Just as folks in the United States have a gecko mascot that sells car insurance, in Japan they have a cartoon mushroom mascot named Docomodake that represents a major cell phone company. Similar to other popular commercial mascots like The California Raisins, The Noid, and those M&M guys, Docomodake has enjoyed success with other merchandising products as well, like cell phone straps, plush toys, and even his own video game on the Nintendo DS! Even though we may not be as familiar with the character, Docomodake’s DS outing transcends language and cultural barriers and remains a fun, simple little action puzzle platformer romp.
As Papa Docomodake, players must find other members of his mushroom family so they can all go to the festival together. Tromp through dozens of 2-D platform jumping puzzle levels. Docomodake can run, hop, and roll like any other 2-D game hero. But by tapping him with the stylus and dragging away, you can pull away a few mini-mushrooms to help solve puzzles. Drag the mini mushrooms back to Docomodake to absorb them again. Draw a circle around a group of minis to move them all at once.
These mini mushrooms can be used in various ways. They can be used as stepping stools to reach areas too high or far to jump. You can also throw them at hard to reach switches and enemies. Pulling away mini mushrooms also makes Papa Docomodake smaller, which comes into play in the puzzles as well. You can enter narrow spaces when you’re little, but can push blocks only when you’re big. Using these skills, players will solve ever-increasingly difficult puzzles. You can also replay stages to get a better ranking.
The audio and visuals are simplistic and make me hearken back to the days of 8 and 16 bit puzzlers I used to play like The Adventures of Lolo, Kickle Cubicle, Lemmings, and The Lost Vikings. Controls are easy and both left- and right-handers can play. If there is any problems with Boing! Docomodake DS, it’s that it may be a little bit too simplistic and short for its own good. But since the game is only 20 bucks, a small quibble like that is easily forgivable. Fans of classic action puzzlers will definitely want to give this a try.
Boing! Docomodake DS is rated E for Everyone. Nothing objectionable here. Enemies just run away and disappear when hit, and Docomodake just stumbles if an enemy or obstacle gets him. Reading skill is helpful for the in-game hints and instructions. Younger gamers might get a little frustrated and stumped at some of the harder puzzle levels, though. But the game is good for teaching logic and other thinking skills.