How does an 8-bit, retro, Zelda-esque, dungeon crawling, comedic adventure sound? If that seems right up your alley then listen up. Cladun is nearing its debut on the PSP and I was able to get some hands on time with the promising title. Its shaping up to be a memorable game for those who enjoy 8-bit nostalgia. The game kicks off with “main” characters Souma and Pudding (also called Puddie) ending up in the forbidden land of Arcanus Cella. This land is said to hold treasure of legendary proportions. Pudding is quickly labeled as a spontaneous adventure seeker and pretty much forces Souma to stay in the land with her while they uncover different riches and meet new people.
Actually the player can end the game before even experiencing the combat system, various weapons, or even collecting their first piece of treasure. Shortly after arriving in Arcanus Cella Pudding tried to convince Souma to stay with her in the forbidden land in order to seek out the slew of valuables. At this point I was given to options presented to me. I could either stay and aid Pudding or leave back home and end the game. At first I chose to leave to see if the game would really end. Indeed it did. Credits roll and everything. It was an interesting inclusion for this game, but it didn’t feel out of place because the style of the game plays like many great RPGs whilst also including well-timed comedic conversations/events. The way the game presents itself as light hearted and humorous is immediately evident since Pudding is referred to as a “skanky psycho” in the beginning moments of the game. Also, references to the game itself are made by the characters which add to the wonderful technique we know as breaking the fourth wall.
Let’s get into the meat of the game. Combat is simplistic, but satisfying as well. X attacks, R dashes, Square is used for blocking (or sliding if pressed while running), and circle jumps. Even though the game doesn’t take itself seriously at times it ends up being very in depth. You can create a party of players before entering dungeons. This is known as the “Magic Circle”. The “Magic Circle” has a primary character at the center and other players surrounding him providing HP acting as human shields. So if you are hit in a dungeon the damage goes to the sub characters that aren’t physically there. Defense, attack and other properties can be tacked on to the sub characters to further aid the primary person. The interesting and strategic part of this circle is that upon completing a dungeon the primary receives boosts in Hit Points and Defense, whereas sub characters are rewarded with increase in Attack and Strength. In order to make a strong main fighter it is crucial to use him as a sub character in the beginning. This will ensure that when you switch him to the primary slot he will be strong enough to take on later enemies.
Speaking of characters the player isn’t limited to the characters that become available throughout the story. Once the tavern is unlocked everyone can go create their own character. First they select a model for the body which there is a bountiful amount. Then they are able to create the character’s face pixel by pixel altering front, back and both side views. It allows people to personalize the game and immerse their own look and feel into the crazy world much like 3D Dot Heroes did on the PS3. It is even said that the final boss can be created by the player before the final fight.
The final aspect of the game is the ability to play the game with up to 3 friends via ad hoc mode. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to try out this feature, but I am definitely looking forward to it. Anyone looking to take the 3D Dot Heroes feel from the PS3 and enjoy the same style on the PSP should keep an eye out for the game when it hits the PSN on September 21st (delayed from September 7th).Cladun: This is an RPG! Hands On Impression,