Beautiful, but bare-bones
Princesses, Dark Lords, menacing castles, dashing Prince Charmings -- you've seen it all before, right?
Dokuro (PlayStation Vita)
The premise is fairly minimalistic, yet gripping: a princess has been captured by an evil Dark Lord, and Dokuro, a simple skeleton servant, has a change of heart and decides to rescue said princess. There's only one problem -- the princess can't actually see Dokuro in his normal form -- he has to drink a potion that temporarily turns him into a prince for him to be visible.
With the simple touch of a button (or the touch screen), Dokuro can morph into the dashing prince for a limited time, which limits his ability to double jump, but increases his combat prowess tenfold, and allows him to manipulate the princess either out of harm's way, or quickly get her to the exit. You obtain the Prince Potion fairly early in the game, and it recharges constantly, so there's no issue of being completely shortchanged should you decide to switch.
I feel like I also have to warn you before you get too far into the review: if you're looking for a challenge, look no further than Dokuro. Although it's never impossible, I was stumped more than a few times throughout my playthrough, to the point where a number of the game's 150 levels took me at least thirty minutes to figure out.
One perfect example is levels involving explosive barrels. In some stages, these can be lit by torches on the wall -- but others, inferno enemies have to meander into them -- leaving you at the mercy of the AI to complete a required puzzle in the level.
Touch screen controls can get a little dicey, even if they're barely used. You'll need to touch the screen to use chalk, which is one of the major puzzle solving elements the game has to offer. Utilizing white, red, and blue chalk, you can connect objects, light fires, and create water respectively.
While it's a cool concept at first, you'll quickly become frustrated due to how finicky the actual connections can be. If you want to connect an object or create a fuse, you pretty much have to be spot-on perfect with your drawing -- and even then, you could end up spending a while on some puzzles.
One level in particular featured a number of cannons that needed to be lit by a red chalk fuse -- on a number of instances it took me at least four or five tries to get the object to interact with the chalk correctly. Thankfully, you can customize the hero switch ability to trigger with the simple press of the R button, leaving chalk the only other touch screen function.
Dokuro is also exclusively a digital game, with no physical release in sight. While a $20 pricepoint may seem ballsy, keep in mind that this was a full retail release in Japan -- and for good reason -- it's long.
THE VERDICT - Dokuro
Reviewed by Chris Carter
|2:30 PM on 10.08.2012|
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