DoDoGo! Robo Review

Evolve with me

DoDoGo Robo Review
12th May, 2011 By Ian Morris
Game Info // DoDoGo Robo
DoDoGo Robo Boxart
Publisher: Neko Entertainment
Developer: Alien After All
Players: 1
Available On: DS
Genre: Puzzle

There's nothing more frustrating than when a company don't listen to you. It's often been said that the best way to learn is by making mistakes, but so many companies simply don't, instead choosing to carry on down their chosen path towards disaster, their heads held high in the air, convinced that they were right all along. The only difference is, with DoDoGo, developers Alien After All have done almost the exact opposite, by listening to their fans, and their critics, to create a sequel that gets almost everything right - and then makes some new mistakes.

DoDoGo Robo Screenshot

Robo-egg, Robo-egg, does whatever a Robo-egg does.

Cast your mind back to January, when we were just settling down to review DoDoGo Challenge, the precursor to DoDoGo Robo. A competent, and incredibly challenging puzzler, the main problems we had with the game were the control scheme, and the lack of any hints on the levels. While the latter still remains a problem (and is now practically the game's only flaw), the former's been well and truly fixed for DoDoGo Robo, with the introduction of a new character, and the star of this game - the Robo-egg.

Now, rather than controlling three or four emotional, awkward eggs, and trying to get them to move or stop by sliding your stylus over them, as you had to do in the first game, your job's been made a lot easier thanks to the Robo-egg. Press play at the start of the level, and your Robo-egg will move himself. You can't stop him, or change his direction, as he hops and bounces on his relentless, and mindless march. Faced with a maze-like level, full of traps, obstacles, switches and gaps, it's up to you to make use of a limited selection of tools to plot a safe course through the level, in order to help the poor Robo-egg back to his nest. Unfortunately for you, that's a lot trickier than it sounds.

DoDoGo Robo Screenshot

You want to go this way, but you want to avoid the switches. Simple solution - build a bridge over them. Also not the extended lip at the edge of the cliff - they'll have used a shovel for that.

Before you press play, you're free to edit the level as you like, albeit with a limited number of limited use tools at your disposal. From a shovel that lets you dig ramps, fill holes, or extend platforms with dirt, to a saw that lets you slice through rope, or cut a square out of a wooden block, which then can then be used to float on water, or, if it's on fire, may set fire to something else as it falls, every tool you have serves multiple purposes, which always makes it tricky to tell exactly how you're meant to use them in the level. Things are rarely ever telegraphed - it's up to you to figure it out how, and where you should use each item, and when it all comes together, you'll feel like filling the application out for Mensa, or possibly applying for a Nobel prize.

The levels are all incredibly cleverly designed, as although they certainly hint at a specific way to accomplish them, there are still plenty of times where we've ended up with tools left over, which suggests each level has multiple solutions. A lot of the work that goes into figuring out what you need to do is still trial and error, as it's often next to impossible to see exactly how things are going to work, but you can still at least make an intelligent guess. Particularly difficult to predict are the fans that blow wind through the level, and can carry your egg away on a stream of air, which can then be redirected using blocks, or ramps made out of dirt, while fire plays a more important role than ever. Using the brush, you can set fire to wood, and, with fire being as volatile as it is, it's often tricky to tell exactly how quickly the wood's going to burn, or even what it's going to burn, and often, you'll find ropes catching fire that you didn't expect to, which inevitably causes chaos somewhere else. Everything in the level seems to be connected, so you're playing a giant game of mouse trap, and one wrong move - or one piece of wood set fire to in the wrong place - will end up burning a hole through the level and setting off a series of events that'll destroy your poor egg, or nest.

DoDoGo Robo Screenshot

We did this level, but ours looked completely different to this at the end. Just goes to show, you can solve the levels however you want.

An extra level of difficulty has been added (as if the game really needed it) for DoDoGo Robo, too, in the form of the collectible tokens that now adorn each world. Effectively suggesting a path you could take through the level, the tokens are only hints up to a point, as they're often scattered in so many different parts of the map, it's impossible to tell which ones you're meant to head to first. The problem is that this adds an extra requirement onto each level, as far from simply having to reach the exit, you now have to get every token too, in order to unlock the next tier of levels, which seems somewhat unfair.

If there's one thing that really hasn't changed for DoDoGo Robo, though, it's the notorious difficulty level, which will still have your brain dribbling out of your ear in a pile of mushy goo after the first few levels. It's so difficult, we actually got stuck on the tutorial, and it took us a morning and a half to eventually figure out what we had to do. It's because of the difficulty that we initially suggested a hint system would be useful, that shows you what to do in increasingly obvious ways, kind of like Professor Layton lets you do using the hint coins, but, sadly, you're still on your own here. That said, while the game's tricky, it's certainly not impossible, as everything can be figured out if you just apply your brain to it - you may just have to sleep on it, from time to time.

But whether you can finish it or not, for the absolute bargain price of 200 Nintendo points, or less than £2, DoDoGo Robo simply has to be worth a try. A phenomenally intelligent puzzle game that'll make you feel like a genius when you finish even a single level, the tiny price point even goes some way to making it a lot more tempting for the less masochistic amongst us, as even if you only manage to complete a few levels, you won't have lost that much money - and the feeling you get when you finish a level's probably worth the asking price alone. As Alien After All have proven they listen, we do have a few suggestions for their next game. A hint, or skip level feature would be much appreciated, along with the removal of the reliance on collecting tokens to unlock levels, please. Make it a bonus, not a requirement, and you'll be onto a classic here.

Format Reviewed: Nintendo DS

StarStarStarStarEmpty star
Bargain price for a brilliant game.
  • +
    Great value for money
  • +
    Same multi-faceted puzzles
  • +
    Logic triumphs over random item placement
  • -
    Still no hints
  • -
    Occasionally obscure puzzles
  • -
    Reliance on collecting EVERY token is frustrating.
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