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Boing! Docomodake DS Package Art
Ignition Entertainment
AQ Interactive

Boing! Docomodake DS

As the title and cover art suggest, Boing! Docomodake is a quirky Japanese phenomenon starring a family of walking, talking mushrooms. In the DS game, Papa shroom sets out on a mission to gather his scattered family, one member at a time.


The cute look of the game will appeal to younger players and the young at heart. While environments and sprites are colorful and lighthearted, overall they tend towards being generic and forgettable. Perhaps the most intriguing look is the layered, paper-cutout look used in many of the game's backgrounds. The game could have had more of a unique visual style had this fresh, different look been used more pervasively.


Like the visuals, sound effects are cute and fun, from the boing sound at the title screen to the little popping sound Minis make as they spawn. Each world has the same background music across all eight levels of the world. Because of this, it often gets repetitive during the time it takes to play through the world.


As mentioned earlier, players must guide Papa through a number of worlds to gather his family members back together. The beginning of each world starts with a short, humorous cutscene story of how the family member was lost, and ends with Papa finding them, plus a bit of insight on family dynamics and relationships. Levels are somewhat like mazes, peppered with puzzle mechanics that involve splitting and re-combining Papa.

Boing! Docomodake Screen 1Boing! Docomodake Screen 2

Players can separate Papa into many smaller Mini shrooms, the number of which increases along the way as additional Minis are found in certain treasure chests. Pressing a trigger button blasts a bunch of Minis out of Papa all at once, or players can use the stylus to manipulate one at a time. Papa grows and shrinks according to how many Minis are within or apart from him. While smaller he can squeeze through small spaces, while larger he can push heavy blocks. The Minis can be used for a wide variety of purposes from activating switches to weighing down scale platforms, and from creating a ladder to acting as ammo to intercept flying enemies.

Like Sonic the Hedgehog and gold rings, Papa loses Minis when hurt. If he runs too low on Minis, he can get stuck at a puzzle, and if he runs out, he'll die. Ghosts of "fainted" Minis follow Papa around until they can be restored at angel-statue bells at various points within levels. However, to ring the bell requires at least one thrown Mini. To avoid getting stuck, players can view the entire stage and plan ahead to some extent. The controls take some getting used to, but eventually players will find themselves simultaneously controlling Papa with buttons while moving a Mini with the stylus.

In general, all the puzzle elements could stand to be pushed more to their maximum potential. Fore example, one puzzle has a "picture switch" which, depending on the direction of the arrow picture made by Minis, a corresponding door will open (and will only remain open if the Minis stay there). Unfortunately, not nearly enough puzzle elements have been pushed to their conceptual limit in this way. For example, what if tall ladders of Minis had to realistically be balanced to be sturdy? A few of the switches require constant weight, but most are of the one-shot kind, allowing players to keep all their Minis at hand. Safe, easy, and tending towards boring.

Boing! Docomodake Screen 3Boing! Docomodake Screen 4

Many reviewers have complained that the game is too short. But the problem isn't so much in length, it's in how the content is distributed. Most of the challenge lies in the last quarter or so of the game, producing something of an exponential difficulty curve. Because of this, much of the early game feels like an extended tutorial. It would have been nice if some new puzzle mechanics were saved for later in the game, or if some of the more challenging puzzles were distributed across more of the middle levels. Instead, challenge is largely concentrated near the end.

The more difficult, later worlds could be viewed as replay value for players who are challenged by the easier, early worlds. Apart from this, replay value lies in collecting the coins in each level and trying to get a good ranking for levels. Collected coins can be spent to unlock game music and story cutscenes. There aren't a finite number of coins in the game; players can go back through levels multiple times to keep racking up coins.


The DS Download play featured on the box means that a demo of the game can be shared wirelessly with another DS. There isn't an actual multiplayer mode.


Boing! Docomodake combines puzzles and platforming in a unique, refreshing way, though its use of DS features might have been more novel had it arrived earlier on in the DS's lifespan. At times it nears greatness but never fully makes the leap. While enjoyable for awhile, the nature of the difficulty curve will invariably frustrate seasoned players sooner and younger players later.

final score 7.0/10

Staff Avatar Paul Starke
Staff Profile | Email
"In Japan this was named a 'trouble bug.' (...Is it really a bug?)"

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