Breaking up with Doki Doki Universe

Not to be cold, but how many hard freezes are we supposed to put up with??

We at Coopdojo really enjoyed what we played of Doki Doki Universe.  The game is relentlessly cute.  You play as a robot abandoned by his owners who desperately wants to reunite with them.  Fortunately, a passing alien offers to help you out, but before you can be reunited, you need to learn some lessons about humanity.

Do to so, you travel to a series of planets and interact with various characters who usually desire some type of item or another.  The items are found wrapped in presents hidden throughout the world.  So, for example, you may meet a character who mentions that he likes animals and you can open your inventory and find a penguin to deliver to him.  

As we played, the sheer number and variety of items you find becomes massive (demons, tanks, bands, dancing ice-cream, etc.) and your inventory can get a little clogged, but the energetic enthusiasm of the game keeps you engaged.

Characters will tell you the likes and dislikes of other characters, and so to help them (and sometimes to antagonize them) you can create those objects to give to those other characters.  The game is so uncompromisingly cute and earnest, we found ourselves plunging ahead just to see what other weird items would show up or bizarre likes or dislikes characters would voice.  

The really interesting thing Doki Doki also provides is a series of personality tests you can access most any time.  In these tests, you are given a question to answer (usually about a picture provided).  One test, for example, asked us to choose which of three characters in a chaotic office scene we would most like to be.  

Another depicted three different scenes and asked us which of these movies we’d most like to watch.  The game then provides you with a quick analysis of your personality.  Sure, there’s a bit of the Barnum Effect going on here, but given how much people enjoy personality tests these days (no matter how ridiculous), we really enjoyed having this in the game.

Doki Doki also looks and sounds beautiful.  The 2-D graphics depict a variety of fun worlds teeming with active lifeforms.  The music is lively and engaging (and reminiscent of Toejam and Earl, one of our favorite games of all time!).  The whole thing provides this great experience of childhood innocence that is fun, intelligent, insightful, and potentially moving.

So why are we breaking up?  Because, Doki Doki, you crash all the mother&$#(ing time.  ALL THE TIME.  It happens over and over again.  We plan a nice evening in, we spend all day looking forward to it, and then about ten minutes in or an hour in, we hit a hard freeze.  We reboot, start again, and BAM, it happens again.

Maybe it’s the fact that there are so many sprites on the screen (everything you create stays created and wanders around the planet). Maybe my PS3 is just a little too old (though others have reported the same problem). Whatever it is, it is just too much.  We wish we could know how this story ends (and take some more of those personality tests), but the sheer frustration that comes with repeated hard freezes (requiring me to start the PS3 all over again) is just too much.  

Doki Doki, we need to be free to see other games.  It’s nothing personal; we think you’re terrific and we really enjoyed our time with you.  If you get help in the future (in the form of downloadable content to address this glitch), we’ll happily come back to you.  But, in the meantime, as beautiful, fun, and original as you are, there’s just too many other fish in the sea.