Hakoniwa Explorer Plus(HEP) waste no time in setting the tone of game; The starting town of the game is under the threat of monsters who melt the clothing off women, adult male and female NPC's are referred to as "DILF" and "MILF" and approaching any NPC from behind allows for an ass grab. Are you ready to trek through "Phucken Marsh"? How about ascend "Hiyass Mountain" or plunge to the depths of "Dafuq Abyss". It is lighthearted and immature as hell and wears those tags with pride. Of course there is a message but so it isn't that shallow.
HEP is voxel based Action RPG. Upon starting a new game you will be able to choose your gender and difficulty level of the game and then your adventure begins and I emphasize that your because there is no story that leads you through the game's world. You will carve your own path. HEP is divided into several maps that you can unlock in any order that you choose and each of these of maps will start with only a few locations. If one of those locations is a dungeon then completing it will usually unlock another location. The other way is talking to NPC's throughout the towns you visit, who will clue you in on the location of other places of interest.. assuming you did not piss them off. You have a "grudge meter" that keeps track of how the NPC's view you. Doing stuff like ass grabbing, beating on them, and breaking their shit will raise that meter. Get it too high and they will refuse to assist you with info or open their shops to you .... and try to kick ass as well.The other reason you may not get NPC's to fill you in, is a low Explorer value. You raise this by getting achievements; this is the real meat of the game. You're an explorer and you need to make a name for yourself. There are 100 achievements to collect in the game and collecting them not only raises your reputation(more info and better shops) a certain amount of them are needed to access final map of the game.
Before you enter a dungeon you'll get to take a look it's stats; how many rooms is the dungeon composed of, difficulty and value of treasure found. Once inside, its beat everything to a pulp and collect as much gear as possible because your going to need to for two reason: Level ups amount to almost nothing as your stats will depend mostly on equipment, and equipment breaks. Everything breaks. I can already hear the groaning and moaning, but don't worry as it amounts to nothing because of the sheer volume of gear you'll find and the amount of repair kits thrown at you to fix up said gear. The biggest enemy outside the actual enemies is the inventory; its too small for amount of stuff you'll get. You can increase the limit but it never feels big enough. You can also store unneeded items but that also has a limit(that will increase with your personal limit). This is done solely to encourage using and breaking everything as soon as you get it. Don't hang on to items. Another interesting aspects in regards to items is how they respond to the environment. You carrying raw meat? Get set ablaze and now its Grilled chicken. Basic sword will become Thunder sword if struck by lightning. Keep food from spoiling by freezing them in a cold area. Cool to see useless items become useful or better without spending a dime.
Combat itself is okay. There problems that is has stems from being an isometric game. It is not always easy to tell the difference in distance between you and the enemy. The character has a a variety of weapons with different ranges but he/she can only attack in a few directions strangely, so using the bow and arrow feels like its more work to hit something than it should be. On top of this non boss enemies get invincibility frames from every hit they take not really allowing you to spam the hell out of them, but they are easy to trap in corner and beat up on as compensation.
To top this package off it is very eye catching presentation and soundtrack. The voxel art looks and very lively as environments are rarely static. Now, I would have liked to see more enemy(and NPC) variety and an animation increase across the board but eh. Music general is high energy and catchy, but also has some nice somber themes as well. The boss theme (song in trailer) has been stuck in my head for days among a few others.
HEP has a charm that makes it really easy to get absorb into what is really a basic gameplay loop; clear dungeons to unlock other dungeons to be cleared while gaining better and better loot. I would compare the vibe to a Igavania in regards to the satisfaction of loot hunting and runtime. I never got bored once. Apparently the developers work in the medical field and just did this on their free time. I would love to see what they would do in a sequel with game being a priority.