Nintendo’s DSiWare store is in dire need of more heavy hitting titles with the potential to reinvigorate interest in what is fast becoming this generation’s most lacklustre digital distribution network. In honesty, Alien After All’s DodoGo! Robo is not such a title; the third release in a somewhat understated series, it is unlikely to garner much interest outside of the more committed DSi fanbase, but that’s not to say that it’s unworthy of your attention.
DodoGo! Robo does not require any previous experience with the series, and is extremely simple, allowing you to pick up and play. For those who are unfamiliar with the series’ eggy charms, DodoGo! Robo is a puzzle game built around the simple premise of guiding an egg safely across a 2D map in order to reach a finish line. Quite why you need to do so isn’t really important, as is the reason is why this instalment features a robotic egg and a robotic dodo. What is important is that the game’s masterfully simple premise houses some wonderfully crafted puzzle design.
Unlike previous instalments, DodoGo! Robo tasks you with looking after a single robotic egg, rather than multiple albumen-bearing ovum. In fact, the whole game is somewhat stripped down, featuring as it does only one play mode, no online leaderboards and very little in the way of cutscenes or narrative. Fortunately, this does not result in the game feeling too lightweight and, in fact, makes the proceedings feel more focussed, with very little padding to get in the way of your engagement with the game’s puzzles.
On paper, escorting your robo egg to safety should be relatively simple – using the stylus to implement a range of tools (including a spade, planks, saws and – curiously – a brush that starts fires), you must map out a path before hitting a ‘Play’ button and watching your little egg trundle through the level. In reality, however, the puzzling can be incredibly demanding, requiring you to pay close attention to the terrain, the timing of events and the position of your egg at any given moment. Adding to challenge are a number of targets that are strewen throughout each level, a set amount of which much be collected in order to progress. So, while your desired path may be obvious, getting everything in place correctly can be a case of trial and error as you attempt to meet the sometimes exacting requirements. Though this may sound a little frustrating, in practice finally perfecting the route is extremely rewarding.
Generally speaking we try not to dwell on the price of titles too much, but in the case of DodoGo! Robo it feels right to do so, as its 200 DSi Point (around £1.80) price tag makes it an absolute steal. There is plenty of game here to reward your investment, and the high production values give no hint that Alien After All have cut any corners in delivering the title.
While DodoGo! Robo may not do a great deal to expand on the ideas laid down by the original, it delivers a cheap, cheerful and challenging package that is more than worthy of a place on your DSi. It’s a prime example of a simple premise being taking to a satisfying and engaging conclusion, and stands head and shoulders above most of its 200 DSi Point brethren. Extinction would be a cruel fate for this particular Dodo.
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