From Artefacts Studio and Dear Villagers comes a wild ride in the form of The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos, a sort of parody style, medieval fantasy tactical RPG. Despite its release only last month, the game has a far longer history. Le donjon de Naheulbeuk, as it is known in French, its original language, is a fictional audio adventure by John Lang, and was originally published in 2005.
The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk follows a gang of unlikely heroes who you must help to navigate a dungeon filled with all manner of enemies, quests and surprises. As a tactical RPG, the combat is turn-based, and you’ll need to strategise to survive or be effective in battle. With a range of different members with different skills and abilities, from a sneaky, backstabbing thief to a stumbling ogre, you’ll need to think carefully and play to the strengths of your team members in every situation. There are all sorts of melee and ranged abilities, buffs and healing powers, and items that you can pick up along the way to aid and manipulate combat in your favour.
I’ll preface this by saying that I’m not very good at tactical games like this one, but even so it did at times seem pretty difficult. This wouldn’t be an issue – there are difficulty settings, after all – if it wasn’t for the fact that failing a fight takes you back so far, particularly given that combat takes such a long time and is often fairly samey from event to event. More autosaves would definitely be welcome in this situation, especially for those like me who struggle to remember to save frequently. More frequent checkpoints too – please! For the sake of my sanity!
Aesthetically, this game is charming and lovely to look at, with a smooth and appealing art style, despite some bugs and glitches in places, and some warm and inviting colour palettes. The character and enemy designs are fun and suit the tone of the game well, and the environments are detailed, atmospheric and exciting to explore, though perhaps not diverse enough.
If there’s one complaint I would have about the ‘goofiness’ of this game, which works a good amount of the time, it’s that it often borders on cringeworthy. The humour is a little over the top cheesy and in your face, and this is coming from a girl who is all about her cheesy pop. The lengthy dialogues between characters get a little bit tiring as a result; a little bit of cutting would have been welcomed in this area. The plot also seems a little uninspired at times, and could have done with some more exciting moments dear the beginning – in general, more interesting things could have been done with this game to make it more enticing.
Yet, all in all, The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos is not a bad game for those who are invested in the genre as it is. For outsiders to the tactical RPG genre, it might be frustrating – but that isn’t a fault of the game itself, more a design of the genre, and it’s without a doubt a solid addition to the tactical RPG scene, with some wonderful art direction and humorous moments to boot. It’s available now on PC.