The Playstation Vita has been out for about nine months already and games are still trickling down for it, with major releases on the way in the next few months. But if you want something that’s neither a port of a console game nor a spinoff of an established franchise, then look no further than the PSN Store. Some people tend to forget that games from smaller studios do get released on to the store and are often get ignored. Take Dokuro for example.
Developed by Game Arts and published by GungHo Online Entertainment, Dokuro, just like the main character, just wants to be noticed. Will its chalk fairy tale looks be enough for us to notice or will it just remain oblivious and go unnoticed by gamers?
WORK OF ART
Living Chalk World - The art style of Dokuro has a very unique look to it. At first it looks likes a standard fantasy/fairy tale setting, but take a closer look and you’ll see that everything is rendered in chalk. This art style really enhances the fairy tale feel to the world all the while being contrasted to the dark castle that little Dokuro and the princess have to travel through to escape.
Little Guy’s Time to Shine - Just like the art style, the story of the game has a fairy tale feel to it. The game stars Dokuro, a skeleton minion serving his master the Dark Lord. One day, he sees that Dark Lord brings back to his castle a kidnapped princess and tries to force her to marry him. It fails and he stomps off to ponder his next move to woo her. Now if this is starting to sound like a certain game about a plumber saving a princess from an evil dino king, it kind-of is but here’s the twist. Dokuro falls in love with princess and tries to get her attention. But being so small and a minion, she doesn’t notice him at all. This gets him mad and he thinks about leaving the princess behind but decides not to and lets her out. She runs off and he realized that she’s not going to go very far by herself, so he tags along and helps her, though she can’t see him. It’s a simple story really but relatable to those who are the little guy whose good deeds go unnoticed, yet he’s still compelled to help because it’s the right thing to do.
Simple yet Challenging Puzzle Platformer - Dokuro may look like a charming puzzle platformer but don’t let its looks fool you. Getting through the levels may look simple, but can prove to be a challenge, testing even a seasoned puzzle solver. Once you find out the way to get the princess to safety, you’ll let out a satisfying “Ah ha”.
Over 20+ Puzzle Filled Hours of Play - Puzzle games are known to provide short bursts of fun, testing brain power. Platformers provide the same short burst, but test reflexes. Dokuro takes the two and combines them into a 20+ hour puzzle platformer that you won’t be able to keep away from long.
Chalk Power at Your Fingertips - In addition to traditional ways of solving puzzled, Dokuro allows you to harness the power of chalk. So what is the chalk for, you may ask? As you get into the later levels, the chalk is used to add in missing levelers, ropes with pulleys and other obstacles that will get in Dokuro’s way. All of this is controlled by the touch screen or the rear touch pad, for the most part at least.
Princess Smarter Than a Lemming - One thing that I hated about the Lemming games and any games growing up is that they clearly see the pit of fire, yet they still fall in. Dokuro’s follows this style of gameplay but with one big difference: she’s smarter than the lemmings. When approaching a pit she will stop on her own. When enemies get near, she’ll try to run away but won’t get far due to her petticoat. The point is that her AI lets her know if there’s danger and avoid it.
No Sensitivity Adjustment - Like I mentioned in my Street Fighter x Tekken Vita review, I had a few problems with the touch controls, most notably the lack of adjusting the sensitivity of the touch screen and the touch pad. The actions that use the touch screen and the touch pad can be mapped to different buttons sure, but it would be nice for those who have big hands to be able to change the sensitivity levels.
Dokuro will charm its way into your Vita. Its fairy tale chalk graphics really make the setting all whimsical and will draw you in. Dokuro’s story is a tale that people at one point can relate to and is really heartwarming. Add in hours of puzzle platforms and a princess that doesn’t act like a lemming and up have a pretty solid downloadable game. The touch controls didn’t click for me, but that’s my personal take and didn’t really detract from my enjoyment. If you’re looking for something to keep you busy while you wait for the major releases, then give Dokuro your attention. I’m sure he’ll like that.
*This review was based on the PS Vita version of the game with a review code provided by the publisher.*