I first became interested in The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos (DoN) because I am a fan of Felicia Day as a voice actor and noticed that she was part of this project. I am glad that I did DoN is a fun game, I wanted to initially call it a fun little game but the more I play the larger this dungeon gets and my first playthrough is currently sitting at 30 hours. Artefacts Studio has done a great job bringing this party of haphazard adventures to life. The quips and puns make you chuckle and the banter between characters adds a lot to the experience as you explore the various levels. This is our The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos review.
The initial story of the game is pretty standard fare, the party enters a dungeon as a fresh adventuring group looking for riches and glory. After finding a cursed amulet they need to now find a way to get rid of it, what was meant to be a simple dungeon crawl becomes something much more.
As the story unfolds, the writing holds things together quite well and pulls you from one event to the next. I found the dungeon itself really became a major character as the game progressed. The different levels each have their own unique elements and denizens, this does a great job of breaking up what would typically be a dreary dungeon crawl through multiple levels of similar content and reminded me of running my own tabletop D&D parties.
Humor in DoN is everywhere and constant, some of the comments made by the various characters can be cringy at times, this brand of humor will certainly not appeal to everyone. Also, the puns… there are so many puns and at times they are very painful, but they do fit the game well. I was also taken a bit by surprise when the characters start dropping bleeped dialogue every so often.
Character animations and the stylized graphics here are spot one, each party member fills a typical fantasy character stereotype, and the abilities they use fit into the combat perfectly. When the barbarian swings, you can see the weight behind his twohanded sword. Enemy animations are excellent as well, with even the occasional comments made by enemies giving me a few laughs.
The voice acting is great for almost all the characters. There are a few moments that are a bit lacking when it comes to minor characters, but I can’t tell if this is by design. I was also not a big fan of the male or female narrator at first, but they do seem to loosen up more as the story progresses. Music and sound effects throughout the game are also well put together and leaned themselves well to enhancing the atmosphere of the level you were exploring or any given combat. I did notice that the music ended entirely during combat on from time to time. Personally, I preferred this versus a constantly looping track you get in some other games.
Combat is fun and addictive for a turn-based game, it definitely has that old feeling of “just one more turn” even though it is past 2 AM. Character abilities are varied enough that you can purchase skills in different areas that open up several tactics to choose from. One of my favorites to use as the game progressed is having the ogre to toss the dwarf into packs of ranged enemies or casters. I also liked the developer’s attention to synergies that are unlockable between different characters depending on how they regard/interact with each other. For example, if you spent certain skill points on the dwarf, he gained an offensive bonus whenever standing next to the elf due to their dislike of each other. The characters all knit together well. Gear is also interesting and half the fun of finding new items has been seeing what they are named or what the description says.
Unfortunately, the replay value is limited. There are only a few side quests where you can make minor decisions. The biggest choice, that would bring me back for another playthrough, is the permanent one of having the paladin, priestess, or minstrel join the party. I could see myself finishing the game and putting it down for a few months before I did a second run.
There were also two things that took me out of the experience occasionally. First, when it came to character conversations, I had to manually zoom in and pan the camera around to get a good angle on who was talking and their animations. It was a shame since there were many times when I was just looking at the back of a character’s head instead of really experiencing the story that was unfolding. Second, the load time between levels is just long enough to be tedious, especially when I changed floors to turn in quests, sell, and/or buy things. Thankfully most floors have some kind of merchant. I also experienced a couple of bugs, one was a UI bug where the back button changed to french and the other appeared as the game progressed, combat could sometimes freeze the game completely. Thankfully the combat bug seems to have now been resolved.
If you are a fan of turn-based games combat in the vein of XCOM and like silly, but sometimes questionable, humor The Dungeon of Neheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos is well worth playing. While the story itself is standard fare, it has been enjoyable. The animations, voice acting, sound effects, and music are all excellent for the most part. The lack of replay value and a couple of minor annoyances are the only things getting in the way of a great experience.
A copy of the game was provided for review
COMPARE TO: XCOM 1 & 2, Battletech, Shadowrun: Dragonfall