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Docomodake joins a number of imaginative platform games that are reinventing the genre on the DS. Like Soul Bubbles DS and Pac 'n Roll DS before it, this game introduces new ways to interact and problem solve its levels.
Platform games task you with getting from point A to point B. The world you journey through is usually based on different levels, and populated with enemies, switches and lifts to be negotiated. As you work through each level you pick up various collectables that accrue score, special abilities and access to hidden areas.
Docomodake is a unique platform game because of the ability of your character to divide into smaller parts. Tapping on your mushroom protagonists throws out a mini-mushroom and depletes your size. These miniature mushrooms can be moved around the screen with the stylus. In this way they can be used to plug holes in platforms, stacked to create make-shift ladders or picked up and thrown at enemies.
The main Mushroom character is then controlled with the D-pad. By using the various abilities of his mini-me's and his own walking, running and jumping you need to try and work through the level, collecting gold coins.
As you progress through the levels (which start very easy but soon get more taxing) it is the collecting of these coins that provides the real challenge. The more you collect the higher your grade on completing a level.
As with other platform games, it is the level design that makes them interesting. Docomodake takes this simple set of abilities and challenges the player to use to imaginatively and creatively solve problems and collect every last coin.
Players are attracted to Docomodake by it's simple platforming play scheme and cartoon visuals. After just a few levels they will realise there is a substantial experience here. There is nothing better than being faced by an impossible to reach coin on an out of reach platform, only to realise that a few simple moves will get you there. There are moments in Docomodake that are sheer frustration, but it is the frustration of a fiendishly designed level rather than any broken play mechanic.
Because this is a game split into discrete levels, it lends itself to shorter play sessions. Some levels will also stay with you between games as your brain does its best to solve the problem while you get on with the day.
Very young players will find the aesthetic attractive but the actual game a little too complex. There is a high degree of forward planning required on some of the earlier levels. That said, there is still fun to be had with the simple platforming - ideal if an older sibling can then make better use of the rest of the experience.
Intermediate and older children will revel in the simple complexity (if that makes sense) of the game's levels. There is some great team working opportunities here as families battle to complete each level.
Expert gamers should also find plenty to amuse them here. Not only will the rapidly increasing difficulty level suite them, but the simple approach of the game will remind them of games they used to play on older games machines.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: