This Mushroom’s one pretty fungi.
Has anyone ever made the joke to you that certain videogames have hidden meanings or special agendas? Like Mario is secretly trying to get you o try shrooms or Monster Party is quietly trying to take over your soul? Well, in Boing! Docomodake DS, players take control of a giant shroom as they spawn copies of themselves in an attempt to solve some of the happiest puzzles you’ll encounter in a videogame. But don’t suspect drugs so quickly; Boing! Docomodake DS is actually based off of a Japanese cell phone mascot. How it was decided to be brought over to the U.S. is still something to question but the result is a game that reminds you of the happy culture that is Japan.
Docomodake is unashamedly an easy, simplistic game that contains 40 levels of 2D puzzling gameplay. Most of the puzzles require little thought and because of this the game lacks variation from level to level. The story is expectedly shallow, the game also lacks additional modes (1-player is it), and though the gameplay is anything but riveting, there is something about the charm that draws you to the game and makes you want to continue for a while. It’s one of those novelty experiences, you could say.
The basic premise of the game involves using your spawns as a ladder, stepping stones, and even as projectiles for defeating enemies, while you attempt to collect everything in a level and finish within as short of time as possible. The collection portion is the simplest part but finishing in a quick manner can be more difficult. The game grades you based on your performance so if you’re a perfectionist, you’ll have something to push for.
Progression is of linear form, where finishing a level unlocks the next. There are 5 scenarios total with eight consecutive levels apiece. Though the short story of each scenario is different, there really is not much variation from level to level. However, as you continue to play, you’ll learn new techniques to utilize in order to solve some of the puzzles. None of these techniques change the controls in any way, but rather utilize some of your previous skills in solving new puzzles.
The game’s aesthetics are possibly the most endearing of all. Featuring simplistic, colorful, 2D art, the game reminds me of some of the previous Warioland titles and the game even feels like it at times (in a much shorter, more segmented fashion). And though at first glance the game lacks the graphical quality we’re accustomed to seeing on the DS, its simplicity is what makes it work. The music is the same way, with happy, fairly catchy tunes, but nothing to write home about.
And still, despite its undoubted charm and simplicity, the lack of depth hurt the game in my honest opinion. With only around 5 hours of gameplay and no incentive to continue after finishing the game, it’s difficult to see myself considering a purchase of the game. Sure, it is only $20 but I can think of several games at that price range with much more replay value. I liked the main game, but the exclusion of any separate mode just makes it difficult for me to justify the game even at such a low price. It certainly is a novelty but unless you’re selling it back as a used game, it’s hard to spend $20 on a game that lasts no more than 5 hours.
Boing! Docomodake DS is definitely a novelty game. Selling complete simplicity, the game is a fresh look for the DS. However, it feels more like a DLC title than an actual game. At $20, it is on the lowest end of the pricing spectrum in terms of current DS games but I still feel like that’s a little high for what you get (around 5 hours of gameplay). In my honest opinion, if this game had been delayed a couple of months and released as DSi Ware, it would be more worth the cost of admission (maybe around $10 for a download). If you’re into Indie games or games that are just simplistic and happy, Docomodake is right up your ally. Just don’t expect the longest experience or any replay value.