It’s time for… “Escort Mission: The Game! Will Senpai-Hime Ever Notice Me? The Tiniest Skeleton Joins the Brawl!” Kind of a long title, so perhaps we’ll just have to settle for Dokuro instead.
Once upon a time, the Dark Overlord captured the princess, but Tiniest Skeleton Dokuro took pity on her and freed her. For whatever reason the princess can’t see Dokuro. She also tends to walk straight into spiked floors! She’s kind of an idiot. Your mission is to guide her through every part of the Dark Overlord Tower, which includes a rather alarming number of puzzles to work through. The Dark Overlord doesn’t mess around, and you’re going to have to push around an ass-ton of giant boxes in order to get the princess out safely.
The game is cute and charming. I like the little chalkboard aesthetics it’s going for, and the “luck ‘o the Irish” type music they work with. As for actually playing the game though… Well, I was generally ambivalent at best, frustrated at worst.
Now, puzzle games. How hard should they be? If the puzzles are really easy to figure out, that’s no fun. But if there’s too many difficulty spikes, or too many puzzles that challenge you in dumb ways rather than smart ones, then that’s not so fun either. I’m not sure which situation I’d prefer–for the former I’ll be through the game more quickly and perhaps might enjoy other aspects of the game to make up for it, but for the latter I typically just don’t feel like playing anymore.
There are a ton of levels in this game, and at first I was enjoying them okay. But after a while, I just stopped caring! I would spend a long time on some puzzles, and once I finally worked out all the specific ways I needed to set everything up and time everything just right… I was done. No big “ah-ha!” moment that made it all feel worthwhile–at least not very often. I want to feel like I’m smart, damn it! Not that I’m great at moving crates around. If I wanted that, I’d be going through another Shenmue playthrough!
But hey, if you like puzzle platformers at all, you might still want to give Dokuro a fair shake. It’s only three bucks on PSN, and the combination of button and touch controls makes it a nice fit for the Vita. It’s also available on Steam and on phones, if those float you boat.
FUN FACT: I am almost 98% sure that Dokuro is, in fact, a dead Donald Duck. My main reason for this is the sound Dokuro makes whenever he dies–it’s straight-up Dolan.