Initially a game on the ill-fated 64DD add-on, Doshin the Giant puts you in control of the titular yellow fellow, and charges you with the care of an island of tribesmen and women. How you care for them is left entirely up to you.
As a friendly sort of god, Doshin is capable of gently raising and lowering land to enable his subjects to live more comfortable, as well as plant trees to provide them with the green energy that makes all things possible. If you're nice to them, your villagers begin to praise you, and their love enables you to grow taller and stronger, making it easier to flatten land or protect them from fires and hurricanes. It's actually quite refreshing to be able to care for your little fellowers an be an active part in their development, as opposed to a distant onlooker, though that's really down to the player's style.
Life on the island isn't all hugs and love though. With the push of a trigger you become Jashin the Hate Giant, an altogether more destructive and terrifying creature capable of fireballs and demolition on an awesome scale. Villagers react in fear, increasing your power and making trampling their homes easier and therefore all the more satisfying. Jashin does have advantages - he's faster and can jump much further, but you'll usually turn to him when your subjects need teaching a lesson.
This good and evil mechanic may seem similar to Lionhead's Black and White, but its Nintendo twist is clear throughout, particularly in the way you control Doshin directly, rather than issuing him commands or gestures. The striking manual art, charming - though simple - visuals and the joy of interacting in a positive way with villagers, cuddling and protecting them from harm, all contribute to a specifically Nintendo approach to the god game. There are no other giants to battle, just a simple cycle of flattening land, gathering trees and mixing tribesmen to see the wide range of cultures and monuments.
This lack of variety is probably the game's biggest flaw. Each cycle of day and night requires you to repeat the same tasks, and although the cultural development and occasional disaster do keep your interest, the overall pace of the game can tend to be a little on the slow side. Graphically it's disappointing even for a first generation Gamecube game, particularly when compared to the Rebirth tech demo, though this can be traced back to its 64DD roots. Still, the pointy-eared citizens do have a certain charm, and Doshin himself is a loveable creation in a dopey, cartoon kind of way.
Doshin the Giant is a unique and rewarding experience that slowly reveals its qualities over time. It's a charming and even soothing game - particularly when Jashin goes a-smashing - that offers something different even years after its release. Sadly it was never released in America, but if you can play European Gamecube games it's well worth picking up as an example of how the Nintendo approach stretches as far as the god game.