Boing! Docomodake DS DS
Published by: Ignition Entertainment
Developed by: AQ Interactive
Release Date: Out Now
Whilst the DS has its fair share of platform games, Boing! Docomodake DS is certainly one of the more interesting. The game has oodles of charm and a fair amount of originality that help to make the game standout. The game essentially involves you, playing as Papa Docomodake, searching for members of the Docomodake family (incidentally, Docomodakes are the mascots of DTT DOCOMO - a Japanese mobile phone company). The Docomodake village holds a festival once a year and all of the family members went out to prepare for it and never returned. It's up to Papa Docomodake to search for everyone and he has a few tricks up his sleeve to help him achieve this.
Boing! Docomodake DS has six different areas which are comprised of eight stages. You'll need to complete an area in order to recover a family member. In each of the stages there are coins to collect and treasure boxes to open as well as a goal to reach. For the bulk of the game it's all very straightforward but when you reach the final area you'll notice that the stages become more complex and eventually downright devious. With the bulk of them being so easy, for the most part, you will fly through the bulk of the game in just a few hours. In many respects it would have been better had the difficulty increased gradually throughout the six areas rather than simply having the sudden jump in difficulty for the final area.
Papa Docomodake can jump, role, dig, climb ladders and do most of the standard things that you expect in a platform title. In the various stages are an assortment of mechanisms, such as sinking floors, bump switches, balances and wake-up bells, that you need to manipulate. Fortunately Papa Docomodake can split himself into Minis (which are smaller versions of his mushroom-like self) which enables him to overcome any obstacles that get in his way. Initially he can only split himself into four Minis but this number does increase during the course of the game. You can use these Minis in a variety of ways. You can build ladders with them and use them as blocks to enable you to build a bridge which will allow you to reach otherwise unreachable coins and treasure boxes. There are times when you'll need to make Papa Docomodake smaller and lighter and splitting him into Minis will certainly achieve this. You can even double tap a Mini to turn it into a roly-poly which can then be thrown at an enemy or other target. You can also make them into a group by using the stylus to draw a circle around the Minis. Both the Mini and the roly-poly can become exhausted and they will eventually faint if they are not returned to Papa Docomodake. Once they have fainted you can't touch them with the stylus and instead you'll have to send them flying through the air by blowing into the microphone.
The game can certainly boast a polished and deaf gamer friendly presentation. The mushroom-like Docomodakes are simplistic but have a certain charm that more than makes up for it. The game makes very good use of the DS' unique control scheme with the stylus (which makes controlling your Minis as intuitive as it could be) and even the microphone being put to good use. The game won't cause deaf gamers any problems. There is no speech in the game and all storyline is shown in text. All tutorial messages are in text too. The game manual also does a good job of explaining the various game concepts in a concise fashion.
Boing! Docomodake DS is an enjoyable, if brief platform title. There's a fair amount of originality here and being able to split the main character into smaller versions of himself and then use these Minis in a variety of ways to complete the various stages is fun and really adds something extra to what would otherwise be a standard platform game experience. The game is rather short however and I think it was priced sensibly at £19.99 (and you can find it cheaper online too). Maybe the bulk of the stages could have been more difficult. There's not a lot of replay value here unless you want to replay a completed stage in order to obtain a better ranking. To summarise then, Boing! Docomodake is a pleasant and enjoyable platform game that's let down a little by its length and mostly easy difficulty levels but, to a certain degree, compensates for this with its originality and low price.