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Dokuro: A Bone-a-fide Hero Emerges Today on PS Vita

Antonio Cara's Avatar + Posted by Antonio Cara on Oct 16, 2012 // Community Coordinator, GungHo Online Entertainment America

Update: At this time, Dokuro has only been released on the US PlayStation Store.

In my last PlayStation.Blog post, I talked a bit about the origins of my favorite numbskull, Dokuro, and the story surrounding his heroic exploits. My ever-diminishing pool of skeleton-themed puns notwithstanding, I’d like to go a bit deeper into the gameplay elements of Dokuro as well as the concepts that spurred development choices.

Although Dokuro was inspired by children’s books — The Velveteen Rabbit and a Japanese children’s book called Kuma to Yamaneko — don’t let the adorable chalk-laden game fool you into thinking the Dark Lord’s castle is child’s play. At first, Dokuro may look like a pretty straightforward 2D side-scrolling puzzler: You’ve got a clear goal of escorting the princess from point A to point B, and a seemingly narrow list of what you can and cannot do to accomplish it. You push a few boxes around, toggle a switch or two, and bash a few bozos who try to hurt your precious princess. The game wouldn’t be a fraction as interesting as it is, however, if it simply stopped there.

Dokuro for PS Vita

As you progress through the treacherous castle, you are gradually introduced to new concepts and abilities, such as using the spicy-red chalk to transfer fires and toggling the amazing anti-gravity device to solve vexing gravity-defying riddles. Just as soon as these new concepts are introduced, they snuggle right into your existing bag of tricks. Now you’ve got to avoid heavily armed knights, transform into a hero to slash away at your foes, push an explosive barrel up against a fragile wall and red chalk that barrel’s fuse before the bouncing flame monsters get you!

By the end of the game, you’ve learned how to interact with a whole slew of environments and objects including seesaws, windmills, pendulums, and water.

Every new skill you learn becomes a necessary part of your repertoire as you encounter increasingly complex puzzles, but the game won’t just test your brains. While many of its stages can be solved with mental dexterity alone, there are quite a few stages that will rely on your platforming expertise. For many stages, you will have to carefully time Dokuro’s jumps, shoves, chalks and heroic transformations to survive some of the more precarious pitfalls. The game’s creator, Noriaki Kazama, described these extremely challenging stages as ones that “come at the users with intent to kill.” However, if you ever get fed up with these challenges, you are permitted to skip as many as ten stages and return to finish those death-inducing stages after you’ve had some time to calm down.

Dokuro for PS Vita

The developer Game Arts suggests that if you get stuck on an area, the best thing to do is take a step back and look at the whole picture. What can Dokuro do? What concepts have been recently introduced? And why do I keep jumping into those stupid spikes!? Even the seemingly daunting boss battles can be conquered quite smoothly once you observe their movements and take advantage of your surroundings. In stages like that, it’s important to remember the Ambrose Redmoon quote that inspired Dokuro in the first place: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

Dokuro’s motivations may not be clear at first, but once the princess gives him her magical bell to help him protect what’s most important to him, he literally glows with purpose! Seeing this plucky little pile of bones struggle to reach his goals makes the punishing puzzles and brief event scenes all the more rewarding.

Dokuro consists of 15 stages, each with about 10 areas. At the end of each area, you are greeted by a lovely little flower and a small box that says how long you took to clear the area this time around. In my normal puzzling experience, I’d be taken to some kind of stage select or results screen, but the developers were concerned this would pull players away from the immersive experience, so they cut this part out and made it feel like one continuous journey since the levels seamlessly bleed into one another up until you encounter a story event or boss battle.

Dokuro for PS Vita

Dokuro is out today on PS Vita via PSN for $19.99. We also plan to give away some fantastic artwork from one of the original Dokuro artists. For more details, feel free to check out our Facebook page.

//Add Your Own

74 Comments   34 Replies

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51

+ BlueBl1zzard on October 16th, 2012 at 12:19 pm said:

I think $19.99 is actually a fairly good price for this game just based on what I read in the article above. It sounds like the devs really worked hard on this game, and a little part of me will be kinda disappointed if I don’t support them.
That said I enjoy challenging games and I’m not that into platformers, but I really am considering picking this up!
And thanks Mr. Cara for taking the time to reply to all of these comments.

P.S. .Tthat “level skip” feature is a really good idea and I could find myself using it quite a bit lol.


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    + Antonio Cara on October 16th, 2012 at 12:39 pm said:

    All I’m saying is make sure you save at least 1 or 2 of those skips for Stage 15 ;)


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+ PainOfSarrow on October 16th, 2012 at 12:24 pm said:

20 Bucks ? **FACE PALMS** on Concrete.


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+ mancub194 on October 16th, 2012 at 12:24 pm said:

I’m so glad you guys are bringing this to PSN….I already imported it and paid $50+ for it and it was worth every penny…I’d like to hope us importers showed the dev enough support to help bring it to USA!


