Nintendo's latest fighting game has the coolest main character. You.
Last week's Nintendo Summit held a number of surprises that threw us off guard, including the early releases of Metroid: Other M and Super Mario Galaxy 2, as well as the DSi XL being surprisingly good, despite its high price. But the one that really took us for a loop was PhotoDojo, a simple yet highly addictive fighting game where you're the warrior.
Loosely translated from its Fight With Photos: Photo Fighter X Japanese release last year, PhotoDojo works off a basic build system. You take pictures of yourself using your DSi (or DSi XL) in various poses, including Stand, Jump, Crouch and the fireball-throwing Hadouken pose. You can also throw in other objects to help personalize your fighting style, such as a game controller, family pet or best friend's head. (These will be your projectiles, so choose wisely.)
From there, you record sound effects for each of your moves. For instance, for our taunt, we decided to go with "Who taught you to fight, Ray Charles?" So, at the end of each round, if you're the victor, this taunt plays to your opponent. You can also record signature phrases for each of your moves, such as your projectile attack (in this case, "Fuzzball of death!") and your Desperation Move (we went with "That's what she said!", since someone dared us to).
Once you finish capturing photos and sound samples, you choose your background art (from several available wallpapers, or you can create your own), music and boom! You have an instant fighting game that's bound to be a hit at parties. The real fun is watching how all your creativeness comes together into a solid, gut-busting free-for-all that's as enjoyable to watch as it is to play. Hearing your character yell the same things repeatedly as they beat up a friend (or, depending on who's with you, a family member) is better than you might think.
As for the gameplay, it's very basic. You have punch, kick and projectile attacks, along with Desperation Moves that keep you in the game longer if you're on your last legs. Street Fighter II, it's not. However, considering that the game is more about inventiveness than skill, it's fun nevertheless. By day's end at the Summit, we were looking through all the fighters that had been created throughout the day, from a costumed G4 staffer to Wired's "super-powered" Chris Kohler. And this is just from one day of play.
Unfortunately, the game comes up short in multiplayer options. There are no Wi-Fi Connection capabilities, nor can you share your fighter with others. All you can do is battle with two players on the same screen, with one player controlled by the D-pad and left shoulder button and the other with the system's face buttons and right shoulder button.
Regardless, PhotoDojo looks like a sure-fire hit for Nintendo, especially if it can stay at the proposed 200 Wii point price that the Japanese version sells for. The only question now is who will reign supreme in the Modojo battle for glory? We'll find out soon, grasshopper, as the game fights its way to a late spring release.