DoDoGo Challenge Review (DSiWare)

If survival's this tricky, no wonder Dodos are extinct!"

DoDoGo Challenge Review DSiWare
3rd January, 2011 By Ian Morris
Game Info // DoDoGo Challenge
DoDoGo Challenge Boxart
Publisher: Neko Entertainment
Developer: Alien After All
Players: 1
Subtitles: Full
Available On: DS
Genre: Puzzle

If anything, the main problem with DoDoGo Challenge is that it's almost too clever for its own good. As a puzzle game that tasks you with helping a number of Dodo eggs through a perilous, trap filled level, to the relative safety of their nest, DoDoGo Challenge is a huge test for your grey matter already - the problem is, there are so many different facets to it.

It'd be OK if they took longer to explain how things work, but, once you've found the tutorials, (which are hidden away under the bizarre category of "galleries" in the main menu), they're not too much help. Even though they number some 26 informative tutorials, explaining everything from how to move your eggs, to how to interact with dragons, they still don't even begin to touch on the intricacies of how the various in game objects interact with each other. That, it seems, is something you'll have to learn for yourself. 

DoDoGo Challenge Screenshot

No, we have no idea what you have to do here.

But although it's hard, and although you'll have to simply experiment for yourself to stumble your way through a lot of the levels, there's something incredibly appealing about DoDoGo Challenge. Maybe it's the masochistic side of our personality coming out, but we actually really like it. Because when you've figured out how to get your eggs safely from one end of the level to the other, and then when you've actually managed to make them do it, you'll feel like you should be putting the finishing touches to your application letter to Mensa. Basically, you start to feel like a genius.

And it's a concept that should be so simple. Starting with a number of Dodo eggs - you could have one, or anything up to five or six, scattered around the level, it's up to you to tell them where to go, and basically look after them as they try to get back to their nest. Along the way, there'll be bottomless cliffs, switches, gates, dinosaurs who're hungry for a raw yolk, fire, and worse, all waiting for your poor defenceless eggs to roll up to them, unsuspecting as they are. And, in a kind of parental way, it's up to you to look after them.

Luckily, you have some tools at your disposal, with a collection of level sculpting implements that would put Michaelangelo to shame. In fact, there are so many options at your hands, that it's hard to explain everything you can do. You can use a shovel to build bumps, or dig away at land, providing a handy ramp for an egg to use as a jump, or letting a boulder fall to block gaps below respectively. A brush can be used to either whip up a dust storm, which prevents dinosaurs or turtles from seeing, and can be used to encourage them to walk off a ledge, while using it on wood will set fire to it. Equally useful are the ropes, which can be used to tie two pulleys together, and either move obstructions out of the way, or create platforms. Springs are, if anything, the most straightforward of the lot, giving you the ability to jump from platform to platform if you embed them in the ground. But that's just the start of it.

DoDoGo Challenge Screenshot

Room for one more?

Then, there are the various elements of the levels that tie together to either make your life easier, or harder. If your egg rolls through a pit of flaming tar, he'll catch fire - and unless he finds some water, he'll shatter within a few seconds. Unless, of course, you find an unignited pit of tar, and roll your egg through that first. Doing that coats your egg in a layer of tar, which, when you roll him through the fire and flames, will ignite, taking the heat, so to speak, off the egg himself. Why would you want a flaming egg, you ask? Well, to burn things - roll up against a wooden plank that's block your way, and you'll set fire to it. Just make sure you don't roll into your nest like that, or you'll set fire to that, too - a quick trip through some water is required.

And then, there's switches. None of the levels are easy in DoDoGo, but some of the most fiendish are the ones involving switches. Switches can basically control anything in the level - whether it's removing a panel to let your eggs through; activating a fan, which'll blow your eggs around; or winding a rope to move some blocks, there's a cavalcade of things they do - and activating them, or deactivating them at the right time is crucial to your success. 

And that's where our other problem comes in. Other than the complexity of the game, our only other problem is with the controls, as it's actually rather hard to get your eggs to move. If you want your eggs to move left, you have to slide your stylus across your egg to the left. If you want it to stop, you slide your stylus in the opposite direction to

DoDoGo Challenge Screenshot

Without the turtle, you'd be stuck, pressed against the roof of the cave. Ride the turtle to avoid the fans. Ingenious.

which it's moving. It sounds fairly straightforward, but, for a game with so many potential pitfalls, it's very hit and miss - especially when you've got a large group of eggs together, or you want to stop them at a precise time. And when only one of them stops, while the other roll in the path of a boulder, it'll quickly become a frustration.

However, with over 100 levels on offer, for only 500 Nintendo Points (around £3 in real money), DoDoGo Challenge is incredible value for money. Or, at least, it would be, if you could actually get to half of the levels. With some sort of hint system in place, this would come a lot more highly recommended, but as it stands, if you ever get stuck, you're going to stay stuck until you figure it out, as there's nothing to point you in the right direction. Which is a shame, really, as it would have made a big difference to the game.

In the end, if you have the patience to stick with it, and don't give up that easily, DoDoGo Challenge could be a great game for you. It'll make you think, long and hard, and you'll probably find yourself figuring out the way to beat that level when you're lying in bed at 2 am, unable to sleep because of those damn eggs, rolling around inside your head. Depending on your stance, that could be a good thing or a bad thing - but with a few tweaks, DoDoGo Challenge could be something amazing.

Format Reviewed: Nintendo DS

StarStarStarStarEmpty star
Now we understand what the Dodos went through.
  • +
    Incredibly inventive gameplay.
  • +
    Makes you feel clever just playing.
  • +
    There seems to be multiple ways to do the levels.
  • -
    Awful controls.
  • -
    Stupid difficulty level.
  • -
    No hints if you get stuck.
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