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DodoGo! Robo - DSiWare Review

Game Info
DodoGo! Robo

DS | 
Neko Entertainment / Alien After All
 | 1 Player | Out Now | 200 Nintendo Points
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Review
28th May 2011; By KnucklesSonic8

In a clever move, Alien After All decided to take one aspect of their excellent DSiWare puzzler and flesh it out into a spin-off title. Using the robotic crash test dummy that appeared in the original game and its successor, DodoGo! Robo stars the same character in a new departure. The game is filled with new level layouts that make what was once just a bonus level into a contender of its own for the 200-Point category. Even if you've already played the other two games, there's enough fun-filled puzzle-based content to be worth the low price tag.

    If you're expecting the same elderly Dodo bird to greet you at the beginning, you'll be in for a surprise. That same character now has a robotic skin in keeping with the premise of the game. Instead of controlling a series of DodoGo! eggs and attending to their emotional needs, you'll be shifting focus to a single robotic egg named D-800, who shows no feelings at all. But if you're not into the whole lovey-dovey stuff from the original game, you likely won't mind that.

    The game is simple enough to understand. Guide the robotic dodo egg to the finish line at the end of the stage without having him crushed, burnt, or otherwise killed. Players principally make use of the stylus throughout the entire experience to affect the egg's direction of travel, but the +Control Pad can also be used for camera control. Simply completing a level will be enough for a pass, but to fully complete a level, you'll need to gather all the targets scattered about. Bronze, silver and gold medals will be awarded to the player depending on how many pick-ups can be obtained. 

    Most of the targets aren't difficult to acquire if you're just trudging along the normal pathway. Plus, the way some of them are arranged gives you a big clue as to which tool you need to use a given area. For example, if you see targets floating in the shape of an arc, you know a spring needs to be used in that general area. But usually there will be a small number of trickier ones where you'll need to think more about where and how to interact with the stage. It's important that you try to get them all though, because you won't be allowed to advance to certain levels until you collect all the targets in the levels before it. This is something that's done early on and while it did serve its purpose, I wasn't too happy about the way I was forced to perfect earlier levels when it was still very early in the game. 

    
At your disposal is a "Toolz Menu" which contains simple gadgets that allow you to interact with the different environments. For example, shovels can be used to dig underneath the ground or use that same terrain to create ramps. Almost all of these just require a simple swipe of the stylus to use so it's really user-friendly (even more so than in the other games now that you have fewer elements to consider). And just like in the other games, new gadgets are introduced gradually and the puzzle solutions do reflect this in the way they also progress for the better.

    The catch is that you can't work things out as you go along. All the actions must be done beforehand. Once you're ready, you just hit the Play button and hope that the robo-dodo makes it through the different obstacles alive. This is a different approach from the normal stages seen in games prior in the way you tackle them. Plus, since the focus has shifted from rescuing to survival, this brings along with it a whole different mindset as you play the game. 

    As far as the puzzles go, they're all laid out in a great fashion. There's a good mix of easier stages and difficult stages, so in that sense, it does a good job of easing in players of different age groups. I found DodoGo! Robo borrowed more from DodoGo! Challenge than it did from the original game in the sense that you had to go about solutions in a more methodical manner. But due to the reduced number of variables to consider, I wouldn't say it necessarily reaches the same level of challenge. I also noticed that there was some uneven difficulty in the levels I experienced which, in actuality, hindered those goals of accessibility I just made mention of. 

    On a more positive note, though, I appreciated the way the game didn't make you do more work than what was necessary. If you didn't collect all of the targets in a level and decided to try again, the game didn't force you to put in all your Toolz again. Everything remained in the position you left it in. Despite the fact that DodoGo! Robo is less of a high-spirited experience, the game still manages to carry a similar degree of charm. Furthermore, I was pleased to see that the developers tried to keep the appeal close to the other DodoGo! releases without skimping out on the same level of challenge that made both games so great. I'm not saying you'll experience the same feelings with this game, but you definitely won't feel like the game has been dumbed down in any sense.

    
With respect to presentation, even if the environments aren't as varied, the visuals are just as pleasing as they were in previous games -- only now you have a less-lively robotic theme going on. This overall theme is also seen in the music where the original DodoGo! theme song now carries a catchy retro vibe. The only other thing with the audio to talk about is the stage music. I didn't like the fact that this tune was always the same, especially since the ambience wasn't that great of a listen to begin with. From a technical standpoint, I thought the Play function could have used some work. There were times when I'd press the button and after pressing a button on the +Control Pad, the robo-dodo would just freeze in place for some reason. But other than that, I'd say they did a good job. 

    In total, there are over 30 stages to clear, which is a good amount for the price this game is set at. To say the game will last you hours isn't exactly inaccurate. However, you shouldn't expect to the same amount of longevity out of Robo as you might have with the other DodoGo! releases. Provided that you play through this game in short sessions, you'll likely find much enjoyment and value out it.

    DodoGo! Robo works very well as a 200-Point release given its origins. It carries much of what made the preceding games so successful but it also has its own feel in the approach players will take to work out each puzzle. If you love puzzle games, this is a great complement to the other quality titles Alien After All has developed for this platform, especially for a mere $2.


23/30 - Very Good

Gameplay 8/10 - Accessible controls, 'Toolz' allow you to interact with the environment, new items gradually introduced, all actions must be done first
Presentation 7/10 - Pleasing visuals yet again, lots of charm, DodoGo! theme now with a new vibe, stage music remains the same, minor technical flaws
Enjoyment 4/5 - Methodical approach to solving puzzles, moderately challenging, uneven difficulty, forces you to perfect earlier levels before moving on
Extra Content 4/5 - Good number of puzzle layouts, will last you a while but not quite as long as past titles, great value for only 200 Points

Equivalent to a score of 77% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by KnucklesSonic8
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