The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos Game Poster Image
Comedic tactical tale contains profanity and sexual themes.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Story playfully pokes at role-playing tropes and culture. Subtle themes of fellowship, camaraderie peek through occasionally, but narrative's primary aim is simply to make players laugh, often through simple schoolyard insults.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main characters are working adventurers attempting to make a living and undo the magic of a cursed amulet. Each has obvious and comedic flaws -- hedonism, greed, anger, lust, vanity -- but they all end up working together, helping each other. None seem particularly concerned about all of the killing that's part of their chosen vocation.

Ease of Play

Lots to learn, and combat takes time to master, but extensive in-game tutorials, multiple difficulty levels, and turn-based design help ensure most players won't be overwhelmed.

Violence

Viewed from raised perspective, cartoonish characters take turns attacking each other with swords, daggers, hammers, bows and arrows, magic spells. Camera sometimes pulls in for a more cinematic perspective of powerful attacks, but the action stops short of showing blood or gore.

Sex

Text and spoken dialogue contains some sexual themes and language, including phrases like "naked under your clothes." The Ranger is obsessed with impressing female characters, and many of the women have exaggerated bosoms, tops revealing deep cleavage.

Language

Plenty of profanity pops up in text and spoken dialogue. Stronger language -- such as "f--k" -- is edited with bleeps and asterisks, though developers seem to have missed the F-word in a handful of cases, so they appeared and were heard uncensored during review.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters talk about getting drunk, and can drink wine and beer items that bestow a mix of positive and negative status effects.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos is a comedic turn-based role-playing game (RPG) available for download on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. Players control a party of stereotypical RPG characters who are referenced only by class or race -- thief, barbarian, elf, dwarf, etc. -- rather than by name, and each has unique character flaws, such as vanity, greed, or overconfidence. They're not adventuring to save the world, but rather to enrich themselves and put an end to a curse. Still, they come together when it counts and even learn to support each other in combat. Fighting with melee weapons and magic is cartoonish and without blood or gore, though the camera does occasionally pull in to show powerful strikes. Parents should also be aware that text and spoken dialogue gets raunchy, with characters swearing freely (stronger language like the F-word is bleeped out for the most part) and making lightly veiled sexual references. Alcoholic items such as beer and wine can be consumed by characters, bestowing a mix of advantages and disadvantages to stats like courage and intelligence.

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What's it about?

THE DUNGEON OF NAHEULBEUK: THE AMULET OF CHAOS is a tactical RPG that makes fun of the sorts of tropes common in the world of fantasy role-playing. Players control a large party of stereotypical characters -- including a ranger who reckons himself to be a natural leader, a buxom elf who speaks to animals but isn't that bright, and a rowdy and slightly insecure dwarf -- who find themselves looking for treasure in a bustling dungeon tower complete with its own tavern, aristocracy, and trade-based economy. As they adventure, they encounter plenty of side characters with information and quests, from a cheese-loving wizard to a farmer who's lost his prized blue chickens. Your little band of brawlers will happily help anyone, so long as it pays well. But be warned that helping people typically involves getting into lengthy turn-based battles against rats, thieves, cultists, and other enemies looking to foil your plans. Each battle begins with players strategically positioning characters on a gridded field and then using their weapons and unique skills to attack baddies and heal and protect allies. You'll need to factor in cover, traps, ranged attacks, and even character relationships as you plan your offense and defense. As the game progresses, you'll earn better and better loot and allocate skill points to active and passive abilities, gradually increasing your strength and tactical options as you continue to explore the dungeon.

Is it any good?

If you've ever rolled your eyes upon booting up an RPG and seeing yet another annoying minstrel, ridiculous made-up fantasy name, or chicken-catching quest, this might be the game for you. The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos revels in having a laugh at these tropes, with nearly every line of dialogue and item description text containing at least an attempt at poking fun at the sorts of stereotypes traditionally found in fantasy role-playing games. Whether it's a joke about how weak a weapon is or the whole party piling insults on a particularly irritating character, the story and dialogue feel as though they were written by a group of passionate -- and legitimately funny -- Dungeons & Dragons players who want to express their love of such games by making fun of their goofiest elements. And it's all wrapped in appealingly cartoonish graphics that match the tone and help establish a warm and welcoming milieu.

But there's more to it than jokes. The combat is surprisingly sophisticated and nuanced, forcing players to consider everything from whether to set waypoints while moving to avoid enemy attacks to which allies they should stick close to for critical stat boosts. There's room for plenty of strategic experimentation, which ought to encourage repeat playthroughs on harder difficulty settings. That said, there's still opportunity for improvement through post-release patches. There are glitches with language options, scenes where character interactions with non-player characters wouldn't start until the party left and returned to that location, and various items strangely turning up in the wrong menus. Nothing game-ending, but the whole experience certainly could have benefited from a little more time in the oven. Assuming these issues are gradually addressed through patches, there's little to keep from recommending The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos to experienced RPG fans who want a side of giddy giggles served with their dungeon crawling.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about screen time. The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos isn't an especially lengthy game. Have you considered stretching out your enjoyment of shorter games like this by breaking play sessions into smaller chunks?

  • The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos makes fun of RPG stereotypes with neither cruelty nor malice. Are you able to see the humor in and laugh at things that are important to you? Does the use of stereotypes generalize groups of people in a negative or a positive way? Does it depend on the stereotype?

Game details

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For kids who love comedy

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