If the years have taught us anything it’s that simple puzzle games work. Simple mechanics reinforced with a steadily increasing level of difficulty form an addicting and fulfilling experience that begs, possibly even demands, replay. DodoGo! Robo is very much a student of this school of game design and has such promise, but is let down by its narrow scope of puzzle solving options and the barriers this builds to your progression.
It’s less an issue with difficult than it is with logic. You must lay down objects on an environment full of hazards, so a robotic dodo egg can traverse the environment with ease and safely. The problem is that there is little scope to deviate from a set solution for each level, forcing you to discover the exact setup required to get your robotic egg to the safety of the finish line. It’s the same issue suffered by many adventure games, in that you must enter the same mindset of the developer to solve the problem.
This isn’t always so, however. The occasional level was passable with the use of a couple of different options, but this proved a rare thing. Fortunately this only presented a problem on a handful of the dozens of levels available. The rest put up a challenge, but figuring the solution out was fairly intuitive with a little trial and error and some lateral thinking, but when you were completely confounded it brought a sharp stop to your progress and shone a light on DodoGo! Robo’s other flaw – the inability to skip levels.
Getting the egg to the finish line isn’t your only concern, target icons are littered around the environment for you to collect on your way there. These are your currency for unlocking the new levels, and all targets are required in order to progress. This is the major problem because, whilst the targets are fun to collect, forcing you to get creative with the items you have at your disposal, the requirement to collect all of them leads to frustrating repeat plays of the same level as you rack your brain for the solution. It’s a real shame. As a way to measure the completion percentage of a level it’s great, but this is completely nullified.
When your progress is unhindered and you’re meeting the challenge each environment offers with steady realisation, DodoGo! Robo is excellent. Through the use of the many objects, ranging from disintegrating planks, springs and brushes to set the environment on fire, you’ll lose hours joyfully working out each level. You come away feeling downright clever at times, working out the precise placement for all your items to do their thing so to allow your egg passage at the exact right times – it’s very Mouse Trap in its design.
The inability to skip the frustrating levels is damaging and will force you out of the game’s considerable addictiveness, but when everything fits together and you and the title are on the same wavelength, prepare to lose many a day to these physic puzzles.
MLG Rating: 7/10
Platform: DSi Release Date: 25/03/2011
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of DodoGo! Robo for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on a DSi. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.