Review: Doki-Doki Universe (PS4)

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Title: Doki-Doki Universe
Format: PlayStation Network Download (PS4) (1.08 GB)
Release Date: December 10, 2013
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: HumaNature Studios
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
Doki-Doki Universe is also available on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. It is a Cross-Buy title.
The PlayStation 4 version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

Doki-Doki Universe follows a robot named QT3 that is abandoned by his family and learns that his model number is going to be discontinued unless he is able to develop a better understanding of humanity. Guided by an alien named Jeff, QT3 sets out on a journey through the universe to gain this knowledge.

Gameplay:
This would likely fit in the point and click adventure genre since the gameplay revolves around talking to characters and finding objects those characters need. Unfortunately there is not much more to the game than that.

You travel from planet to planet with the goal of finding out more about what humanity means, so each planet has a theme and lesson for QT3 to learn. When on a planet you interact with its various inhabitants and help them solve their problems by finding them “Summonables.” which are objects that QT3 can spawn. These can be anything from a demon fighting robot to something as small as fish bones.

QT3 and Jeff

You find “summonables” two ways, either they are hidden around the world behind interactive objects or by talking to people on the planet and making them like you enough to give you a present. You can also anger them enough to the point they give you the present to leave them alone, but I only tried that once or twice as it was just easier to play nice.

You never have to go far or work too hard to find an object which is why I found the game to be a tad too easy. Luckily, the stories told on each planet are humorous and from time to time were super weird which helped make the repetitive gameplay easier to deal with.

Another aspect of the game is a series of personality tests that can be found throughout the universe. While traveling from planet to planet you will see various meteors that when interacted with start personality tests. I found these to be one of the more interesting parts of the game. The questions are fun and filled with humor and the results were surprisingly on the money for me. They really nailed my personality and I was intrigued by how they were reaching these conclusions.

Doki Screen Alien Question

Visuals:
The game has a wonderful and unique art style that can best be described as adorable. It is very simple in structure, but that only adds to its appeal. The art design has a childish aesthetic that has a sketched drawn look.  The characters models have a paper-like quality to them and look like they live in a pop-up book as they move around a 2D background that looks like something from a children’s book.

Audio: 
Much like the visuals, the audio is also very simple, but endearing with cutesy background music and voice acting limited to the most basic of audible sounds like grumbles and moans. It works well with the visuals of the game and just adds to its adorableness.

Online/Multiplayer: 
Doki-Doki Universe is a single player game with some in-game/Facebook messaging system. Basically you send messages to your friends that are made in the art style of the game.

Doki-Doki-Screenshot

Conclusion: 
While Doki-Doki Universe is an endearing game with a whimsical art style, it sadly suffers from simple and repetitive gameplay. The gameplay does hold this title back a little because it just does not have enough variety to it.  If you are looking for a something that has a lot of off the wall humor and some heart, Doki-Doki Universe can fill that role, but do not expect a deep gameplay experience.

My favorite parts of the game were the dialogue and personality tests, so if a game that mostly involves reading text and answering questions does not sound fun, you might not see the appeal here. It is a Cross-Buy title and while I played the game mostly on the PS4, I did dabble with the Vita version some and it played just like the PS4 version with only some technical issues here and there in the frame-rate department, nothing too bad just an occasional drop.

So overall Doki-Doki Universe is an entertaining experience that just suffers from lack of variety in gameplay. To be blunt, it is more experience than game.

Score:
6.5

* All screenshots used in this review were provided by the publisher.

Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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  • brianc6234

    I noticed they have a special version of this game for $24.99. It comes with extra stuff to do that won’t be available any other way. I wonder if their plan is to make a lot of different DLC to sell?

  • Keith Dunn

    Well, since there is so little on PS4 right now I tried the DEMO and fell in love with this game. Sometimes it’s a nice relief to play a simple game with adorable characters and uncomplicated mechanics. Characters who show you LOVE AND AFFECTION on their little meters. LOL I bought it. And the cross buy for PS3, PS4, and Vita is a great selling point. FOR ME anyway.
    It’s the kind of game that when you have it on your Vita and you’re at a family gathering you’d be thrilled to share with your nieces and nephews.
    I found it just lovely.
    I would never dispute a reviewers score!
    That said, a 6.5 from a reviewer is no death sentence! And as a hardcore gamer myself I do not disagree one bit with MJC’s score.
    We need to remember all that goes into the score! A 6.5 is good! Everything cannot b a 9.0!!! LOL!
    Great job, Michael!