As I mentioned in my Goals & Resolutions post, playing (and finishing) more video games is a high priority for me this year. Unfortunately, I still kinda suck at video games, so finding something that will hold my attention while still being simple enough for me to play without dying a bajillion times a minute is of utmost importance. Luckily, a recent review on Indie Gamer Chick seemed to provide the answer to my prayers.
Albeit with a little more poop than I would normally expect from a divine answer.
Doki Doki Universe is the latest game from Greg Johnson of ToeJam & Earl fame, but since we’ve established I’ve played exactly 5 games prior to 2010 (Super Mario Bros., Bubble Bobble, Friday the 13th, Wolfenstein 3D & Grim Fandango. And none of them with much skill,) it should go without saying that this means very little to me. Although I was able to impress Rick by mentioning the developer’s name when he commented on certain similarities between Doki Doki and TJ&E. However, I was aware of TJ&E’s reputation for absurdist humour, which is never a bad thing in my book.
The plot of the game is pretty simple. You play as a robot named QT3 who is abandoned by his owners because of a recall of his model. Apparently he lacks “humanity,” but luckily an alien named Alien Jeff is around to save him and set him on a quest across the universe to learn what it means to be human. All the while answering personality quizzes administered by various randomly named monks waiting around on asteroids, and a dude named Doctor Therapist. Also, your best friend is a red balloon who sometimes sends you mail.
Aside from the quizzes, gameplay involves flying from planet to planet and solving the problems of the residents of said planet by collecting collecting and summoning items. I guess it’s a little like Scribblenauts in that you need to summon items to solve problems and most problems have more than one possible solution. However, you don’t have to type anything and you collect items to summon by rummaging around the planets and helping people or pissing them off, depending on what they’re into.
I think it was this mechanic that dug its methy hooks into me, resulting in a four hour marathon the day I bought the game, a rare thing indeed. I don’t know what it is, but any time there’s a collectible mechanic to a game where I’m not impeded by hopelessness at platforming or shootings, you’d better get used to making your own dinner because mama’s got a game to finish. What’s even more impressive about my obsessive need to complete the game (or, at least the basic levels. There are more that you can unlock for a little more cash,) was the fact that the PS3 version of the game kept freezing on me. Over. And over. And over. And yet I was still having enough fun to get up from my cozy perch on the sofa to reboot our wheezing last gen console so I could get just one more fix of charming, absurdist fun.
Now, if that’s not a recommendation, I don’t know what is.