Every game has its henchmen, the nameless, faceless minions that follow the main enemy. But what happens when one rebels, finding something better to fight for. Enter Dokuro, the little skeleton that abandoned his job for love. When his boss, the Dark Lord brings back a captured Princess, Dokuro falls head over heels and takes it upon himself to get her to safety. There’s just one problem: as a skeleton, the Princess can’t see him. So he has to find other ways to guide her through the complex puzzles that make up the Dark Lord’s castle.
The game’s concept is simple: safely guide the Princess from one level to the next. The Princess will always walk straight forward, stopping only at objects blocking her way or at gaps in her path. She does have some sense of self-preservation, as enemies will scare her and cause her to turn around. The Princess’s movements are often the reason that Dokuro requires a good sense of timing to play. It may take a few tries to not only solve the puzzle, but to get the timing down just right.
Dokuro has the ability to manipulate various objects in each level. He can slide around boxes, turn switches, press down trigger buttons, and turn cranks. But there’s a lot more to the little guy, as he collects two extra tools. One is chalk, which is used through the touchscreen to repair items in the levels. The other is a potion acquired by Dokuro that allows him to become a Hero. As the Hero, Dokuro can be seen by the Princess, he can pick her up to move her past obstacles that she wouldn’t dare go down, and he can permanently defeat enemies (in his skeleton form, Dokuro can only temporarily keep them at bay.)
The puzzles are at the heart of the game, and the difficulty ramps up quickly. Be prepared for a lot of head-scratchers, though the game does allow you 10 skips to use at your discretion. Even with the skips, some levels require perfect timing and a bit of luck in getting them completed.
For a game whose lead character is a skeleton, and is set in the castle of a Dark Lord, there is a lot to be said about how cute this game looks. Though there are a lot of dark colors, the game uses a chalkboard art style that is whimsical and fun. When a character dies, friend or foe, they go out in a puff of chalk dust. Its these little touches that seem to make the game that much more enjoyable to play.
There’s nothing really special to be said about the game’s music or audio. Each character has their own little noises they make, and even Dokuro and the Hero have their own distinct sound. The soundtrack is nothing spectacular, just keeps some background noise going while you think your way through the next puzzle.
Dokuro puts a solid story behind some mindbending puzzles.For trophy hunters out there, there is a Platinum trophy to chase. The game will win you over with its charm and heart, and its a must have for any puzzle lover.
Publisher: GungHo Entertainment Developer: Game Arts
Release Date: US- October 16, 2012, EU- January 30, 2013
Platforms: PS Vita Digital: Yes
Game Cost: 19.99 USD/14.99 EUR ESRB Rating: E10+
Players: Single Player Only
Online Pass: No