Doki Doki Universe is a game I didn't know much about before playing it. I've no idea why, but it seems that this one passed me by. In this respect I wasn't really sure what to expect when loading it up, I could tell from the thumbnail that it was going to be quirky, but honestly I had no clue about what I was letting myself in for.
So what is Doki Doki exactly? Well, as I was soon to discover, the game tells the tale of a robot named QT3 who is coming to the end of his service. His human family abandoned him on a lonely planet and despite waiting roughly 32 years for them to return it seems as though they are not coming back. Soon after he discovers this less than satisfying news, the fates once again conspire against him and he learns that that, unless he travels the universe and finds out everything he can about humanity, then he'll become nothing more than a piece of scrap metal.
Hoping aboard a flying pig, which can somehow defy gravity and take him into space, QT3 travels around each planet in the Doki-Doki Universe in order to help out all manner of weirdos and aliens, solving their problems and therefore learning more about himself and the meaning of humanity along the way.
Each individual you meet will have likes, dislikes and issues to solve, all of which can be fulfilled by QT3, either by solving a puzzle or by using his powers to summon a specific object amongst the hundreds within his inventory. Generally specific items are not requested by the recipient, therefore you'll need to use the clues available in order to please them. This could include gifting them poop if they like smelly things, large robots if they like evil or even a rainbow if they like the sun.
There are all manner of items available to summon and the more problems you solve and planets you explore, the more you'll find. Finding the items generally involves making friends by summoning liked items or flattering someone, although there are many other presents hidden behind scenery, which are easily found by lifting up rocks and other obstacles using QT3's large robot arms.
It's not all about solving puzzles and pleasing strange aliens, as in between planets you can visit asteroids and take personality tests. The questions here puzzle you on all manner of scenarios using pictures, e.g which of the houses you prefer or which image would you rather see turned into a movie?Once you've completed these questions you'll then be given a psychological assessment, which gives great detail on the type of person you are based on your choices.
Taking these tests is important as a psychologist is awaiting QT3's return on the home planet to assess your answers to these questions. You can return to your planet at any time and reflect on your answers, by sitting on the psychologist's couch, which certainly adds a bit of quirky fun to proceedings as you delve into your own psyche.
Doki-Doki Universe's isn't a particularly challenging game. Anything you need is generally close by, be it a clue to the puzzle you are trying to solve or an item you need in order to fulfil the wish of one of the many planet inhabitants. What I like best about the game though is that it's so laid back. Even if you are in the middle of a challenge on one planet, you can just summon your flying pig and hop immediately off to another to take on a completely different challenge, leaving any unsolvable problems behind until you can get it clear in your head.
To me Sony has really got it spot on with games such as Doki Doki Universe. Once again you can purchase this title on PS Vita and it'll be free to download on both PS3 and PS4. This is fantastic as it allows you to play at home and on the go. Even better, you're save file goes with you thanks to cloud saving and PS Plus, meaning that no matter where you are, you can continue your game. I love this feature, it's fantastic.
Doki Doki Universe is a stylish, simple looking game, but it seems to sparkle on the Vita and the PS4, with crisp, colourful graphics and a quirky sense of humour. Sure it's a little basic in places, but it's a nice enough game to sit down and pass the time with and on occasion that's all you need.
Words by Joe Anderson.
@_wotta | PSN/Xbox LIVE: wotta
(Version Tested: PS Vita / PS4)
+ Simple to play
+ Pleasing to the eye
+ Quite laid back
+ Cross Play compatible
+ Cross Save compatible
- Not very challenging