Boing! Docomodake DS
Get ready to play with some weird mushrooms in this likable yet short (and unpronounceable) DS game.
It seems like every mascot receives a video game. Burger King did it with the King in his three Xbox 360 adventures, and now Docomodake, a promotions tool for a Japanese cell phone company, has a game of his own. Even though most of us aren't familiar with the service that this little mushroom dude hawks, his video game, Boing! Docomodake DS, isn't half bad.
Docomodake is a combination of Mario Vs. Donkey Kong and LocoRoco. You play as the heroic mushroom Docomodake as he sets out on a quest to rescue members of his family from peril. He travels through a series of levels, completing tasks before he's able to move along. While some of the puzzles are simple, others force you to break up into smaller Docomodakes to proceed. This includes dropping a little mushroom in a jug and filling it with water, activating switches, etc. You then have to draw the little Docomodakes into the big one.
It's an ideal concept, and for the most part, it holds together pretty well. Our only minor complaint is with the game's collision detection. Sometimes the smaller Docomodakes have a hard time connecting with the bigger one, even if you draw precisely where they need to connect. Otherwise, the gameplay clicks, with movement controlled by the face buttons and d-pad, and drawn-out actions on the touch screen. There are over 40 puzzles to solve, each one growing progressively harder. Fortunately, your abilities expand as you go along. Soon enough, you'll be able to use Docomodakes as projectiles against enemies.
Boing! Docomodake DS has the simplest presentation. The graphics look cute and colorful, and the imaginative level design sports plenty of inspiration. The music is pretty blah, but at least the happy tunes and sound effects keep things from getting mundane.
Even though it's a $20 game, Boing! could've used a little more content. Beating all the levels will take a matter of four to five hours at best, with very little reason to return to them outside of collecting coins. It would've been nice for Ignition to consider extra levels, a user-creation tool or maybe even a multiplayer mode with two Docomodake teams.
Still, if you're looking for something a little out there that will stimulate your mind for a few hours, these mushrooms will give you quite a trip. Boing! Docomodake DS avoids most of the pratfalls that normally kill commercialized efforts, and that's worth a modest recommendation. We're just happy that the Verizon Wireless dude hasn't gotten his own obscurely named game.
What's Hot: Interesting story and gameplay ideas, cute graphics and sound, $20 price tag won't hurt the wallet.
What's Not: Imperfect concept, as some smaller mushrooms are hard to connect to Docomodake; game length is horribly short at four to five hours, a little too weird for some to grasp.