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Boing! Docomodake DS

The Docomodake are peaceful people; they live their lives like you and me, go to school, leave home, and love nothing more than organising the annual festival for Docomodake Village, which is pretty impressive considering they appear to be nothing more than walking talking mushrooms.

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Now speak up if you disagree but I would have thought that the best platform for a game based on a mobile phone mascot would be the mobile phone. The good people at NTT docomo Inc obviously didn’t agree and so Boing! Docomodake DS as the name suggests is on the Nintendo DS.

The story sees the Docomodake family going missing just days before the annual festival and it’s Papa Docomodake’s job to find his relatives. To achieve this he will need to negotiate his way around all five worlds and some 40 levels. Levels are a case of getting from point A to point B, collecting coins and opening chests, all whilst avoiding enemies. It sounds simple but to complete them will take some thought as Docomodake is as much about problem solving as it is platforming. Luckily Papa Docomodake is no ordinary hero; he has the ability to split into Minis. Minis are essentially your minions – throw them at switches and enemies, stack them to make ladders, or add and remove them to reach required weights are just a few of the tricks you’ll have to use. It’s the games only stand out feature but it’s enough to give it its required niche.

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The levels themselves are relatively short, usually lasting no more than five minutes. There will be occasions that will stump you, but the answer is never too far away. In fact, I’m rather embarrassed to say this except I got stuck for a good few minutes on the tutorial stage. I needed to jump up onto a ledge, but Papa couldn’t reach high enough, apparently I had to make a ladder, however I couldn’t see any instructions and was forced to rummage through the manual to find the answer.

The controls work quite well. The d-pad moves Papa and the stylus is used to manoeuvre the Minis, either as a group or individually. The graphics are also adequate, offering bright and colourful visuals although the later levels look rather similar right up to the fourth stage despite the supposedly different environments.

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My main concern with Docomodake is that it’s too short; you’ll easily be able to complete it in less than five hours. Don’t expect much replay value either. Trying to find all collectables and improving you final rating is all that’s on offer. With challenging although not too difficult stages it’s a pleasant game let down by its shortness. If you’re after a game to play on the way to work, or when you have a spare few minutes, then this could be a worthy purchase.

7 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in January 2008.

Gentle persuasion

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