Published by: Rising Star Games
Developed by: Route 24
Release Date: Out Now
Bakushow, known as LOL in the US, is a peculiar DS game to say the least. In fact it's not really a game in the conventional sense. Let's make it perfectly clear that this is not a single-player game. Bakushow is for 2 to 4 players only (only one copy of the game is required). If you're a DS gamer who doesn't have friends or relatives that you can play against on a regular basis then Bakushow will have no value at all for you. For those who do regularly game with friends and relatives however, Bakushow can provide a great many laughs. It does have a few problems however and it's difficult to get away from how limited it is.
You could loosely term Bakushow as a kind of quiz game where you and your friends get to create the content. Of course an easier way to describe the game is that it's essentially a very similar experience to the Pictochat application that comes with every Nintendo DS. There are some key differences of course. In a game of Bakushow the host will begin by setting a challenge. The challenges you can set are only limited by your imagination. You can ask trivia questions or suggest something that can be drawn. You can partially complete a drawing and request that the other contestants finish the picture. You can make up anagrams, Sudoku challenges, set mathematical questions or anything else that springs to mind. The reason for such flexibility is that the game has no content of its own. You've given a pen tool and an eraser and what you choose to put on your blank screen is completely up to you.
Essentially you'll set a challenge and apply a time limit in which to answer (you can choose to have an unlimited time for everyone to answer if you wish) and then every player will have a chance to come up with a solution. Once all of the answers are in, each player gets to see all of the answers and choose their preferred solutions by having three votes to distribute. The idea is that the one who earns the most votes will win the round and the winner will then get to set the challenge for the next round. The voting system is flawed however. You can simply give your three votes to yourself, which is just silly. If you are playing in a 2-player game then why do you need to distribute three votes? In fact, why do you need three votes at all? Surely just having one vote and prohibiting you from voting for yourself would have been a more sensible option? The game doesn't have a limit on the number of rounds and the game only ends when the winner of the previous round decides that it's time to finish the game at which point an overall winner is announced.
One of the major problems with Bakushow is that the quality of the game is entirely dependent on the imagination of those who are playing the game. The game literally provides a blank canvas for you to work with, a dodgy voting system and a means of keeping score. There are no questions or challenges provided. There aren't even any templates that can be used to set challenges. In the right company you could have an hilarious time with the game but in equal measure it could be dull and uninspiring when playing with those who don't have much imagination or can't think of anything original to challenge you with. The game doesn't have support for the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection so you 're limited to playing with those who are in the same room as you, which is a slight disappointment although it has to be said that it's much more pleasing seeing your friends or relatives laughing at your challenge.
Some are going to remark that it does the same job as Pictochat, which every DS owner gets for free. Pictochat, like Bakushow, allows you to draw, write and copy up someone else's artwork to edit yourself. That said, Pictochat doesn't allow you to vote, keep score or have any of the wacky presentation that Bakushow has. Incidentally, Bakushow is absolutely fine for deaf gamers. The game has some canned laughter for which there are no captions but otherwise the game is perfectly accessible with all information being presented visually. The question however is whether the extras that Bakushow has over Pictochat are worth the asking price of £24.99? For those who don't get to play their DS games with others on a regular basis the answer is a definite no. Those who do regularly play with others might find some value in the game and there's no denying that under the right conditions Bakushow can be humorous and enjoyable. For the asking price it should have offered significantly more however.