Dungeons and Dragons is a much-loved board game franchise. It is followed by young and old and inspires players to allow their imaginations to run wild. Set in fantasy lands filled with orcs, goblins, wizards, and warriors, you can create the adventure of your dreams. Rules are set in stone and only the Dungeon Master has the power to change the landscape. It’s a serious business and its player base spends hours preparing for their next outing. The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos – Chicken Edition is a satirical game that pokes fun at its D&D concept.
Developed by Artefacts Studio and published by Dear Villagers, this is an isometric dungeon-crawling adventure. With an absurd story to enjoy, and colourful characters to control, you’ll chuckle endlessly. With nine chapters filled with inside jokes, swear words, and toilet humour, there is the possibility you’ll miss the point. However, I loved its childish approach as it pokes fun at the faithful D&D community and everything in between.
The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk is a fantastic turn-based strategy game.
I adored how the story played out and all the whimsical jibes that came with it. But the pièce de résistance was its approach to battles. With many characters making up your party, you have an eclectic squad to tackle any fight you encounter. Wizards and archers add range, whereas your paladins, ogre, dwarves and thief prefer a melee attack. Positioning is key as flanking and backstabbing are key tactical manoeuvres. You’ll consider the environment of each battle, using boxes and rubbish to cower behind. Every fight felt unique and matched the wonderful storytelling.
The story revolves around seven archetypal D&D RPG characters who undertake a quest to find a mystical statuette. Their mission rarely goes to plan and they work with a range of characters to journey through the dungeon. The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk is legendary for its mystery and stories tell how no adventurer has explored it. You quickly discover this to be codswallop as it houses; shops, a large tavern, and a bustling community. It’s gloriously bizarre and you never know what’ll happen from one moment to the next.
It’s all about teamwork and loot.
What makes this great is the constant need to explore the surrounding environment. With destructible doors and loot-filled boxes, taking your time and being thorough quickly pays dividends. Arming your odd fellowship with the best equipment will improve your chances, but the best gear isn’t easy to come by. You must decide who to equip to improve your chances of victory. Do you load one character up to be a tank, or do you spread the armour and send them all in?
As you become familiar with each character and their abilities, you realise that teamwork is essential. With direct strikes, an array of magic, area of damage attacks, opportunity strikes, blocking, parrying, and more, working together is key. My D&D experience mixed with years of Xcom action should have helped me, but it oddly felt more of a hindrance. This is because the battles are fluid, so you must remain flexible in your approach. You’ll learn to judge each battle by the available squad and the environment in which it takes place.
An RPG with limited character customisation and choices.
It’s always strange when RPGs have limited character customisation. You receive XP as usual and increase levels as expected. But the option to improve your character is limited to a handful of attributes. This was disappointing, as I hoped for a more in-depth experience. However, I enjoyed the tiered ability options that altered how you used each character. This was clever, as it allowed me to create a squad that matched my playstyle.
With a linear story and no dialogue options to alter the direction of the plot, it was devoid of many elements I expect to find in an RPG. It’s foremost a tactical game, and my, what a tough one at that! Fights quickly become a headache and you’ll feel as if you are battling with one hand tied behind your back. It’s brutal, but it adds to the longevity. There is a sense of achievement when you succeed, but your victory only arrives after much swearing and cursing.
The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk looks fantastic.
I’ve played many dungeon crawlers and countless tactics games, and this is up there as one of the best looking ones. The level of detail is incredible, as are the thorough and complex floors you investigate. The characters have a familiar look that connects it to its D&D roots. The gameplay is smooth and I experienced zero issues. The UI contains the correct information to help you manage any situation and it’s clear and concise which helps to keep the display clutter-free. You can move the camera freely and this allows you full visibility and understanding of the gaming environment.
The audio is equally good, with its upbeat fantasy-inspired soundtrack and over the top sound effects. The acting is exceptional with most of the game relying on speech heavy cutscenes. You’ll be crying tears of laughter as the relentless jokes form the backbone of the fellowship’s relationship. I enjoyed the booming narrator that helped to guide the story from A to B while breaking up the continuous humorous banter.
A tactics game full of replay value.
The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk has an incredible amount of layers to understand, yet it’s surprisingly easy to play. Its thorough tutorial combined with the well-designed UI, ensures you are given the tools required to master the fundamentals. I was surprised by how well it performed using a controller. The simple button mapping and well-labelled screen prevent the action from becoming confusing.
Its brutal difficulty isn’t the only reason you’ll keep playing this. No, it’s got a challenging achievement list that’ll make you wince. The game is tough enough without asking you to complete additional brutal objectives, so completionists beware, this isn’t for the faint of heart. There is also a selection of difficulty modes and an “Ironman” option that is guaranteed to get controllers smashed. No matter how funny the one-liners are, the hardest option will make you scream.
The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk falls short as an RPG but excels in all other aspects.
The lack of RPG elements came as a surprise but it didn’t ruin what is otherwise a fantastic game. With its tongue-in-cheek and whimsical nod to D&D, you’ll be left smiling throughout. Your eclectic fellowship enables you to vary your tactical approach, while your selection of abilities should give you the upper hand. A tactical mind and luck from the RNG gods are required if you are to be victorious. I loved it and recommend you to buy it here! Can you work together to make it through the Dungeon of Naheulbeuk, or will you fail miserably?