Review: Rock-n-Roll Domo (DSiWare)

It's still rock-n-roll to Domo.

Closing off our title-by-title wade through Domo's résumé, we have Rock-n-Roll Domo, which finds our fuzzy brown friend fronting a wildlife-staffed garage band. It's a rhythm game that might strike many as a little too simplistic, but compared to some of Domo's other outings, this one's not half-bad.

The gameplay will be familiar to...well...probably everyone. Music notes fly in from off-screen (in several directions) and they will cross one of three outlines. You will need to activate (or trigger) each note as it passes through its outline. Doing so when it's perfectly aligned will cause the crowd to chant Domo's name...miss, and they're liable to start chanting something else...

Notes are triggered in one of two ways; you can either use the A button or the touch screen. Button control is far more accurate, but since you only ever tap one button (highlighting different outlines with a quick touch of the D-pad) you're setting yourself up for a repetitive experience. The touch screen, by contrast, offers a more frantic gameplay experience, as you get to chase notes around with your stylus and pin them in the right place. This is more fun, but the fact is that the notes are so very tiny, and your stylus is so very big, and it often obscures notes and makes it difficult to think ahead. Ergo, either control style has both its strengths and significant drawbacks.

For each note that you trigger, Domo will sing. More often than not, he will (predictably) sing a single note at a time, but sometimes he will launch into an extended aria, which wreaks havoc with your timing. This increases the challenge, but probably not intentionally.

Curiously, Domo's singing sounds more like a guitar than any singing voice we’ve ever heard, complete with hammer-ons and pull-offs. He must have had one heck of a voice coach.

There are five songs in the game, and though they feature catchy-enough grooves you aren't likely to find yourself whistling them the next day. A second level of difficulty is unlockable, but the songs are the same, and you just have more notes to hit. All of the songs are original tunes; there are no licensed tracks, thus causing us to miss out on the epic, face-melting possibility of hearing Domo belt out Mr. Roboto.

Much more interesting is the Mixer feature, which allows you to toy around with the tempo of the different songs (among other things), and this can actually be quite a lot of fun. Certainly the ability to manipulate music is the best example of a replayable extra feature in any of these Domo games. There is also a practice mode which contrary to what you might think, features Domo's band practicing without you. You just sit back and watch them jam. Or, you know, you could go read a book.

Conclusion

Overall, Rock-n-Roll Domo is quite good fun, and it's nice to be able to choose among control styles, even if each of them does have its flaws. On its own this game isn't much to recommend, but as a silly and somewhat-replayable time-waster, this is one of Domo's better options.

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