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+ Mauro_19900 on October 16th, 2012 at 12:27 pm said:

Add Me Please:
Mauro_19900


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+ PainOfSarrow on October 16th, 2012 at 12:46 pm said:

dont get me wrong though, only the price got me falling on my face but the game itself looks deadly good. CLOSURE was amazing and worth 15, but 20 for this is crossing the line for me. yess its just 5 but 5 extra to many. rare for me to even buy 15 $ games. d/w this will atleast be on my radar…


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    + Antonio Cara on October 16th, 2012 at 12:56 pm said:

    Thanks for the followup comment – that’s actually pretty cool of you to do!

    Being on the radar is definitely better than nothing! Keep your ears perked and your eyes peeled – perhaps word of mouth will sway you one way or the other.


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+ Christian399 on October 16th, 2012 at 1:10 pm said:

People, its a full-retail release (in Japan); platinum trophy and the whole shebang. Goes for $35 + shipping on PlayAsia. You’re getting it digital and for just over 1/2 price.

What IS the issue exactly?


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+ Fnook on October 16th, 2012 at 1:15 pm said:

I’m happy to see more developers supporting the PSVita and the Playstation platform in general. I’m always happy to see it. And I’m trying very hard to remain positive and constructive, but I have to say something here… This looks like a $2 iOS / Android game to me.


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+ Squiggle55 on October 16th, 2012 at 1:34 pm said:

Awesome. I love the artwork. I plan on getting this and supporting you bringing good quality content to the Vita. But I’ll likely be waiting until they announce what the free games and discounts are going to be for the Vita’s PS+ debut next month.


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+ Shin-Ra on October 16th, 2012 at 1:36 pm said:

It’s a shame the demo won’t be *conveniently* available to everyone because it really sold me on the game and demos rarely impress me. The game has an unusual, uniquely large double jump, and you can start your first or second jump from falling, something you need to learn to collect low coins over pitfalls and spikes. The gradual introduction of new mechanics looks like it’ll keep the game going fresh after where the demo ends.

I’m just deciding how I want to buy the game. I’d prefer the physical game card import but there’s a chance DLC with trophies are added (unlikely this late but you never know) and I’d be permanently locked out from them with my local PSN account. Or I wait for the Euro release…


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+ DarkOne_PR on October 16th, 2012 at 1:45 pm said:

AWWW MAN!!! I was really looking forward to this! but at that price theres no way im getting it :(

Well… whats going on here! men i couldnt buy Little King Story bc its Download Only and i dont buy digital unless they are games like this one… too bad…. well it seems ill wait for a lower price down the road.

and to the ppl complaining about that its too challenging then blame ur mind and not the game! U want ez games go play mario or something for kids lol!


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+ Xoombie503 on October 16th, 2012 at 1:47 pm said:

seriously people,support these awesome devs and load up those wallets and get ready to get some dokuro!
you came in here because the game caught your interest.i myself boguht it already at $35+ on play asia


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+ TriangleOffense on October 16th, 2012 at 2:02 pm said:

Im really looking forward to this game but you have the unfotunate fate of being released on the same day The Unfinished Swan. I will say this, I have spent over $150 on PSN this month (With tons of content still coming like Dark Souls DLC) so when I get my $20 credit you can consider it yours


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+ jacksplicer on October 16th, 2012 at 2:04 pm said:

This should hold me till ragnarok comes out


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    + Antonio Cara on October 16th, 2012 at 3:32 pm said:

    Took me about 2 weeks of hard work, and that’s how much time you’ve got :)


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+ JonJonXD on October 16th, 2012 at 2:09 pm said:

i am really interested in this game.

i love investing into new IPs. I love different and new gaming.

Plus, I love seeing support for the Vita.

Consider this bought. Just point me in the right direction for customer feedback!


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    + Antonio Cara on October 16th, 2012 at 3:33 pm said:

    You’re welcome to share your thoughts on our Facebook or Twitter – we love hearing from you guys!

    (and by guys I mean the non-gender specific version of the word “guys”)


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+ Elvick_ on October 16th, 2012 at 2:58 pm said:

I already imported it, but seeing people write off this awesome game because it is $20 makes me sad. I have already spent too much (and am buying more this week and next) to rebuy it to support it. Otherwise I would.

I hope people give it a chance, because it is a great game and was worth importing at $35 plus shipping.


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+ OuroborosChoked on October 16th, 2012 at 4:13 pm said:

So let me get this straight:

It’s download only (despite being hard copy in Japan)… at $20… and there’s no US demo, even though you guys released one for Japan back in June or so?

