Domo Games Review for Nintendo DSi

Domo Games Review for Nintendo DSi

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu

You might have seen Domo plush toys and other Domo merchandise at the grocery store lately, but the truth is this brown, stumpy guy has been around in Japan for a long time! Rumor says this creature with a saw-toothed mouth hatched from an egg back in the nineties, appearing in 30 second animations between shows on Japan’s NHK TV station. That’s how he became popular, but of course now he’s everywhere, including a popular Japanese manga.

Domo Games in DSiWare screenshot

Nintendo, being as Japanese as it gets, had no problem in giving the green light for a group of small Domo-themed games to appear on DSiWare. Now we can all take Domo with us and make our wait at the dentist office a more pleasurable experience. Or will we end up greeting the doctor with a sour face and sweaty hands? I guess that all depends on which game(s) you get, and that’s why I wanted to give you a heads up and let you know which of these Domo games are the most enjoyable.

Crash-Course Domo – 3.4 / 5

If you’ve ever watched the Italian Giro or the Tour de France, you know cycling is not about rushing and crashing, but in this game they wanted to give it their own twist. Racing as Domo, you’ll have to rush to the finish line dodging the other cyclists and avoiding rough terrain. You can pick up coins along the way to up the score and eat Domo’s favorite food (meat and potato stew) to get you going. The game is as simple as it sounds, and all you do is accelerate with the A button and move Domo in the road by pushing up or down on the D-Pad. If you ride with enough momentum, you might be able to push other players off the race, though that’s not to say it won’t affect you and slow you down, but as long as you finish in first, second, or third place, you’ll make it to the next race no problem. If you don’t, you can still repeat the event, but you’ll only have three chances before your score gets reset and you’re sent to the first level once again. As a time-killer, it’s not that bad, but even as a budget game it leaves something to be desired. Perhaps multiplayer competition between DSi owners would have been just the thing this one needed.

Domo Games in DSiWare screenshot

Hard-Hat Domo – 4.0 / 5

This game of ladders and cans of paint will have you climb a building as fast as you can. On the right side of the screen you can see the dual-colored ladder that’s coming next, and you’ll have to make sure the colors match the floor and the roof above you. If the colors don’t match, Domo can’t climb, so you better be fast and pick the right spot for the ladder or tint the floor with the right color by using the proper paint cans. If the floor matches and the roof doesn’t, you can actually climb up quickly and color the floor beneath you before it breaks apart and you fall. Domo can also jump over gaps in order to reach other sections of the same floor or grab the paint can he needs. The game’s quite easy to start with, because they give you the ladders you need, but it can get pretty frantic after a while, especially if you manage to unlock the other difficulty levels (there are four). Although it’s not a very complicated game, I found this one to be quite addictive and well worth the 200 DSiWare Points. Plus Domo looks cute in a working man’s hat!

Domo Games in DSiWare screenshot

Pro-Putt Domo – 3.8 / 5

In this mini-game of mini golf, Domo competes against other players (CPU players, of course) to win the tournament with the fewest number of strokes. Course layouts include bunkers, water hazards, rough surfaces, etc. – just like a real life course. What’s not so real is the coins and bowls of meat and potato stew spread throughout, but that’s just there to tempt you and distract you from the main goal of finishing the course on par or ideally below that. Of course, if you manage to also pick up some coins on the way, you’ll be the king of golf… well, of this kind of golf; plus, it’ll let you unlock extra game modes later on.

The controls in this Domo game are a bit more complex than in the other ones, though that’s a good thing because it allows you to do what should be done. For example, if you press the right trigger, you’ll be allowed to scroll left, right, up, and down for a full view of the course being played. This will let you calculate the direction of your shot properly. You can select the trajectory with the D-Pad, and once you’re ready, just hit A and the power meter will show up to let you figure out how hard the shot will be and how far the ball will go – easy enough and fun enough. One nice touch is that the courses are never the same. The coins and the holes change around each time you play, so it always stays fresh. It’s not a great mini-putt game by any means, but it’s the best you’re going to get for 200 points on your DSi, and that’s a lot.

Domo Games in DSiWare screenshot

Rock-n-Roll Domo – 2.0 / 5

This Domo game had me as fast as it lost me. Domo and his friends Tashanna and Mr. Usaji are all geared up with their hottest music equipment, up on the stage, singing and playing songs Rock Band-style. The screen shows three note markers, and different color notes scroll down the stage following the rhythm of the song, much like it would happen in any of today’s popular music games. You can follow the rhythm by tapping the proper markers at the right time, or you can use the D-Pad to select the correct note marker and then press A at the right time to hit the note, which slows you down considerably.

Either way, the game is very challenging right off the bat, not leaving any room for mistakes or enjoyment. If you don’t keep the audience happy, you’ll quickly be kicked out and will have no choice but to restart the song. Three tries and you’re out. While I managed to get through a couple of songs, the unforgiving controls made me feel like a loser and I quickly lost interest in what could have been the most interesting Domo game out of the five. Of course, don’t expect an A-list soundtrack either, but the songs are cheery and cute, which would have been enough if the gameplay was good. The game also includes a mixer to practice songs, but the buttons to change venue, tempo, and difficulty didn’t exist on my copy of the game, so I couldn’t even try this out. Weird!

White-Water Domo – 3.0 / 5

This is the first game of the bunch I tried out. Domo races down the wild river rapids while avoiding treacherous obstacles, jumping past unstable waters, and zooming through the gates in an effort to reach the finish line in first, second, or third place. Just like the other games, you’re given three lives, which means you can replay stages but only three times before your score and game are reset. Coins and meat and potato stew are also part of the formula, helping you out time-wise. On the other hand, hitting a rock or diving into dangerous sections of water will result in time penalties. While the gameplay is compelling enough, the controls don’t seem to seal the deal. Paddling is done by holding B, you can jump with A, and then move Domo with the D-Pad. Unfortunately, the waters end up getting too wild and unreasonable after a few stages, making the game almost uncontrollable. This game isn’t particularly fun compared to Hard-Hat Domo, Pro-Putt Domo, or even Crash-Course Domo, but if you must have the collection, it’s also not that bad.

Domo Games in DSiWare screenshot

None of these Domo games shine as far as presentation. It’s the kind of graphics you saw on the GBA years ago, and the sounds are equally primitive for a modern game. However, we’re talking about a 2 dollar price point, and considering 200 point games like Birds & Beans, Master of Illusion, or Paper Plane Chase are not very technically advanced either, I guess we can’t ask for more. What matters is to have fun, and some of these Domo offerings manage to provide that. If you’re a Domo fan in search of quick, pick-up-and-play games for your DSi that won’t break the bank, some of these might be good options, though there’s always Dr. Mario, which is actually money well spent, even if it’s more.

GBA-quality graphics don’t do much for the games, but the Domo sprites are cute. 3.0 Control
Oversimplistic controls work better in some games than others, but there was room for improvement in all of them. 3.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Old-school tunes fit the old-school vibe of this Domo game collection, but they don’t shine. 3.4

Play Value
These games are fun in short bursts, and luckily, the price is right. Pro-Putt Domo and Hard-Hat Domo will be your best bets.

3.3 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

To top