Reviewed On: PlayStation Vita
Available For: PlayStation Vita
Publisher: GungHo Online Entertainment America
Developer: GungHo Online Entertainment America
Genre: Puzzle Platformer
Age: 7 (PEGI)
Price: £11.99 from the PSN
Release Date: January 30, 2013
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If Tim Burton were to create a platform puzzler for the PlayStation Vita, there's little doubt it would be just like Dokuro. It's gothic, dark and sinister, yet it has beauty in its creation and implementation.
Dokuro is a skeletal chap, a minion of a bone-filled army whose doesn't agree with the skeleton Dark Lord's choice to kidnap a princess and marry her against her will. In an act of defiance against his own leader, Dokuro frees the young lass, and thus begins their effort of escape.
Dokuro is all about guiding a princess through trap-riddled dungeons, and making sure she, the only colourful soul in this grim hotel for the dark-hearted is returned to safety. Sections are timed and the pressure's on to guide her through the perilous puzzles which await, stopping off at flowers to save the game before taking on the next cranium testing conundrum.
As much as Dokuro plays like a standard side-scrolling platformer, it's true challenge and original gameplay comes from the puzzles buried within. The Princess will walk forward, but can't jump or perform any fancy moves, whereas our petite skeletal hero can leap around as well as momentarily transform into his living former-self - a sword wielding prince.
Dokuro can carry the princess, but his moves are limited whilst doing so - he certainly can’t jump with her in his arms. This leads to a great deal of messing around, triggering switches, making ropes, and generally clearing the way of all dangers, be it huge spikes jutting from the ground, or an unprepossessingly hiddeous beastie.
At the end of each level comes what every decent level-based platformer should have - a boss battle. These can be challenging, and always require investigation work to find weak points. Careful controlling is often a necessity too, as these behemoths can bring on an unwanted premature death without breaking a sweat.
Graphically, it's as though things have been drawn with chalk on a blackboard. It's crude in parts, detailed in others. It's bizarre unique, and works perfectly. The only problem is that the scenery doesn't really change enough.
Use of the Vita's touchscreen and rear-touchpad play a large part in the control scheme. Not only can it be used for command for Dokuro, it can also be used to draw certain things on screen - for instance a rope.
All in all, it's every bit as entertaining and enticing as a Tim Burton movie - I could easily see Johnny Depp as Dokuro and Helena Bonham Carter as the princess.
SCORE: 7 / 10
PROS: Great art style - fit for a king of darkness.
CONS: Scenery doesn't really change enough.