.
Exploring through an 8-bit landscape
Cladun is an action game, with RPG elements. Players traverse the mystical world of Arcanus Cella and jump into a portal to enter the dungeon world. Gamers will hack and slash their way trough many different monsters they encounter. Once an exit is unlocked by the termination of a key monster, players can exit the dungeon and collect all the experience and items gained. The controls aren't as smooth as other 8-bit dungeons crawlers like the Legend of Zelda. Movement is sluggish, but once players get use to it, they will eventually have the controls down within the first hour of gaming. There is no real satisfaction players can get from a dungeon crawler other then the sheer enjoyment of leveling up one's characters, collecting rare items, and finding how far a specific character can explore a dungeon without dying.
Dungeons feature many things that can affect characters. Environmental factors can harm the main character. For example, grass can slow players down and make it harder for a player to take down an enemy. In addition, there are other factors like fire and water which can have an affect on the main character. There are certain levels that contain ice which can cause players to slide in any given direction. All dungeons contain various traps. These traps can have positive or negative affects on characters. Positive traps can heal or increase a character's speed, while negative traps can harm players, such as arrow traps. Traps keep players on their toes. If gamers aren't paying attention to what is happening on screen they may accidentally trigger a trap.
If crawling around low level dungeons gets old, players can enter the Ran-geon, a 99 level dungeon containing various gates that transport players deeper into the dungeon. These gates also affect monster levels and item drop rate. Cladun also offers a local multiplayer for both co-op dungeon crawling and competitive hack and slashing.
Its magic circle time!
Cladun tries to remove the tedious nature of dungeon crawling by introducing the magic circle. The magic circle can be viewed as the system where players can customize their main character with artifacts acquired in dungeons or purchased at the store. These artifacts can do many things including giving characters a boost in magic, health, or power. Sub-characters can be placed within the magic circle and depending on their location can be "human shields" or mana reserves. A sub-character's mana is used to determine which artifacts can be activated. Each artifact can either consume mana or introduce mana to the "Link" between the sub-characters and the main character. The more mana a character has, the more artifacts can be activated. The magic circle is an entertaining component to this RPG. It requires gamers to utilize trial and error, but once gamers find the right circle allowing gamers to clear a dungeon easily; it gives players a sense of satisfaction.
Many gamers see character creation as a major feature to an RPG and Cladun doesn't disappoint. Characters can be made at the pub in Arcanus Cella or in the start screen. Gamers can select a character class, which includes warrior, wizard, merchant, dragon, and guardian. Every character class can have up to ten different magic circle configurations unlocked. Each Class has their own pre-set attribute that is consistent in many RPGs. For Example, warriors have high attack strength, while a wizard has high magic and low attack. Players can customize their character by changing their hair color and clothing. Players have the option of changing every "bit" of their character, giving gamers full creative control. Once a character has been named, they spend their time at the pub. Since created characters are creations of the player, they don't get a special ending if they were to enter the "cave of ending" in Arcanus Cella.
Dood, you can make a Prinny!
Cladun may look like another shallow dungeon crawler with a retro approach, but to dismiss it as just another 8-bit knock off may make many gamers miss out an a very fun and interesting experience. Cladun brings everything gamers like in 8-bit RPGs, fun characters; an in-depth magic system, and lots of dungeons to explore. However, newcomers to RPGs might find Cladun difficult to play, but once the magic system is mastered, gamers will have an easier time in dungeons. Cladun takes RPGs of the past and succeeds at making them entertaining in a world full high definition RPGs. Gamers will get more out of this 20 dollar RPG then a huge console game RPG. 8-bit fans shouldn't miss out on this great RPG experience.