Boing! Dokomodake DS. You read that right, the first word in the name of this game’s title is “boing” emphasized with an exclamation mark. That should give gamers a good idea that this isn’t your average platformer. Boing Dokomodake DS is a puzzle platformer with a heavy dose of Japanese charm.
For those unfamiliar with puzzle platformer games, they can best be described as puzzle games where the challenge is to take your character from one spot in a level to the goal. In between your character and the goal are any number of obstacles and puzzles that you must solve in order to progress. This type of game doesn’t rely on a lot of action and there are barely any enemies to look out for.
As far as I am aware Boing! Dokomodake DS is the only Dokomodake game available on the DS in North America. So is this a new series you should take a look at or avoid?
Dokomodake isn’t a graphical power house. The game is presented entirely in 2-d and looks very much like a crisp Super Nintendo platformer. Don’t go into this one expecting to be wowed by the graphics in any way because that is not what Dokomodake is all about.
The overall look of the game is very cartoonish. The characters are very kid friendly and convey a sense of childhood imagination. Perhaps the most disappointing thing about the overall look of the game is that throughout most of the game the backgrounds will not change all that much. In all there are 6 different zones and the first 4 zones all use the exact same background graphics. It’s not a game killer by any means but the developers certainly could have mixed it up a bit.
The sound department is another area that won’t garner much attention. Again I have to compare the sound department to the 16 bit era. There aren’t any voiceovers or highly produced ballads. Instead, Dokomodake has background music that is largely forgettable, which isn’t really a bad thing. Puzzle games have never really required a memorable musical score in order to make it a good game.
Dokomodake makes heavy use of the DS stylus screen. Throughout the game you will be tasked with overseeing several smaller versions of your main character. These smaller versions are controlled by tapping or circling which character you want to move and then dragging the stylus pen over the screen to your desired destination. This system works amazing well and I dread the thought of having to control all of the smaller characters with a keypad. Thankfully you never have to use the keypad to control the smaller characters.
You do have to use the D-pad to control the larger main character. The process is pretty simple, the left and right direction move you left and right. Pushing up will make the Dokomodake jump and pushing down will make your character dig through certain blocks. Overall the control system works.
Gameplay is where Dokomodake shines. More puzzle game than platformer, players will have to use their brain to open up pathways and collect all the treasures throughout each level. The point of the game is to get your large Dokomodake from the start of each level to the goal. The large Dokomodake has the ability to create smaller Dokomodake’s out of himself, which can then be used to fill empty slots in order to make floors and jumping platforms. Small Dokomodake can also be stacked on top of each other to create ladders and they can be turned into balls to throw at enemies.
Scattered throughout each level are several coins and treasure chests. It’s not a requirement to collect the coins and chests, but at the end of each level you are given a score based on how many items you collected and the amount of time it takes you to complete each level. You can also use the collected coins and treasure to unlock movies and music from the game. In general the puzzles in the game aren’t that hard to solve, so the real challenge comes in by trying to collect all of the coins and getting the best score possible on each level.
Dokomodake does have a storyline, but it is very insignificant. Apparently there is an entire village of mushroom type people (Dokomodake) and every year they have a festival. This year the entire Dokomodake clan went out to collect food items for the festival and got lost. It’s up to father Dokomodake to find and rescue the rest of his family. The story is very strange and I would guess that it wasn’t change very much from its Japanese version. In fact there are even several engrish style typos throughout the story.
There are six areas in total and each area has 8 levels to beat. Each level can be completed in any where from 2 to 8 minutes on average. That adds up to around 4 or 5 hours of gameplay on the first play through. This may not sound like a lot but the game retails for only $19.99 and puzzle fans will definitely get more time out of the game since they will want to go back and get a perfect score on each level.
To be honest I’m still not entirely sure what a Dokomodake is or why Ignition decided to put the word Boing in the title, but I do have to admit that Boing! Dokomodake DS is a fun little puzzle game. Because each level is relatively short it can be enjoyed in small doses and is easy to pick up and play at a later time.
The puzzles aren’t particularly difficult and there are no bosses to speak of, but Dokomodake has a certain charm and is so enjoyable that gamers will get their money and entertainment out of it.