You will believe a member of the undead can feel love in Game Arts and GungHo's inspiring platformer.
One puzzle forced us to use metal casings as platforms, and when combined with fire traps the metal platforms eventually became dangerously hot. In another instance we needed to shoot the princess out of a cannon and adjust its trajectory so that she didn't smash her face through a spiked barrier. Dokuro's puzzles require a bit of thinking, as well as speedy platforming and navigation, especially those with timers.
Restarting a puzzle was quick and painless should our previous efforts have failed. In fact, you have the option to skip up to ten puzzles if your brain can't handle particular conundrums. To earn back a skip option, you need only head back to the puzzle that stumped you and complete it.
The game also throws in a boss fight or two for good measure. We came across one creative one and one that felt anticlimactic given Dokuro's puzzle-encrusted motive. The first boss, the Guardian, jumps around on three highlighted spots on the ground while attempting to pound you. While you can heap on the damage in hero form, we found it easier to wait until it did a stomp bringing down a crate with spikes on top of it, then drag it to one of the landing spots; dealing heavy damage and stunning it momentarily for you to land a few hits.
The other boss, the Chef, is a spider-like demon who will throw fish bones at you from a distance. Hitting the nearby bell will bring the Chef's platform closer so you can inflict prince power on him. You just have to time your dodges from its powder attack and cleaver swings. Hopefully the remaining boss fights are just as creative as the rest of the game because the fight with the Chef is as dry as our protagonist's complexion.
Dokuro's art style is unique to say the least; relying on chalk scribbling and 2D animations. It isn't entirely black and white, but the game's look is what you would get if The Nightmare Before Christmas was hand-drawn on a black board frame by frame. The monsters are more cartoony than horrifying, and the main protagonist is adorable to a point of sadness that his default form isn't noticeable by the object of his affection.
While the drive of the game is to see how the narrative ends, the puzzles and decor are obvious highlights. We definitely enjoyed our stay in the gothic and complex chalkboard world, and we're eager to see more on how the story plays out.
Look for Dokuro's 2D action on the PS Vita right now as it just launched on July 5 with both Japanese and English subtitles. A North American and European release has yet to be announced.
I hate hate Hate platformer games... But I once in awhile put my hands into the browl for interesting titles and this one looks like the one I may indeed check out color me interested..
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