|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: AQ Interactive||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ignition Ent.||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 10, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
January 13, 2009 - Ignition Entertainment is building a name for itself by bringing foreign, arcade, and unconventional titles to North America. Their current concentration on the DS seems to be a winning strategy; games like Tornado, Teenage Zombies, and Zoo Keeper have all found an audience despite their quirky gameplay and lack of IP recognition. It's no wonder that Ignition would have the gumption to bring Boing! Docomodake DS to the U.S. It's a platformer that features the mascot from a Japanese telecom company, NTT Docomo, Inc.
The quirky puzzle platformer sports an adorable mushroom and his rabble of minis. I say his minis because the fungus is known as Papa Docomodake. Papa is an adult mushroom that must find his missing family before the annual forest festival. He makes his way through the game by walking, rolling, jumping, digging, and pushing objects around. When these conventional platforming mechanics are frustrated by the level design, Papa Docomodake will have to rely on his loyal group of minis to get him through. Rather than relying on the D-pad, players will switch to controlling these minions with the stylus. Whereas Papa is constrained by the laws of physics, minis can easily follow most commands you issue via the touch screen. Advancing through the 56 levels (seven worlds made up of eight stages each) by using a combination of conventional controls and a stylus-based command system to solve environmental puzzles is the basis for the entire game.
Tapping on Papa allows you to pull minion mushrooms out of him. These are then used in creative ways to advance Papa through the level. Multiple minis can be used to span deadly gaps, get past weight-sensitive triggers, form a ladder to reach higher platforms, and even for taking out enemies. Of course, stripping Papa of his minis will make him more vulnerable to attack, so players will have to find a balance when using the miniature mushrooms.
The amount of sporelings you can use is limited, but the number quickly increases as you find chests scattered throughout the game. As you accumulate more of these little guys, the environmental puzzles and hazards become far more complex. From the sound of initial reports, Boing! Docomodake is most readily compared to 2004's Mario vs. Donkey Kong for the GBA. However, minis promise to be much easier to control, as they can be taken anywhere with the touch of the stylus as long as they aren't stopped by a physical barrier.
Each stage in Boing! Docomodake will take anywhere from three to five minutes depending on the level of difficulty. Multiplied by 56, the game only has about three to four hours of gameplay in it. This lack of content could spell disaster for the title if Ignition doesn't price the game appropriately. Unfortunately, Europeans currently pay close to ㈨ for the title; in other words, full price for a DS game. We'll have to wait and see what it retails for Stateside. Hopefully, the puzzles will be challenging enough and gameplay intriguing enough to warrant its acquisition. However, there won't be any online or local multiplayer features, and there is no level editor to extend the experience. What the game will have is a host of unlockables that are designed to encourage replaying the title until 100% completion.
On a bright note, the presentation will certainly help bolster the title's sales. The cute Docomodake should attract a number of willing purchasers. The characters look to be both interesting and funny, and the seven distinct worlds will provide new locations, brightly and thoughtfully detailed.
Despite the game's apparent lack of content, Ignition Entertainment has a knack of uncovering winning concepts and sharing them with the world. We've got a feeling that Boing! Docomodake for DS will incorporate the strengths of Nintendo's portable platform, while providing for an enjoyable overall experience. Stay tuned for our full review when this game hits retail in North America this March.
CCC Editor / News Director