Cladun Returns: This is Sengoku! Review

The name of the game here is customization. Well, okay, the ACTUAL name of the game is Cladun Returns: This is Sengoku!, but whatever. Basically, if you like messing around with 8-bit sprites, dungeons, and Japan’s warring states era, you’re pretty much good to go.

First things first: you’ll make a character. Nothing too serious yet, just a set sprite person, maybe a change of color for your hair or clothing. Then you pick a job, which determines base stats and general progression. Once you finish this, you’re thrown into the story, which has a minimal narrative. This isn’t terrible, as long as you play the Cladun series for everything else the game has to offer. Once you are in a dungeon, combat will consist of navigating a floor with a top down view, while jumping over unfavorable terrain, shielding attacks that come your way, and, of course, fighting with whatever weapon you brought in with you. Different weapons attack in their own specific way, and knowing what your job is cut out for helps you determine what would be most powerful for you, although it doesn’t stop you from using whatever type you want.

You basically spend your time in 2 places: the town, or a dungeon. Towns serve the purpose of being a hub for everything non-combat related. Dungeons are where you’ll spend time questioning your sanity, as you try frantically to get to the exit in each level amongst the tons of spastic enemies hellbent on making sure you never make it back out of the dungeon. They have to spot you first (sometimes you can hit them without a reaction,) but once they do, they do not leave you alone until one of you dies. Some will rush at you, some will keep a distance and fire at you, others are intentionally erratic in their movements.

Hopefully, you’re here for the ‘everything else’ that was mentioned, because this game has tons of it. You can’t just walk into any old dungeon, hit stuff with sticks, and be on your way. No sir. First, you have to set a magic circle. Basically, they’re formations that you and your companions will be set on, which grant different boosts or debilitations depending on the circle. And yes, that means you will HAVE to make at least one other character, although it’s advised you make more. You’ll only see your leader in the dungeons, but all of the stats involved with the circle will be in place. Everyone levels up, but the other characters level up in a different way. It gets pretty in depth once you start to go down that rabbit hole. Customization is on different level once you start up. After the initial character creation, you will get to edit them fully. As in, edit sprites to your hearts content. You’ll get to name most of your items, and edit them as well. Don’t like the name of something? Change that too. You can easily spend a full session never leaving the town, and still feel like you accomplished something.

At the core of it all, it’s great dungeon crawler with a story adequate enough to fulfill more dungeon crawling. Just be aware that the game loves numbers, stats (which consist of numbers,) and overwhelming enemies. They also are high on numbers, if you don’t manage your journeys well. While you don’t have to fully engage in every aspect to enjoy it, it’s there if you want it, and is done extraordinarily well for those that do more than scratch the surface.

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