Doki-Doki Universe is unlike any game I’ve played before. See, there’s no real objectives or goals other than exploration and understanding. There’s no sense of completion, but more a sense of humbleness. I’ll try to explain.
You play as QT3, a robot abandoned by his human family who has been collected by Alien Jeff and will be reprogrammed unless he can prove that he possess humanity. This is proven by visiting different planets and catering to the needs of their inhabitants. You do this by roaming the planets small surfaces, finding hidden presents, and then using these hidden presents to spawn items that the inhabitants request. For instance, there’s a snowman who’s cold so you spawn him a fireplace you found under a bush to warm him up.
You go round completing these tasks for people and then jet off to another planet to help them too. Whilst you do this, you’re collecting more and more objects that you can spawn in and, whenever you feel like it, you can travel back to your home planet and decorate it with your findings.
You can also unlock each citizen’s likes and dislikes by talking to them and their neighbors. Using this information, you can make them like or dislike QT3 respectively. “But why would you want them to dislike him?” I hear you say. Presents. Some of the hidden presents on the worlds are unlocked depending on how the characters feel about you or how you treat them.
As the aim of the game is to increase your humanity, you will frequently partake in psychological exams. These consist of you being given a situation or question such as “what does this scene look like?” and then you have to pick one of X answers. This then apparently tells you about yourself, but felt more like one of those questionnaires you’d find in teen magazines to tell you which boy band member you liked or which house you were sorted to in Hogwarts.
That’s about it really in terms of gameplay. You very much have to take the mindset of ‘story’ rather than ‘game’ when you dive into Doki-Doki Universe which I made the mistake of in the first few hours. It all got rather repetitive until I changed this mindset and just sort of let the game wash over me.
The art-style mirrors that of a child which adds quite a nice feeling to the game. It’s sort of like QT3 is very much a child at heart and you’re seeing the world through his eyes. This feeling runs over into the soundtrack too. The voices of all the characters are spoken in incredibly basic noises which reminded me a lot of the adults from Peanuts. This further concreted in my mind that QT3 was, indeed, a child at heart. The background music is similar to that of a children’s morning TV program. It’s bubbly and light and Christ, does it get repetitive quickly.
Overall, Doki-Doki Universe is a partially charming title and is fairly interesting at points, but gets repetitive quite quickly and resembles a teenage questionnaire a lot of the time. If you’re looking for something to pass the dry spell of game releases, you could pick it up, but I wouldn’t expect too much.
The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.
Doki-Doki Universe isn’t a game in the traditional sense and, whilst there’s some enjoyment to be had in it, the entertainment value was lacking.