Everybody was Photo Fighting!
Photo Dojo is not a title I would pay $10 for. Heck, I don’t even think I would pay $5 for it. At its core, this game is a simplistic fighter with a handful of attacks, one single-player mode, and a two-player mode. There really isn’t that much to do in this game. However, while Photo Dojo is light on content, it has a gimmick that works pretty well: the fighter is you! While being able to insert yourself into a game is nothing new (You’re in the Movies tread this ground just last year) Photo Dojo has an edge-it requires no special hardware and, for now at least, it’s free.
When you start up Photo Dojo, you aren’t even given the option to play, as your roster of fighters must first be created. You create your fighter by taking 13 pictures of yourself in different poses and recording ten sounds. You can either position your DS camera on a high surface and take the pictures yourself using a timer and the DS’ inner camera, or you can have a friend use the outer camera to take pictures. I would recommend having a friend take the pictures, as the low resolution increases blurriness, and the amount of space needed between you and the camera can make it hard to take a precise picture of the pose you need.
The photo-taking utility is very intuitive, and the 13 poses are very easy to get into. They vary from a crouching stance to a victory pose. You will have to position your body inside a small position frame, which isn’t very hard to do. With the help of a friend, you can be done taking pictures in less than five minutes (with a few requisite do-overs). By yourself, it may take a little longer, but it still should take no longer than seven or eight minutes.
The next phase of character creation is the voice recorder. This allows you to give your self-made character an attack sound, a special attack yell, and even a defeat noise. These sounds have a limit of five seconds and can really help you give some personality to your character. For instance, you can make your character say “ow” when they are hurt, or, for a more comedic effect, you can say something silly like “flan”. This game is all about having fun, and the more creative you can be with the voice recording, the more fun playing the game will be.
Once you are done creating your character, it is time to take a photo for a background, and then pick a fighting style. The fighting style really isn’t important, as it just gives your character a single special attack. Once that has been set, then you are ready to play. The fighting style in the game is very simple, and your character can punch, kick, throw a fireball, and perform a special attack. When your health is low, you can also perform a “Desperation” move, which is a super-powered ultimate move that can only be performed once per round. All of the regular moves can be performed by a single or double button tap, and there is virtually no learning curve as the battle system is so simplistic.
The single-player mode is essentially a horde-style mode where you can attack relentless enemies. The game doesn’t have any in-game enemies, so you’ll have to fight against other photo fighters that you have created, or against yourself. The single-player mode is definitely interesting for a little bit, but after fighting scores of enemies, it does get a little tedious, and it’s a shame there isn’t more to the solo mode of this lightweight title.
Fortunately, there is a two-player mode that allows you to fight against friends. However, what is different about this two-player mode is it uses a single DS console. You can’t play wirelessly or online, and each player has to use their respective side of the DS. The D-pad /facebuttons can be used to move around, and the shoulder button is used to attack. It sounds a little complicated, but because the fighting system is so simple, the two-player mode works well.
Technically, this game is not all that impressive, but when you consider that all of the visuals in the game (minus the menus) are created by low-resolution cameras, it is forgivable. The sound in the game is also all user-generated, except for some light background music, which is generic but inoffensive. Much like the game itself, the visuals and the sound will only be as good as you make them, so make sure to follow the camera instructions precisely and record clear sounds.
Photo Dojo is a simple game with an easy gimmick. Taking this game as a serious fighter, you’ll probably be disappointed. However, if you embrace the photo gimmick, you’ll have some fun with this title, and if you bring it to parties, this game is likely to be quite a hit. And the best part? Until June 11th, this title is completely free to download. After that, it will be 200 points, so make sure you check it out soon!
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.6 Graphics
Photo-based graphics are implemented well, even if the photos are not particularly high-quality. 3.2 Control
Control is very simplistic and takes only a few minutes to learn. Two-player mode controls work well. 3.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Background music is generic, but the voice over is as good as you make it. 2.8
There’s not much to it, and you’ll probably only enjoy this title for an hour or two. Still, for a currently free download (or even for 200 points), it’s a great value and a lot of fun at parties.
3.3 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.