After the hysterical comic book cutscene that the game’s opening starts out with is finished, it’s time to get to work – you’ve got a princess (who can’t see you) to save. Thankfully, she’s a smart lass and she always moves forward in each level on her own, but she is a princess and she’s not going to take one step up or down in height without a man’s hand to guide her.
So, our little peon double jumps around the levels, dodging treacherous contraction of evil, to flip levers and switches to make sure that the princess always has safe, level passage. That is, until he comes across a mysterious potion that temporarily transforms him into a dashing prince, who can sweep the princess up in his arms to whisk her off to, as well as other knightly things, like staving off baddies with his sword.
This does a great job of keeping things straightforward, without becoming overly aggravating. That’s not to say they’re easy though, as this is indeed a very difficult game. Some of the toughest puzzles can take ten minutes (or more) of pushing and pulling crates and barrels around, manoeuvring platforms, etc. and one single mishap will send you right back to the start of the puzzle. Just when you think you’re about to call it quits though, you finally figure it out and the next section offers up something wildly different, like holding the princess in your arms while blazing down a moving floor dodging crushing spikes from above, or fighting off one of the awesome bosses, which are puzzle/ platforming battle that have to be witnessed to be understood – much like a child’s candy pale, Dokuro always finds a way to keep you wanting more.
If everything above hasn’t already let you in that Dokuro is indeed a fine Vita title, I’ve saved the best for last. Dokuro’s visuals could be crafted by the hand of Tim Burton himself. Using a chalk/charcoal style, the gritty visuals set the game’s atmosphere perfectly.
Animations are intentionally minimalistic to add to the characters’ whit and the puzzles’ playfields are simply designed. But all of this contrasts perfectly off of the highly detailed backgrounds that feature swirling clouds and spinning windmills, among other eerie and haunting things. It creates a wonderful visual aesthetic that’s only amplified by the creepy piano/orchestral ensemble. It’s not all dark and gloomy though, seeing how the princess’s shimmering gold dress is delightful to behold and when the little peon turns into the prince, those dark backgrounds’ start glowing with brilliant colours. It’s a stark transition, that’s almost poetic in motion and moulds the entire Dokuro package together brilliantly.
– Chris I