On May 10th, Nintendo released a quirky new title to its ever-expanding library of DSi titles: Photo Dojo. This game, which is free to download via DSi Ware until June 11th (after that it’s only $2), has a single player mode that is a 2D arcade-style fighter like River City Ransom and a two player mode that is a head-to-head fighter like Mortal Kombat. Photo Dojo utilizes the DSi’s unique hardware to put players into the game as fighters, which is a first for the system.
You won’t be able to do much in Photo Dojo until you create your fighter by means of a guided photo shoot using the DSi’s cameras, but thankfully the interface is easy enough that even your grandma could digitize herself; that is, along as you are the re to snap the pictures for her. Despite being setup for solo use, the vast distance(approximately six to eight feet) you are required to put between you and your DSi is so great that unless you have perfect vision, you won’t be able to do your photo shoot without at least little help from a friend to tell you if your pose fits in the on-screen outline. Once you take the 13 pictures required to complete your avatar, you must then record sound clips to give it a voice; the resulting sound quality was incredibly crisp and clear. This recording session was definitely one of the first times the microphone on the DSi seemed to be relevant. Once all the sound bytes are selected, you just pick your fighting style. Players are given a choice between “Kung-Fu Master”, “Shanghai Demon”, “Loose Cannon”, and “Judo Warrior”. Your selection affects your fighter’s signature move and “move of desperation” only, but those can be very influential to the outcome of the game. Finally, you are ready to fight!
Photo Dojo plays just like a classic 2D arcade-style fighter. The player must wade through an onslaught of enemies in hopes of surviving long enough to reach the kill goal given at the beginning of the level. There is no real depth here in terms of story, but considering the game is free, little more is expected. Any real attempt at making this a full-fledged game would not only have ruined the “quick play” value, but also would have detracted from the campy style and humor Photo Dojo serves up in its cheesy graphics and custom sound effects.
The game actually has very little going on graphically outside of what you create yourself. You make your own fighters, take a picture for the background, and even a picture to be used for the fireball attack. I chose a picture of my cat’s face so my nemesis could be crushed by his cuteness. The only enemies you encounter will be a mix of the eight fighters you can store on your system. The same holds true for sound: the only sounds you will hear while playing Photo Dojo are the ones you recorded, and one of three background music tracks you can select before playing. Players can choose from MIDIfied Rock ‘n Roll, Club Beat, and Electro music as their battle anthem, or they can opt to go without the background music to immerse themselves in a totally self-created experience.
Believe it or not, Photo Dojo even includes a multiplayer mode. Two players can square off in a head-to-head bout on one DSi. One player gets to use the left shoulder button and the control pad, while the other takes charge of the lettered buttons and the right shoulder button. This is very cool concept, and means that you can play against anyone, but it also means it will be a very snuggly match with most normally sized adults having to practically sit in their enemy’s lap to get a good grip on their half of the DSi.
When a game is free, or even $2, it is hard to find much wrong with it, and the same holds true for Photo Dojo. Outside of the potential lap dance that could occur due to the two player mode, there is hardly a reason to not download this game if you haven’t already. The cheap look and sound of the game just cements its place as a “b movie” of the video game world. Even if you are reading this review outside of the time you could’ve had Photo Dojo for free, go ahead and cough up the two bucks to download it. What you’ll get is a game that is sure to become a cult classic.
|Free for a month, even for $2 it's worth it, making your fighter|
is a ton of fun, low learning curve
|Shallow gameplay, clunky controls in 2 player mode, difficult to|
take the required pictures without at least a little help
|Verdict||Get it. If you don't get it before you have to pay, still get it. For jus $2 you will definitely get your money's worth of laughs from Photo Dojo.|