Game Review #196: Doom & Destiny (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Allan Jenks
Developer: Heartbit Interactive
Release Date: 02.08.2019
Price (at time of review): $11.99
Buy Doom & Destiny from the Nintendo eShop here.
A Joke That Snowballed
If you’ve read any of my reviews, you know that I love RPGs. So, of course, when I saw the trailer for this game, I had to try it out. It looked like everything I love in a good turn-based, retro-style RPG, and it appeared to be making fun of itself in the process, which is always a sign that the writing is going to be good. This game is an IRPG (Italian role-playing game) that actually started as a joke, but became much more.
A few years back, Francesco Ficarelli decided to create a short demo game for his friends on RPG Maker, but they told him that they would only play the game if they were the main characters. So, he played along and made them the stars, a cast of 4 D&D nerds cast into the unlikely roles of heroes. These friends liked the little demo so much that they convinced Francesco to make the demo into a full game. One of these friends brought Francesco together with Matteo Nicolotti. They immediately clicked creatively, and together, Francesco and Matteo created what we know today as Doom & Destiny.
Holy Crap! We’re In an RPG!
The story starts with 4 friends, Nigel, Francis, Johnny, and Mike. They are on their way to their friend’s house to play a game of Dungeons & Dragons, but when they get there, their friend is nowhere to be found. Since no one is answering the door, they all decide to go in through the basement, only, the basement doesn’t seem quite right. There’s a guide book there that explains the basic rules of the game. They think that their friend has decided to go all out with the D&D session with some props, and figure they may as well play along.
Once they go a little further into the basement, they realize there’s something more going on, and this is probably not the doing of their DM friend. After fighting their way through the lava pits now conveniently located in what once was their friend’s basement, they are sucked into a portal to an even weirder dimension. They have been summoned, completely at random, by a distressed king looking for some heroes to save his daughter, the princess. Though you really are just 4 nerds who wanted to play a game, you now find yourself in the middle of a heroes’ quest, with each character choosing a different role, be it healer, warrior, mage, or ninja—or a pirate paladin, or whatever else they can bicker about.
A Game That Can Take a Joke
Again, this game pokes fun at itself from the jump, and never really pulls back throughout. I love that it really calls out some of the things we just blindly accept about video games without question, like the fact that in most RPGs, you basically just run around looting everyone’s houses without any of the residents objecting, or that almost no one seems to have a bed in their house, or that wolves really shouldn’t be running around carrying money on their person. There’s even a not-so-subtle tribute to The Legend of Zelda in one chapter that is set up in nearly the same arrangement as the 1986 classic, but with some A Link to the Past-like graphics updates.
Speaking of graphics, this is another “modern retro” game, set in the stylings of the golden era of RPGs, the 16-bit era of the SNES. The graphics are great, and beautifully put-together. The colors pop, the monsters are well-designed, and the locales are always interesting to explore. The soundtrack is also well done, and fits in very nicely with the overall feel of the game. Nothing too intrusive as far as the music, and the sound effects are spot on.
Heal Us, Flying Spaghetti Monster!
The battle system is what you would expect if you’ve ever played any turn-based RPGs like Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, etc. Each character, as mentioned, has a different job/class, which, in turn, determines what types of attacks they will learn, what kind of weapons they can equip, and what kinds of stat points they should level up for the best results. When you level up, you get 3 stat points to apply to your character’s 4 stat categories:
MIGHT – Affects your HP and STR
CHAR – Affects MP and SPI
GRIT – Affects RES (defense) and CRI (critical hits)
DEXT – EVA (evasion) and SPD
You can apply these skill points however you see fit for each character. Some stats affect how many EXP that character will get after a battle as well, so the customization is a cool feature.
If you are low on health, you can eat some pizza or chips, if you are low on MP, you can drink some beer, and if you die in battle, you can be brought back to life with a 1up. 1ups can be purchased at shops, but are also drop items, and can also be obtained by completing battle “side quests” like defeating a certain number of wolves or orcs in battle.
Some weapons, armor, and accessories are universal, and can be used by any of the characters, but some are specific to the character’s job class, and cannot be used by anyone else but them. In addition to purchasing weapons, you can also purchase certain skills from various dealers throughout the land, like ice and fire magic, Molotov cocktails, and sneak attacks. These are permanent skills, and do not require that you re-purchase for additional use, as they just use your MP.
I honestly could talk about this game for hours, but part of the fun of it is discovering it for yourself, so I have to leave some mystery to it all! Doom & Destiny is a fantastic turn-based RPG with a great sense of humor to it and a lot of nods to the classics, but don’t let that fool you! While this game is a parody of the genre, the game itself is still amazing and up there with some of the best RPGs I’ve ever played.
If you are a fan of the genre, then you absolutely need to pick this game up today! You will not regret it! Also, the game told me that if I liked it, to tell people, so I have to do what it says…
Buy Doom & Destiny from the Nintendo eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Heartbit Interactive