Doki-Doki Universe Review
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Doki-Doki Universe is a cute and interesting timesink, but some uninspiring stories and mechanic issues keep the game from shining and replayability low.
- Creative, consistent design
- Likeable characters
- Interesting overarching story
- Frustrating gameplay mechanics
- Monotony with progression
- Small stories aren't engaging
Though it has little effect on the game, QT3’s actions will make a character like him more or less. For instance, gamers can use controls (right analog stick on PS4 and PS3, rear touchpad on Vita) to gesture to characters. The right gesture will make a character like him more. Summoning an item that a character likes or dislikes will also alter QT3’s relationship with that character. The ‘summonable’ items can be misleading, though. One character requested that QT3 summon something magical. I had him summon a rainbow, which had been described as magical by someone else, and the character became upset, declaring that pretty things made him sick.
There is also a chance that whatever you summon to appease a character can “Backfire” and something completely different will be summoned instead. Sometimes this works out and the character is happy—or angry—but more often than not this serves no purpose except to waste time and try your patience, or, worse, set you back in your relationship with that character.
Meanwhile, QT3 is able to pick up and throw almost anything—even himself. Other characters respond to being flung about the planet with either fear and anger or total glee. HumaNature tries to put this to gameplay use. A totem pole on ‘Brrr’ asks QT3 to throw him so that he will land next to a specific character. Fling him as hard as you can, and he will soar far past the target. Lower the range just a little bit and he flops pathetically to the floor and skids a little way, cheering all the while about how much fun he’s having. Finally, I got him to land right on top of the character. That character did absolutely nothing except chase after a dog I had given her earlier in the game. This had me literally shaking my controller in frustration, which caused QT3 to Rumble the world around him, and a few characters to dislike me a little more (except one, who thought it was the most incredible thing EVER).
Doki-Doki Universe’s likeable characters and charming hand-drawn worlds can be entertaining in a pinch and provide a nice break from reality. The way QT3’s relationships affect his understanding is nicely done. Even so, the stories are cute, but uninspiring. Planets go by quickly, and each one’s to-do list is the same. Add poorly executed gameplay mechanics, and the result is that gamers may quickly become bored or frustrated and need a break. This is not the kind of game with a single continuous story that you sit for hours and really play, but it's nice for something to do when you're in the right mood for it. Cross-Buy and Cross-Save across PS4, PS3, and PS Vita is an added incentive.
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