Yeah… not going to buy. No demo + no hard copy = no sale. You want me to take your word for it that it’s a good game? Not gonna happen. There are plenty of other good games I can get for less WITH demos.

Hell, RCR has cross-saving, a lower price point, AND a demo… and guess what? I’m buying that later tonight.

But this combined with the “indefinite” delay of the Vita JSR release makes me wonder why I even bother. Despite the glut of sycophants who haunt these threads, we don’t all cheer whenever Sony decides to brush us some overpriced, long-delayed table scraps from Japan…


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    + Antonio Cara on October 16th, 2012 at 5:31 pm said:

    You’ve got a stance, and that’s totally cool.

    I agree that RCR is an AWESOME game, and I too was saddened by the delay of JSR. The more love for the Vita, the better right? I know there is a certain “book” game I still have to download, and one that involved a small king and his story.

    That being said, it’s all just a matter of tastes and opinions. You need not take my word on whether or not the game is good. There are various gameplay demos/videos/trailers available and quite a few reviews handy. That’s really the only way to tell if Dokuro is your cup of tea.

    Your input regarding the importance of demos is a point well taken and one we will consider in the future.

    As for the popularity of digital VS packaged goods, this particular issue was a matter of digital VS nothing, and we thought a digital Dokuro was better than none.


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+ CaptainRadical on October 16th, 2012 at 4:44 pm said:

I totally just said “screw it, why not?”. Checked the store… No game. Seems Sony screwed something up for us Canadians.


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    + Antonio Cara on October 16th, 2012 at 5:18 pm said:

    We are definitely looking into this Canadian conundrum at hope to have it solved as soon as possible! Very sorry for this delay our neighbors to the north are experiencing.


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+ Shadow_Raskolnik on October 16th, 2012 at 7:38 pm said:

So there will not be a physical release at all for this game, right?

The reason I’m asking is because for my Vita the only digital purchases I’m making are PSP and PSone Classics. Yet this game has definitely caught my eye and I’ll be willing to purchase it digitally as long as I’m sure there will not be a physical release down the road.

I would appreciate an answer if you read this,

Thank You!


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    + Antonio Cara on October 17th, 2012 at 4:23 pm said:

    We have no plans for a physical release down the road. The US Dokuro is digital only.

    Funny thing, I have the opposite stance for my Vita. I’m doing all digital, but the Ragnarok Odyssey Mercenary Edition is totally going to make me break that stance!


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+ R_a_z_i_e_l on October 16th, 2012 at 8:04 pm said:

Game Looks decent but personally Ill wait for a price drop, don’t like dropping alot of money on games that don’t have alot of reply value for my Vita.


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+ mprunty on October 16th, 2012 at 10:58 pm said:

Hey Antonio, good to see you have moved on to bigger and better things. I’m really psyched about this game. Hopefully it won’t take up too much of my life. Got to leave room for Ramen…


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    + Antonio Cara on October 17th, 2012 at 4:24 pm said:

    There is always room for ramen. ALWAYS.


71

+ ShizuruChan on October 17th, 2012 at 3:40 am said:

This game really got me I mean I’m not into jumping games but this really sharpens my puzzle solving skills.


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    + Antonio Cara on October 17th, 2012 at 4:25 pm said:

    If you stick it out and can solve all the toughest puzzles on your own brain power, you should be able to use the skips for the hardest platforming challenges!


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+ lutfy on October 17th, 2012 at 9:17 am said:

Very good job SONY….I applaud you for not caring about Canadians


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    + Antonio Cara on October 17th, 2012 at 4:26 pm said:

    Can’t let them take all the heat on this one – sufficed to say it’s an unfortunate situation and we hope to see it rectified by the end of the month. The delay should be between 2-3 weeks, and we will let everyone know when we have an official launch scheduled for Canada and Mexico.


73

+ Ryuuzaki on October 22nd, 2012 at 1:30 am said:

I got really into the demo I grabbed from the Japanese PSN store so I was really excited to see this little gem make its way across the pond. You could get way more interest rolling in this awesome title if the demo could be brought to the US PSN, the video is great but just doesn’t do justice to the game.


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+ CaptainRadical on October 23rd, 2012 at 6:20 am said:

After reading more about the game, and watching I think as many videos on it as possible without ruining puzzle solutions for myself… I feel like the game will be a purchase… When it’s finally available. Sucks it’s not out in Canada yet. I’ll probably use the 20$ from Sony for spending 100$ on the PSN during the month of October.
So really just wanted to say good job, looks like you guys made a really cool game. Any chance we can get a free gift for Canadian fans for the delay? (theme, avatar, anything).


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