When I first heard that Dokapon Kingdom: Connect was coming to the Switch, I was beyond excited. I have vivid memories of watching my favourite gaming YouTube channel play the Wii version and couldn’t wait to experience the craziness for myself in an updated format.
Dokapon Kingdom: Connect is a board game RPG hybrid where two to four players compete to liberate towns from monsters, earn the king’s favour, and win the princess’s hand in marriage. It’s fairly simple – whoever has the most money at the end wins, but what makes this game interesting is the sheer range of random events and comeback mechanics that can turn the tides in an instant.
Don’t let the board game element deceive you! This isn’t like Mario Party where a full game can be over within an hour, in classic JRPG fashion, Dokapon Kingdom’s story mode is long and grindy. But if this isn’t your thing, there’s a range of party modes with different win conditions to change up the game and help you finish quicker.
As excited as I was to play this goofy game from 2008, I was expecting the Nintendo Switch version to look and feel a lot fresher than it does. Based on my knowledge of the original game, I’m fairly certain that Dokapon Kingdom: Connect is a direct port. The UI and graphics are outdated and without prior knowledge of the game, it can be pretty hard to get started. I’ve got no problem with ports but given how old the game is and the fact that this version’s only new feature is the online play mode, I think the asking price is pretty steep.
That being said, I’m having a lot of fun playing through the story mode. The characters are all hilarious and the random events feel equally punishing to all players. I’m a huge fan of character customisation, so Karlie the hairdresser holds a special place in my heart, especially as accessing her services isn’t locked behind a paywall or level cap. I’ve even managed to unlock some extra hairstyles that are just as ridiculous as the rest of the game.
From the sessions I’ve played so far, the online mode works perfectly. I’ve not experienced any disconnections and the battle modes are a lot of fun if you’re looking for a shorter game experience. I think I would have even more fun if I was playing online with a group of friends rather than random people, as I’ve found that a lot of the fun of Dokapon Kingdom: Connect comes from the sabotage mechanics. Messing with your mates feels a lot better than screwing over a random player online that you’re not even chatting to.
I’ve already mentioned this, but the story mode is very long. You really have to be committed to playing if you want to see the end. Each turn represents a day in-game and so far my longest story mode save has exceeded a whole year and we’re only on the third continent of seven. If I wasn’t playing this in person with someone I know really well, I think I would have given up a long time ago.
The gameplay loop can also get really repetitive, especially if you’re just stuck grinding monsters while you wait for the king to announce the next story objective. Plus, as you can only access stores and other special spaces by landing directly on them, I’ve found myself spending an entire week of turns just trying to land on the weapon shop to upgrade my build. The gaming landscape is very different now compared to 2008, so it might be difficult to get a group together either online or in-person to play the story mode to completion unless you live together. To be honest, this would be the perfect lockdown game.
One of the things I completely forgot about the original was the ‘interesting’ NPC character design choices. Dokapon Kingdom’s map is based loosely on Earth and features seven continents that closely mirror ours. To match this theme, the town mayors in different locations can only be described as outdated stereotypes of various different races. As a white person, I’m not in a place to say whether or not these depictions are offensive, but I was certainly shocked when I visited the first town in Asiana.
Overall, I’m having a lot of fun with Dokapon Kingdom: Connect and I’m glad the remake exposes more people to this absurd little game, but I’m not entirely sure that it’s worth the asking price. If you’re a big fan of the original and want to play on the go, then go for it, but other than the portability and the online modes, the experience isn’t much different than if you bought a second-hand Wii and a copy of the game. It’s a good laugh but I’m not even sure how much of that is due to the game itself and how much is down to my group of friends.
If you’re looking for more multiplayer fun, check out our list of the best Mario Party minigames. Or if you’re after something completely new, check out our Honkai Star Rail tier list and Honkai Star Rail codes guide.
A cult classic reborn on the Switch with all its original quirks, including its flaws.