Date: 09-26-2010 01:00
Reviewer: SilentWyvern

Type: PSP
Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software

Trying to capture the essence of 8-bit RPGs and dungeon crawlers Cladun make a bold attempt to capture the feel of classic old school games like Zelda. Given it's own quirkiness of course. Is Cladun a worthy tribute to the 8-bit adventures of old, or should this fall into the abysmal vortex of terrible 8-bit style games.

Story: The story is really simple. In the beginning you meet a Pudding, and Souma. The 2 fall down a hole into "Acranis Cella" a world that supposedly is rich with treasure just waiting to be taken. Pudding wants to search all the treasure she can, Souma only wants to protect Pudding, so he reluctantly agrees to stay. The story follows the stories of the game's characters. If you make your own characters, hate to say it, but they're not involved in the plot. Oh well. The story is given to you in small cutscenes just after you beat a certain dungeon. They're not too long and often confusing. The plot isn't very hard to understand but you need to pay attention to the cutscenes to figure out whats happening. Odd thing is, at ANY point in the game, you can end the story. Just go to a tree near the edge of town and walk through it and the story is over. Rather anti-climatic way to end a story but the option is there.

Presentation: Cladun boasts it's 8 bit style, but in reality, its more 8 to 16 bit. Character sprites are done in an 8 bit fashion, this includes enemies. But the environments, weapons and shields are more towards a 16 bit style. This does make the character sprites stand out, and with a bit of sprite working know how you can make your custom characters look really good. Music is really good too. There are 2 different styles, "Real", which is music more modern gamers are used to. It all sounds pretty cool. Then there is "Retro" which has the regular music done in Midi style, which sounds really cool. Personally I enjoy the Midi style, but its up to you. Theres no voice acting...unless you count a demon laugh which you only hear in 1 screen in the game.
Overall the game does look good if you want a retro style game, but I get the feeling it's style will turn people off to it. Which is a shame.

Gameplay: Cladun isn't far off from games like Legend of Zelda. Movement is mapped onto the D-Pad and the Analog nub, and attacking, guarding, jumping and spell casting is mapped onto the face buttons. L cycles through your 3 spells. R with jump makes you jump farther, with block lets you slide (if you're running). The combat can go from pretty easy to unbearably hard. Some enemies can only be killed with spells, some only take damage on certain spots. So it can be tricky, especially when you have 15 or 16 enemies circling you and attacking you. A HUGE part of Cladun's customization is the "Magic Circle". If you don't learn how to upgrade your Circle, you WILL NOT make it very far in this game. Basically what the Magic Circle does is allow you to use other characters to upgrade your character, because lets face it, no matter what level your character is, he or she sucks on his or her own. First off you have to pick which character is your main, then, you pick the Magic Circle you want, as you level up you'll unlock different variations of the Magic Circle, so if the ones you have aren't working out, then just grind a bit. Also, different jobs have their own Circles, and they can be carried over when you change jobs. Then you pick the Sub characters you want. Keep in mind the higher a Sub's mana is, the more accessories you can equip to them. Accessories equipped to Subs help make your main stronger. But the better they are, the more Mana they consume, so think carefully. Cladun also allows you to create your own character, well, technically just the head. But its still a pretty cool feature. You can make whatever you want in 8bit fashion so go nuts!

Final Notes: I really don't have many, if any complaints with this game. Its a great tribute to older 8bit games. While its nothing new to the action RPG genre, it does stand out in its delivery. Don't let its style turn you off to it, its well worth a look.

Gamplay: 8
Graphics: 7
Replay: 9
Sound: 10
Overall: 9
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