ClaDun Returns: This is Sengoku! is another hack and slash RPG that attempts to bring back dungeon crawling. The main highlight of the game are without a doubt its visuals, which are designed to feel like they are from the 8-bit era of RPGs. Everything, from the main character, to the enemies, are all designed to fit the retro 8-bit era. This could be a good or bad thing depending on your preference since if you don’t have nostalgic memories of the NES era, there is a good chance that you might not enjoy this art style. Those who do like it though, will find that it fits well within the world of ClaDun.
ClaDun Returns: This is Sengoku! story is rather simple. You are able to create a character at the start of the game although the customization is rather limited. You can also create your own unique model with the pixel editor for the character if you prefer, however there are more than enough pre-defined presets that I never felt like trying it out. The story begins with the revelation that you have been dead, as you get rescued by a mysterious stranger. You then later find out that it is your job to help souls similar to yours that are scattered throughout the dungeons and world in ClaDun Returns. These poor and unfortunate souls will need to be rescued so they can help you in return. You can either keep them in your ‘Magic Circle’, which has the effect of enhancing the stats of your character if you keep a party in it, or you can switch out to the other characters in an attempt to level up them, and this will help you directly in clearing some of the tougher dungeons.
ClaDun Returns: This is Sengoku! can get addictive if you are like me, who keep attempting to gain experience points and leveling up your party members. However the design of the dungeons and the enemy placement tends to get repetitive. There is no narrative to hold the story together and the game simply tasks you with clearing dungeons that are unlocked by finding the souls that have lost their lives in the world. The dungeons are divided in chapters and clearing each one of them will unlock an extra challenging set of dungeons for that particular chapter. You can also pick random loot from the world and gain gold coins to purchase or upgrade your equipments.
While ClaDun Returns: This is Sengoku! has all the essentials for an action RPG, my issue with the game is that it never felt like I was immersed in it. I enjoyed the game in short bursts which is where it truly shines. This is one of the reason why the game is best played on the PS Vita since the gameplay nature fits a handheld like Vita instead of a big screen on PS4. While Cladun Returns looks crisp and clear on the PS4, its gameplay feels rather simplified so the best place to play the game is without a doubt, on the PS Vita. You can clear some dungeons during your free time each day and level up your characters. You can also attempt to customize your magic circle so that you can create an effective party.
You can try to attempt different play styles with 7 available classes including Samurai, Magician and Merchant, however there is not enough customization here for the classes which is rather disappointing. You can have a whole set of different weapons but they all start to feel the same with time. Since the main game is rather easy, you will breeze through majority of the story without any issues and the extra dungeons might offer a little challenge, but they can still be completed without much trouble if you make sure to keep a strong party throughout the game. Aside from that, the game doesn’t offer much incentive for replay value unless you like picking up random loot.
The actual dungeon exploration is rather short. It will take you just a few minutes to complete each dungeon since the map layout is rather same. Some dungeons have a door or treasure that is locked and to unlock it, you will have to find the enemy that keeps the key to that door. Some doors will unlock with just 1 key while others will require multiple keys. Killing them will open the door letting you exit the dungeon or get the treasure chest that was hidden. However keep in mind that the dungeons are essentially one floor. You will enter a dungeon and attempt to find the exit and, that’s it. This gameplay loop will repeat for the whole game and its 10 chapters and there is no story content to be seen here, so unless you prefer to explore dungeons one after another, you won’t have much incentive to go on.
The combat is also serviceable at best with a button for attack and another for defending against the attacks. Each of the dungeons will also have traps that can get activated if you step on them. Not all traps are punishing as some can restore your health so you will have to keep an eye for them as you explore each dungeon. The extra dungeons that are harder to complete will unlock new souls, which are characters that you can use in party or play with in the dungeons once you free them, however since you can already create your own party members with any of the available classes, freeing these souls doesn’t feel like a good reward.
ClaDun Returns: This Is Sengoku! Review (PS4/Vita)
Game Reviewed on: PS4/Vita
Game description: In this latest entry in the Cladun series, you as the player will meet classic heroes from Japan’s Sengoku Era and help the souls of the dead settle their unfinished business.
ClaDun Returns: The Is Sengoku! might have its charm with its 8-bit retro visuals and a dungeon focused hack and slash gameplay but it starts to get repetitive rather quickly. There is not a lot to offer in term of story and content but if you are itching for a classic dungeon RPG, you might enjoy ClaDun Returns.