Boing! Docomodake

Boing! Docomodake

Boing! Docomodake

Breaking the mould.

Unbeknownst to me until I was a great deal of my way through the game, Papa Docomodake, the paternal protagonist at the forefront of Boing! Docomodake, is a marketing tool for Japanese mobile operator Docomo. This is upsetting because had I known beforehand that this was a cynical merchandising tie-in, I would have been unlikely to show it the same attention, coloured as I am by a history of ill-informed and cynical student politics.

Boing! is a puzzle game in which problems are solved via the production of 'minis', tiny carbon-copies of the player-controlled mushroom Papa, which can be picked up with the stylus and dragged around the screen to perform various tasks. Tapping Papa releases a single mini, while the shoulder button peels off four. They can be stacked to make ladders, dragged onto platforms to weigh them down, popped into the outlines of blocks to form platforms, dropped onto other tiny mushroom switches to activate them, or rolled into balls to be hurled at the game's relatively sweet-natured enemies. Each mini that you produce also reduces the strength and weight of Papa, which is either advantageous or detrimental according to the situation.

Initially, the slimline Papa can only produce a few of these offspring, but by the end of the game he'll be sporting a possible 15. The minis can be dragged freely around the level, as long as they don't pass through any solid surfaces, and are quickly recalled to the father-lode via a quick double-tap on the open palm above Papa's head. Any damage done to Papa results in one of the minis becoming 'exhausted' and 'fainting', floating above their dad's head in a transparent, spectral fashion. Once Papa is down to zero minis, either because they're elsewhere or all exhausted, the next hit means game over. However, if you make it to the exit before all of your single-parent children are exhausted, you'll be promoted to the next level with all the minis restored.

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