Review: Boing! Docomodake DS

Some games would never work well on any other platform save for the DS. Some are just too silly, or too quirky, or ingenious. This is the case with Boing! Docomodake DS from Ignition. An adorable mascot for a cell phone company turned into an intriguing and equally cute puzzler, Docomodake is a worthy contender for your time and attention. From its infectiously endearing character design to its fun, yet challenging gameplay, it’s a great way to spend some quality time with your DS.

You’re in charge of rescuing a small family of mushrooms. Every year their village throws an important festival. However, one band of mushrooms didn’t quite make it back in time for the celebration. Having gone off to collect goods to prepare for the celebration, they have been unheard of for quite a long time. Leader of the village, Papa Docomodake, takes control and organizes a search party to rescue the missing members of the village. It just wouldn’t be a festival without them!

Taking control of Papa, the premise is quite simple: find all of the mushroom partygoers and return them home safely. Somehow, they’ve reached many different corners of the in-game world, and it’s a requirement that you traverse different terrain to find every single one of them. Six relatives in all are missing, and as you save each family member, you’ll learn more about the inherently simple story. It’s a very lighthearted and heartwarming story that wouldn’t be out of place in a child’s DS library. Still, that shouldn’t keep any older gamers from enjoying the game’s engaging puzzle gameplay.

Boing! Docomodake features some fantastic mechanics. Searching for the mushroom family will take Papa through eight different levels. Of course, this is more than just your garden-variety platformer. Papa must navigate levels fille with spikes, ladders, enemies, platforms, and a multitude of other obstacles that will serve to annoy you immensely when you can’t figure out how to deal with a certain one. Though the game may start out as a cakewalk, the difficulty curve does tend to ramp up as the game progresses. It allows a decent amount of time for players to become acclimated, however, so it never feels like you are having too much thrown at you at one time. Children will no doubt appreciate this, as well as casual gamers who find little use for challenge in their games.

To get through each level, Papa will have to be split into miniature versions of himself. This is easily accomplished by dragging the DS stylus from his body to an empty space. The miniature Papas can form ladders, perform tasks on their own, become projectiles, weigh switches, and can even be used as blocks when elements of a level seem to be missing. You’ll find yourself relying on minis most of the time, so it’s good to get used to the gameplay early on. When you create miniature versions of Papa, he will become smaller and smaller, until he matches the size of his copies – they’re being made from him. The result is a vast array of engaging gameplay that requires more than just a bit of thinking from time to time. Miniatures are susceptible to being damaged, and you will often lose one or two (or more) during a specific level. Though you can usually complete a level without keeping every single one of the copies alive, completionists should take note that it’s an important part of unlocking secrets throughout the game.

Controlling Papa is done entirely with the stylus and D-pad, though the controls can also be mapped to the face buttons, save for dividing into miniatures. Simple, RTS-lite controls have been integrated as well, introducing the circling of groups of minis to ensure they all are moved at the same time. This approach to puzzle-solving truly makes Boing! Docomodake stand out from the masses of DS titles that are flooding the market, and will no doubt please fans of mindbending puzzlers.

The game’s presentation is also top-notch, featuring colorful, inspired graphics and infectiously cute character designs. Papa and the minis are worthy of being translated into plush dolls – no wonder they’re a mascot for a Japanese cell phone company! Exuberant colors and innovative level design are pleasing to the eye, and stand out tremendously from a variety of American-made counterparts. Combine this with calming, tranquil music along with chipper sound effects, and Boing! Docomodake is transformed into quite the feel-good title for your DS.

Boing! Docomodake DS is an absolute delight to play. Though it’s a safe bet that it won’t see too many purchases due to its mascot nature and likely limited release, what’s here is a refreshing entry into the DS gamer’s library. If you find a copy, snap it up  – hopefully that will prompt another entry into the video game department for Docomodake. It’s a great buy, for children and adults alike. When you’re sick of being cheated by the AI in Puzzle Quest, spend some time with the plushy and cute Docomodake.

Comments are closed.