DodoGo! Robo Review

By Shawn Collier on June 18, 2011

When one thinks of titles on Nintendo's DSiWare service, one will generally think of low-priced shovelware titles like the multitude of calculator apps or high-priced gems such as Dairojo! Samurai Defenders. Alien After All's latest DSiWare title, DodoGo! Robo, is a spin-off of their previous DodoGo! title, but it takes the special stages present in that title and makes a full downloadable game out of them. With Robo's much smaller 200 Nintendo Point price point (compared to the original's 800), is this just another cheap release or does the title have all the charm and ingenuity that so many people enjoyed from the original?

The story for Robo is a bit on the wild and wacky side, to say the least. All of the dodos in the game's world are extinct, but one robotic version of the species wants to change that by traveling through time and showing his ancestors how to properly survive so history can be rewritten and their species can be saved. While the story doesn't matter that much outside of the beginning of the game, it is a nice way to show that the developers aren't taking this exceptionally zany story motive seriously and are having some fun with the premise. Furthermore, adding more weight to the story would detract from the solid gameplay, which is the real focus of the game.

The core goal for each of Robo's 50-plus stages is to let your dodo get to the "finish line" goal posts found at the far right-hand area of the stage. Of course, things will be boring without some form of danger present, so each stage features a number of ways to eliminate the dodo's last remaining hope as it moves automatically towards its goal. This can range from falling off cliffs to burning alive and even falling too high off a ledge. It wouldn't be fair not having a way to stop these fates from inflicting the dodo, so the game gives players a variety of tools that can be used to remove obstructions in the dodo's path.

This is done in the game's editing mode, in which the dodo is stationary and all of the environmental dangers are temporarily paused. The tools include one-time wooden planks (which break apart once the dodo walks on top of them), springs and saws (to cut out wooden blocks as well as to cut ropes which hold blocks that can act as platforms), just to name a few. Unlike some other DSiWare titles puzzle titles, Robo gives access to these tools on a stage-by-stage basis only when needed and adds new tools gradually, usually in a stage that features only that item and isn't too difficult to pass. However, when multiple tools are added to the mix, there is a small problem that manifests itself.

Puzzle games are notorious due to their design for having a set way to solve their puzzles, usually one specific way in most instances. Games in this genre also tend to unlock levels based on how many copies of a specific item are collected "“ in Robo's case, crash test dummy-colored circles. The problem with Robo's implementation is that for almost all of the stages players are required to pick up almost every one of those circles to progress to the next level. Robo does not give out any hints if a level is lost and players can't speed up the dodo's movement as he progresses through the level, so those who get stuck because they can't figure out the exact steps the developers intended will get frustrated quickly "“ especially on the longer stages. Thankfully these levels are few and far between, but some levels, such as one very early on in the game requires a technique that is only shown to the player later on in the game, it's quite annoying and will get many players stuck until they just happen to figure out how to take advantage of the game's physics engine.

Final Thoughts

While DodoGo! Robo does have it issues, the quality and sheer length of the game at its 200 point price is a welcome fleshed-out companion to players of Alien After All's prior DodoGo! downloadable title and will satisfy newcomers to the series, giving them a less complicated "sneak peak" at what lies in store in the developer's more pricier entry before they fully invest in the series. All in all, it's great to see a properly fleshed-out title on Nintendo's DSiWare service and those with access to it are missing out if they don't give it a try.

Most of the puzzles have a nice balance without being too hard or easy.
The art style is charming and the music doesn't get on your nerves.
Lots of value for a cheaper-priced DSiWare title.
Some of the stages can annoy players due to their lack of direction.
Point system is unnecessary since you need to collect almost all of them to progress.
The game really could have used a hint system of some sort.
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