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Dokapon Journey

by Lukasz Balicki - May 16, 2009, 10:27 am EDT
Total comments: 2


The friendship-ruining game returns in portable form with good results.

One game that surprised me last fall was the Atlus-published sleeper hit Dokapon Kingdom for the Wii. The game successfully combined the elements of the board game Monopoly with the gameplay structure of a basic RPG. It had an excellent multiplayer component that provided hours of fun and silly humor. A few months later Atlus released a portable entry called Dokapon Journey, which promised a similar experience to what Dokapon Kingdom offered. Dokapon Journey fulfills that promise.

Like the console game, the overworld is a giant board game. During a player’s turn they can do one of three things: use an item, cast a spell, or move to a space determined by a spinner. The other half of the game is its RPG element. When players land on a normal space, a random battle or a random event can occur. If players land on a shop space they could buy and sell items. Town spaces allow your character to visit a town, and if that town is controlled by a monster then players can attempt to defeat the monster to liberate the town.

If players land on a town that they control, the player will collect taxes that the town has generated. There is an opportunity to invest in a town to increase how much the town is worth and the amount of taxes generated, and players can also rest in their towns for free to fully recover their health. If players land on a town that's controlled by another player, they can rest in the town for a price or attempt to rob the tax money. If the robbery fails, then that player's character will be labeled as a criminal for a week and will have a large bounty on their head. Players labeled as a criminal will be barred from entering towns or building spaces.

When you start the game there are eight different gender-specific job classes. These classes don't upgrade into more powerful classes, unlike the Wii and PS2 versions of Dokapon Kingdom; instead, each class has two special abilities. One can be used in battle, and the other is a passive ability that randomly triggers if the right conditions have been met. In addition to the eight main classes, there are two darkling classes (one for each gender), and players can temporarily transform into the overpowered class by fulfilling a specific secret condition. If players chose to transform into this powerful class, there is a steep penalty as that player loses all of their gold and all of their towns. The entire point of this class is to screw up every other player by destroying them in combat, thus making them lose their towns by planting a new monster in that town.

Battles are played out in a rock-paper-scissors fashion. Normal attacks can be defended against, which results in less damage inflicted. Magic guard decreases magic damage, and counter repeals a strike attack and that the resulting counter damages the attacker. If a player defeats another player, they can do one of the following: steal a piece of equipment, steal their gold, steal a magic spell, steal ownership of a town, or change their name to whatever they want (as long as it fits in the name field). One of the best features of the series is the ability to change an opponent’s name, since it can be quite hilarious to see an obscene name instead of the proper character names. It's also a good way to frustrate other players.

There are three gameplay modes in Dokapon Journey. Each mode has to be played with either 3 or 4 players; if there aren't enough human players, then the remaining players can be filled by computer opponents. In Story mode there are eight chapters. The king assigns tasks for players to complete, and once the task has been completed the player who did so is handsomely rewarded. The winner in this mode is the player who has the highest net worth after all eight chapters have been completed. Net worth is calculated by the amount of cash the player has, and the total worth of all towns ruled by the player. In Greed mode the player with the most cash wins after a set number of weeks. Battle mode has three different options. In Liberation Race the goal is to liberate as many towns as possible; Collect-a-Thon mode has players collect a set number of orbs, and Death Match has players try to defeat other players as many times as possible.

All of the modes can be played in single player (with two or three other computer players) or multiplayer mode. While the game is decent as a single player experience, it is made with multiplayer in mind. Another reason to avoid single player is the overly cheap computer-controlled opponents that will frustrate you constantly.

There are three different ways to play the multiplayer mode: hot seat mode (setting up a single player game, and setting up all the players as human-controlled), single-card download play, and multi-card play. In single-card download play the players who don't have a copy of the game are stuck with characters that are randomly assigned to them, while multi-card play allows everyone to pick any class they want. The worst multi-player option is the hot seat mode, since only one person can see the action in the game at a time, and quite frankly it's not fun passing around the DS. The other players are left waiting, unable to see the action unless everyone huddles around the DS. The hot seat multi-player is an obvious attempt to match the console game's ability to be played with one controller, in the console game every player is still be able to see all the action that is going on.

Dokapon Journey is a good game, and while it is heavily inspired by its console cousin there are enough differences that keep it from being a shameless console-to-portable port. The multiplayer is fun, but it is probably better experienced on a home console since a multiplayer game can last at least an hour or so. For this reason I would recommend Dokapon Kingdom for the Wii over Dokapon Journey, but for those without access to a Wii this portable version is a worthy alternative.


Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
5.5 6 8 7 8 7

The game is bright and colorful. The character art and sprites are detailed and charming, however the game board looks like an average GBA game.


The game soundtrack and sound effects are catchy and inspired by the console game.


Dokapon Journey controls almost exactly like its console big brother. There are some optional touch screen controls for menu navigation, and some random event mini-games utilize the touch screen.


All the core gameplay elements from the console game remain intact. The game will be especially addictive for those that enjoy board games such as Monopoly and traditional RPGs, as the game offers the best of both worlds. However, the cheap AI is extremely frustrating.


Like the console game, this Dokapon game offers a bunch of great multiplayer modes. Unfortunately, the single player isn’t too enticing thanks to cheap AI, and the fact that the game is generally geared toward multiplayer action.


Dokapon Journey offers everything that Dokapon Kingdom does, and has some unique elements to differentiate itself from the console version. The main issue is that this multiplayer-focused game is more at home on a home console, since the multiplayer games can take upwards of an hour to complete. If fans of the console version can accept this, they may want to give Dokapon Journey a try.


  • Good console-to-portable conversion
  • Great multiplayer modes
  • The ability to change opposing players names to anything you want
  • Very addictive
  • Computer-controlled players are extremely cheap
  • Luck is a huge factor
  • More suited to being a home console game
  • Single player is dull
Review Page 2: Conclusion


Sounds fun, would consider if it had online with voice chat.  With local-only, I'd have trouble getting much use out of it.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusMay 16, 2009

Yeah, the game is dull as a single player experience. It doesn't help that the AI is so cheap that it can be infuriating with how many "lucky moves" the AI makes. In one game I went from a commanding first place to dead last due to 2 cheap AI opponents ganging up on me and essentially stealing some of my equipment, towns and gold.

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Dokapon Journey Box Art

Genre RPG
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Dokapon Journey
Release Apr 14, 2009
RatingEveryone 10+

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