Setup & Timing
Boing! Docomodake DS is, overall, an easy game to navigate. The download is quick (around 45 seconds) and the opening credits are short, but there's a problem with the menu's location. Specifically, to send the demo, you have to enter the world map and tap on the Docomodake House, which is one of several unlabeled dots on the map (specifically, the one in the bottom centerr of the lower screen, next to the tree stump). Once you know where to go, the navigation is easy, but the game's Options menu (including the downloadable Demo) are not, in any way, obvious.
Menus & Navigation
Overall, the menus are responsive and well programmed. At the world map, however, the locations are small dots and the tappable areas aren't much bigger.
Ease Of Use / Play Control
Boing! Docomodake DS features both button controls and touch screen controls. The button controls are accurate and responsive, and are mirrored on both the Direction Pad and the buttons, accomodating both right-handed and left-handed gamers. The touch screen controls include a mixture of tapping, double tapping, and dragging, and all react as expected. There are, occasionally, inputs that can be easily forgotten (for example, you can't turn a mini into a Roly-Poly while the mini is in front of Papa Docomodake), but these are rules of the programming and they are some of the in-game rule restrictions that must be learned. The crowning jewel of the control scheme in the downloadable Demo is the fact that the game will actually show you a list of in-game controls that teach you how to play before you begin (something far too many games neglect).
Because the game is a side-scrolling 2D puzzle platformer, the graphics are simple, but they're intended that way. In fact, if the graphics featured a much more detailed appearance, it might even take away from the game's charm and add too much serious, and accidentally counteract the silly. Audibly, the sound effects play into the game's atmosphere, and many of them add gameplay benefit by alerting the player to things that are going on on-screen. The music, which adds to the atmosphere but not to the gameplay, doesn't massively affect the gameplay either way. The game's Single-Card Download content features a downloadable Demo containing three full levels from the game.
On the surface, Boing! Docomodake DS seems like a quirky Japanese import. In reality, it's a quirky Japanese import... but it's also a well-thought out platformer with interactive puzzle-based elements. The game is truly quirky: you star as Papa Docomodake, a giant mushroom who can merge with/split from his "children" (minis). Equally quirky, the game's star - Papa Docomodake - is the mascot of Japanese mobile communications company NTT DoCoMo.
What really makes the game special is its unique gameplay elements. When Papa Docomodake is merged with the minis, he's bigger and heavier than when he and the minis aren't merged. Sometimes his heavy, merged form is useful to lower platforms. Other times, his smaller, unmerged form allows to to enter narrower spaces. These elements, combined with intelligently designed levels, make Boing! Docomodake DS a pleasantly surprising game and a true hidden gem.
Put an "Options" butten underneath the map on the lower screen, or create a separate menu prior to entering the map.
Label the world map and increase the tappable areas.
Offer several sets of three levels that the host can choose from when sending the level.
Include a Vs Play multiplayer level race, where players compete to finish a random level first.
Program in a level editor and allow the edited levels to be sent as part of a downloadable demo.
Overall Single-Card Download Rating: 85 / 100 (a.k.a. 42.5/50)
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