Crash-Course Domo Review
Posted by Corbie Dillard
Sometimes less is more, and sometimes less is less
When you have mini-games like the Domo releases that are so simple in design and execution, it's difficult to review them as separate entities. Crash-Course Domo is basically a bicycle racing game that's extremely basic and easy to pick up, but features very little depth as a stand-alone title. That's not to say that it's a bad game, it's just not much of a game at all. But even at a paltry 200 Nintendo Points, is this little more than a glorified mini-game really worth your time and money?
The gameplay itself in Crash-Course Domo is quite simple. You take control of Domo and you must help him ride his bicycle through various courses laid out before you. Your goal is to cross the finish line first in each of the races; along the way you'll be able to pick up coins that can be used to open up future game modes for you to play. You're awarded varying numbers of points depending on what place you finish each race in, ultimately shooting for a win in the overall points standings. While the gameplay itself is quite simple, getting first place isn't.
Controlling Domo is fairly easy. You can move Domo up and down through the various lanes of the track by using the DSi D-pad. You hold down the "A" button to accelerate and use the "B" button to brake. While all of the cyclists tend to feature the same speed advantages, you can get a speed boost by riding in close behind another cyclist and then pulling off to the side at just the last second. Of course you'll also have to deal with certain challenges throughout each track that include everything from steep hills to patches of dirt on the track. These things can slow you down and cause you to lose valuable time and position in each race. There's also the matter of running into other cyclists, which not only causes you to crash the majority of the time, but can also get you disqualified from the race if you're not careful.
There are basically three game modes in Crash-Course Domo. Normal Tour is where you begin the game, and this offers you a chance to get to grips with how the game is played. You can compete in races on all six of the game's courses, but the hazards aren't as widespread and the competition isn't quite as tough as the next game mode. Hard Tour is where the game really picks up intensity and the challenges on each course are much greater: beating this mode is quite tough, but necessary if you have any hopes of unlocking the final mode of play. The final game mode is Time Attack and allows you the opportunity to race on any of the game's courses in a time trial type race. It's probably the least enjoyable of the game's modes, but is still a nice alternative for after you've completed the two tour modes.
The play control itself is plenty responsive and even with the basic controls, there's still some semblance of strategy involved in winning the races. The only downside is that since the different courses aren't randomly generated, once you've memorized the six short courses, there's little else to tackle in the game. This is what tends to bring the game's replay value way down in the end. Still the game is fun while it lasts and probably worthy of the 200 Nintendo Points for those who enjoy this type of game.
The gameplay aspects of Crash-Course Domo might be a bit on the simplistic side, but one area where the game doesn't hold back is the visuals. The backdrops you'll see while riding on the various courses are extremely detailed and silky smooth in the way they scroll along as you ride. The courses themselves are adequately drawn, but next to the amazing backdrops, they tend to pale in comparison and sometimes feel a bit out of place. You certainly wouldn't expect this type of visual quality from a DSiWare title only costing 200 Nintendo Points, that's for certain.
When it comes to the musical presentation of the game, you're going to become very familiar with it from the get-go. There's just not much in the way of variety in the musical tracks, so if you spend any significant time with the game, it tends to become a bit grating. It probably doesn't help matters that there aren't many other sound effects to complement the musical effort either. It just seems a shame that more attention wasn't paid the audio aspects of the game given the impressive visual experience.
The Domo games as one package were one thing, but it's difficult to understand why Nintendo chose to break these things apart and sell them individually. While the cheaper price tag is appealing, you still can't help but wonder if these mini-games would have been better received as groups of two or three games. Crash-Course Domo is a decent game in and of itself, but its overly-simplistic play control and lack of long-term replayability ultimately makes it fun for a short time but something you're not likely to come back to down the line. It's certainly something to keep in mind before you plunk down your 200 Nintendo Points.