Cladun x2 is a sequel to the 2010 dungeon crawler Cladun (a portmanteau for “Classic Dungeon”) released for the PSP. In a year, not much has changed. Good as it may be, it feels more like an expansion pack than a true sequel. But for a niche title that hit so many of the right notes, can that really be a bad thing?
The game begins when the player creates a character, who then finds itself stuck in the land of Arcanus Cella. There is no escape from this world, but damned if the created hero is going to sit on his duff and accept such a fate. So, dungeon crawling! The story is a very basic come-to-realize plot that’s notably more minimalistic than the story in the original Cladun.
Gameplay prominently focuses on action-RPG style gameplay. The approach to the gameplay will vary wildly depending on which of the game’s classes the player chooses as the main character. A ranger, for example, will hit things with arrows and run around the map almost never caring about traps, all while trying desperately not to get hit. Gaurdians will beat things and endure, because that’s what they’re super good at. A merchant, by comparison, will level enemies up to obscene levels, only to defeat them for amazing and delicious EXP. Or they’ll die because the monster gets way too powerful; that happened to this reviewer a lot too. The play style variety makes things interesting.
Much like the first game, players are not stuck with one main character and in fact in makes sense to have multiple characters to level because of the game’s unique Magic Circle system. With it, other characters are set to lend supportive abilities to the main character. Each class has its own set of Magic Circle maps and more are unlocked as levels are progressed, making various set-ups possible and really allowing the player to customize the game for a play style they enjoy. It’s convoluted, and not easily explained, but as the learning curve is overcome it can be very enjoyable to come up with a few custom set-ups.
The graphics in this game follow an old school sprite theme with 256 colors, making for that retro look that is really popular in a lot of indy games right now. The font can be
switched from “retro” to “smooth”; the smooth is a bit easier to read but also looks at odds with the rest of the game world. There’s a sprite editing feature in the game, more robust than the first, that can truly change how individual items and characters look. Giving your character a penis sword has never been easier, and if you did this in the first game importing those images can be a snap.
Sound effects are fairly forgettable. The music allows for a “modern” or “retro” sound track, but both lists are surprisingly lacking in variety and can even become grating after a while. There is an MML editor for creating music, but using it is a tedious process and the files easily become larger than necessary.
With twice as many character classes to play with this time
around, Cladun x2 is a great chance to play Nippon Ichi’s take on the action adventure dungeon crawling games of the early 90′s. The customization will add a lot of value to those who would use it, and even those who are content not to play with how things look will find a robust game that is easy to pick up but difficult to master. Whether enough has changed to make this game worth picking up for those who have played the first will depend on the player and what they got out of the first game. Ultimately, Cladun x2 proves itself to be a competent sequel — great for those that liked the first –but not something to recommend to everyone.
Out of 10
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|The Verdict: Average|