Boing! Docomodake (Nintendo DS) - Review by Andrew
We've had almost everything appear on the DS in its relatively short lifespan from TV and Movies tie-ins to instructional and life enhancing carts, classic arcade and console characters and so on. One thing I can never recall is a Japanese Telecoms Logo and while the Japanese are renowned for their bizarre game designs this one even surprised us. Stranger still then that it should reach our shores, especially when you consider that we are still awaiting the first Professor Layton outing. There must be something here though as Ignition Entertainment (who will soon also release Tornado) are experts in bringing the weird and wonderful to the Nintendo handheld. So, what's it all about then?
Boing! Docomodake has you taking on the role of a Mushroom. A running, jumping, platforming Mushroom to be exact who can also multiply into a troupe of mini-mushrooms. If this is all a little too much then stop reading now but we did warn you it would be a little weird. Splitting the mushrooms is essential to complete puzzles and their most basic use is to provide the building blocks for bridges and ladders so you can move around the levels. Transforming them into a ball (by tapping them twice) allows them to be used as a weapon and tapping any point on the screen makes them fly at great speed to that very spot taking out an enemy or even flipping an out of reach switch. The levels are short and generally only consist of a handful of different challenges although if you do happen to fall foul of one of the many nasties, such as dive-bombing bees, you have to begin the level from the very beginning. When you complete your current level you're awarded a score based on time taken and coins collected. Score high and you'll be gifted extras such as artwork and new music but it's actually beating your high score that will force you to return to a certain level. This is easy to do thanks to the easy to use interface but it does hide the fact that's there aren't nearly enough levels to satisfy even the lounger puzzlers out there.
The control system is a mixture of the more traditional methods (i.e. the d-pad and buttons) and the touch screen. You'd imagine that this would make things quite confusing but the result is one of the most innovative methods of playing a game we've seen for some time. This is all helped by a tutorial section at the beginning of the game and a help icon that can be accessed at any time during the levels. This can be invaluable especially when you encounter a new type of obstacle.
The visuals are far from outstanding but this is a puzzler and the most important aspect is clarity. With that in mind, you are treated to some crisp leading characters and you're always perfectly able to see what you are doing even if you can't work out exactly how to do it.
It's all upbeat and fluffy enough but nothing you'll be humming once the game has been turned off.
As we've mentioned the control system is a bit of a group effort with the d-pad, buttons and touch-screen all required to play the game.
There's much to enjoy in Boing! Docomodake and despite its odd name, once you get to grips with the control system, it's surprisingly straightforward. This allows for some truly unique platform puzzling and it's been some time since the DS world has been delivered such an engaging title. Sadly it is let down by being far too short as no sooner are you becoming an expert at manipulating your troop of mini-mushrooms, it's all over. This is especially evident because of the lack of anything approaching an online Multiplayer so once it's over, that's it.
Pro: Creative and Occasionally Amusing Puzzles
Con: Can Be Difficult, Far Too Short.
Final score: 7.1