This week my children introduced me to Doki Doki Universe (DDU), and now my evenings will never be the same. In fact, right now it is taking everything in me to sit here and write this review instead of getting on the PS4 so that I can blow kisses to chickens and learn about prejudice from a Sea Monster.
Let me explain.
In DDU, you are a robot named QT3 whose mission, as described to you by Alien Jeff (great name) is to learn what it means to be human. To do this, you mount the steed of your choice (mine was some sort of gopher in a hat) and fly around to various planets to accomplish goals and find hidden presents.
As someone who loves herself a checklist, this kind of game is right up my alley. Check check and check.
In this game, which has the look of a badly drawn but utterly adorable cartoon, QT3 learns about different aspects of humanity by visiting several different planets. For example, on Planet Bunnipi you learn about bullying, on Planet Brrr you learn about love, in Aquariumland you learn about prejudice, and on Planet Suteki you learn about trust and sacrifice.
How fantastic is that?! How often do you find a game that directly addresses issues like bullying and prejudice? I love that games teach my kids different kinds of physical and mental skills, but it is wonderful to find a game that also teaches them emotional ones.
Though at first DDU seems somewhat saccharine, it balances itself out with humor and even a little naughtiness. When FIshbert was scared, for example, I had the option of a) hugging him, b) slapping him, or c) tickling him. I, of course, went for the hug first. Nope. Turns out the only way to snap Fishbert out of it is to slap him. And that’s where your older kids, who know that slapping isn’t cool, get to laugh themselves to pieces. They also enjoy that you need to find poop to give to Flower for fertilizer, and that sometimes the characters vomit. As an adult, I appreciated things like being able to disco dance with Sea Monster. DDU has something for everyone.
I also found the necessary button presses easy to do — there was nothing particularly complicated, except for the part where you have to throw things, which for some reason I was unable to figure out. All you have to do, in theory, is press the square button and then push the right joystick, but I just kept dropping things or throwing them in the opposite direction. My daughter got so frustrated with me that I had to ask her to leave the room for both our good. Later, she apologized by saying, “It’s really hard for an eight-year-old girl to teach a thirty-something-year-old woman how to play a videogame that she thinks is really simple.”
Overall, I can’t recommend this game enough. It doesn’t have a lot of action and it doesn’t move very quickly, but for this “thirty-something-year-old woman” that was just fine. Now, I am going to hurry up and send this to my editor because I have to find a moon to give to a penguin.