With the lack of any games coming out for the PS4 that really interest me, I decided to check out the demo for Doki-Doki Universe. Doki-Doki Universe is a quirky little game from HumaNature Studios. The best short description I can give it is that it’s an interactive personality test.
In the game, you play as QT3, a robot who was abandoned by his human family. While waiting on a tiny little asteroid with only a balloon for company for 32 years, he meets Alien Jeff. Alien Jeff works for the robot manufacturing plant & was sent to evaluate QT3. The purpose? Apparently QT3’s problem is that he lacks “humanity.” Humanity, as Alien Jeff explains, isn’t about being human but in understanding yourself & relating to other people. So Alien Jeff gives QT3 an ultimatum: gain humanity or be scraped.
This leads you & QT3 on a quest across many different planets to interact with the strange citizens who live there. QT3’s job is to speak with these people, learn about them & interact with them. Like in real life, each NPC has things they like & dislike, & problems they need to solve. QT3 can affect what these people think of him by Summoning relevant objects. For example, summoning a box full of puppies may make one character adore you while annoy another character (they actually look like they get nauseous). Some characters will give you presents if you get them far enough on either end (think like Fable).
But another major part of the game is to visit asteroids to take unique personality tests. These tests help build a larger profile on your personality, which Dr. Therapist can report back to you.
What did I think? Playing through the demo, only Tutorial Planet & a dozen or so asteroids were available to me. Supposedly each planet has its own theme, such as “love,” but I never got that far.
First of all, I like the art style of Doki-Doki Universe. It’s bright & colorful, with a hand-drawn cartoonish look. Although it’s in 2D, the different layers (characters, foreground, background) really stand out from each other. It’s like each asset is a cutout. It’s hard to see in screenshots, but obvious when you see videos of it. I also enjoyed the upbeat music.
I found the personality tests really interesting & surprisingly accurate for the most part. Each asteroid has a monk who will ask you three to five questions. Most of them involve looking at a picture with multiple choices. For example, one shows three different superheroes & asks which one you’d like to be. At the end, it gives tells you about several traits the test reveals. You can also look at what each response says about you. Here’s an example from one of my results (I didn’t take this picture but this was one of my results):
I was surprised at how accurate the profile it built of me was. Occasionally a test would give me a trait I didn’t agree with, but because the overall profile is an aggregate of your tests, it worked out. Pretty much all of the stuff in my profile was spot on. It said I’m sensitive, mellow, imaginative, artistic, honest, prefer to go my own way rather than fit in, enjoy stories with fantasy & a strong plot, prefer small groups, & am a secret romantic. And that I’m afraid of babies.
However, I couldn’t get in to the rest of the game. Maybe it’s because I was only playing through the tutorial world, but I didn’t enjoy just summoning things to make NPC’s like or dislike me. I enjoyed talking to each character. They all had their own unique, quirky personalities. And watching them react to the different things I summoned was funny. But I lost interest in it pretty quickly. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which summon will fit the situation. It only shows a picture, so it’s hard to tell what will fit what you’re aiming for. For example, I was trying to summon something cute for a character who disliked cute things, so I summoned a girl presenting a heart. But the character responded with, “I love hearts!” & I got more Love.
In short… while I couldn’t get interested in the main component of the Doki-Doki Universe’s gameplay, I think it would be a fun game for someone looking for something kid or family friendly, for someone who enjoys stress-free exploration or is just in general looking for a game that’s quirky & uplifting rather than full of violence.