There’s been rumbles about the Vita not having any good games, or games in general, and I’m a bit confused. There’s already a bunch of fun games to play on the handheld and Dokuro is a great addition. Dokuro is a 2D platformer/puzzle game that sets you in a dark world filled with strange undead creatures.
The story starts off as a dark lord kidnaps a princess that he intends to make his wife. Our hero has to lead her through obstacles throughout the castle. All the while our hero begins to grow more attached to the princess as he protects her from the dark lord’s underlings. The story can be quite amusing, and at times, emotional. The love story is very well told, in my opinion, and you’ll find yourself being attached to these two as you go through each stage and watch each cut-scene.
Actually that’s just a transformation. Your attacks do damage and you can carry the princess when need be but your jumping ability in this form is limited. You can transform into this form using a potion you see in the top right of the screen. It doesn’t last long but the ability recharges fairly quickly after every use.
In this form the princess can’t see him. His attacks do no damage. They’re used to deflect weak projectile attacks and to bat away enemies that get too close for comfort. He can platform much easier in this form than the prince form. His main weapon is you. Your ability to solve puzzles to lead the princess to safety…
The game-play in Dokuro is very challenging. Pushing objects, pulling levers and pressing buttons to create a bridge, or powerful fan or opening a gate for her to get across. At some points you can manipulate gravity and walk on the ceiling. In certain areas you’ll have to carry her or if you’re just thinking she’s not moving fast enough for you. Along the way you’ll receive the ability to use chalk to draw in certain things. White chalk will allow you to rope certain objects to create a bridge between two points. In prince form you can sever these ropes if you need the object to create either a path or weigh down a button. Red chalk allows you to light a fuse or a candle from a source of fire.
The boss battles in this game are intense. You’ll be using your platforming, dragging and attack abilities to fight these bosses you’ll encounter.
In one case your only real way of damaging a boss is to drag a barrel of explosives to his face before he unleashes a fiery blast that takes up 90% of the screen. Did I mention the little fire demons that threaten to light the fuse to blow up in your face?
The controls are responsive and is easy to get familiar with and play right off the bat. The game, however, can be tough. Some levels can be done in 0:30 but it can take you a couple minutes or more trying to figure out a 0:30 level. There are 16 stages: 14 of which have 10 levels. My recorded play times says 16:21 hrs but to be honest it took me around twice that long to get through.
Luckily the developers knew how difficult some of these puzzles can be and gives you an option to skip a level. You only get 10 of those skips so if you use them up and want to skip another you’ll have to go back and complete a level you skipped. I’m willing to bet some of you are saying , “Pft, I don’t need to skip jack”. Oh, you’ll be surprised. Don’t let the game’s look fool you.
The art style of this game is quite unique. Everything looks like a chalk drawing. The color pallet and the designs seem simple but the contrast between them is wonderfully executed. Because things are simple you never lose track of where things are. With graphics trying to become more realistic and flashy it’s really nice to see games that have a more modest look using a simple but somehow elegant style. It’s a wonderful art direction.
The sound is also quite minimal. There’s little voice work apart from reaction clips when you attack; get injured; the princess gets scared; etc. The sound effects aren’t the best I’ve heard but they’re clean and do their job. The music sets a very creepy yet playful atmosphere. It’s kind of like carnival music, and it fits in well with the art style, I think.
Overall I give the game 5 out of 5 simply because I’m not allowed to give it a 6 out of 5. It’s a beautiful and challenging game with a sweet little love story. It’s heart warming, really. The game-play is fun and easy to get used to. In my opinion there’s no excuse for not getting this game other than you either don’t have a Vita, or you have bad taste in games.