This is our Adventure Party Cats and Caverns review for the Wii U. We we’re given a complimentary download code by the developer (E-Regular Games LLC). This is a tabletop inspired multiplayer Role-Playing game for up to 5 players. Adventure Party Cats and Caverns is available on the Nintendo eShop.
There was once an age where Role-Playing games we’re played around a table, with real dice and paper & pencils. Like classic Dungeons & Dragons, Adventure Party: Cats & Caverns plays like an old school tabletop RPG. One player – the storyteller (similar to a dungeon master) controls many of the game’s aspects. Using the Wii U’s gamepad the storyteller’s role is similar to a DM in Dungeons & Dragons. The storyteller has the responsibility to relay NPC dialogue to the other players. For instance, if one of the non-storyteller players is talking to an NPC, the storyteller will read (and hopefully act the part) as the NPC. This is suppose to work just like a tabletop role-playing game, with the storyteller’s role centering on acting as the game’s many non-player (NPC) characters. For anyone who’s played a pencil & paper RPG this will make sense. For those unfamiliar with old school dice RPGs this may be a little confusing.
The storyteller’s role is one of great importance. A play-through of Adventure Party Cats & Caverns can be either fun or boring depending on how much thought the storyteller puts in. Like Dungeons & Dragons, the storyteller has freedom to act as the NPC when communicating with the other players. In Adventure Party Cats & Caverns the storyteller reads from the Wii U gamepad whenever a player talks to an NPC. The text that is suppose to be read to the other players is written in a different color font. The storyteller is also given other instructions for some of the game’s NPC, like waiting to unlock additional areas until the other players accomplish certain tasks. These additional instructions aren’t suppose to be read to the other players, but act as a guide for the current story / chapter. One example early in the game is a NPC guard who won’t let the players pass to the next area until they retrieve a written letter from the city’s mayor. A small note on the gamepad notifies the storyteller not to move the guard until they retrieve the letter.
While playing with Nintenfan editor Andrew I played as the storyteller. At one part in the game Andrew walked close to some wooden barrels. I had the option to have some city rats attack him. I was able to choose how difficult (strong) the rats would be, what attacks or abilities they’d use and so on. Adventure Party Cats and Caverns is full of scenarios like this.
Four other players can join a game, using up to four Wii remotes held horizontally. Movement and actions operate just like you’d expect. The players start off in a barracks, and after a while can walk around and interact with the game’s many NPCs, visit the city arena or explore the many different locations in the game’s world.
E-Regular Games put a lot of thought into utilizing the Wii U in unique ways. For example, when visiting a shop the camera on the Wii U gamepad videos the storyteller, and puts his/her face on the TV, framed by a face cutout. Other examples include opening chests and doors for the other players, controlling enemies in the game’s turn-based battle system and more.
The concept of a tabletop RPG may be impossible for other game consoles, but the Wii U provides a perfect platform for this idea. While other consoles would be forced to put the storyteller (DM) and other players on the TV at the same time, the Wii U’s ability to separate players among the TV and gamepad make this idea possible. I tip my hat to the game’s developers for coming up with a unique concept that take into account the unique functionality of the Wii U.
The fun factor in Adventure Party Cats and Caverns is dependent on who’s playing, and who’s playing as a storyteller. Like Dungeons & Dragons, a bad story teller can make a game very boring. At the same time, a good storyteller can make a party (like it’s name implies) a blast, and we had plenty of fun while playing Adventure Party Cats and Caverns.
There’s almost no sound or music in Adventure Party Cats and Caverns. This sorta-of makes sense considering the game aspires to be as close to a tabletop RPG as possible. With the storyteller reading off the narrative at all times the developers may have thought music would be to distracting. During battles the game does feature sound effects, but these are nothing more than simple smacks and grunts. Nothing much to say for the sound and music of Adventure Party Cats and Caverns.
Graphically, Adventure Party Cats and Caverns is not the best looking Wii U game on the Nintendo eShop. But since the game is attempting to re-create the tabletop RPG experience graphics aren’t the main focus. Remember, a traditional Dungeon & Dragons tabletop game will have almost zero graphics anyways, requiring the imagination of the players. The graphics in Adventure Party Cats and Caverns seem suitable for this genre. While playing I struck by just how much design work went into the mediocre graphics, the designers spent a lot of time designing their world.
In conclusion it’s a safe bet Adventure Party Cats and Caverns won’t be for everyone. If your a fan of tabletop role-playing games and have some friends/family around give the game a try. While the price is a little steep ($12.99 at last check) I feel the developer is justified. There’s a lot of potential for a good time as long as your group is up for a tabletop RPG experience. At the same time this is a niche game, and may be one of the only tabletop role-playing games to get this close to a pencil and paper RPG experience.
Review Score For Adventure Party Cats & Caverns
- Gameplay : 7 / 10
- Graphics : 6 / 10
- Sound / Music : 5 / 10
- Replay Value : 8 / 10
- Final Score : 6.5 / 10