A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn empathy as they guide a robot in its quest to be human while playing this quirky adventure game. Their puzzle-solving skills will also be put to the test as they make decisions about which items best suit a character based on likes and dislikes. Players foster deep, caring friendships with other characters, and can demonstrate affection through gestures like hugs and high-fives. Doki-Doki Universe contains important messages about the human condition wrapped in an irreverent package.
There are plenty of positive messages about humanity, including empathy, kindness, and sharing, as well as some observations about negative human behaviors like jealousy, pride, and bullying. Players earn presents for making characters happy, but can also make characters "surrender" presents by being mean to them.
Positive Role Models
There are plenty of positive role models in the game, as well as characters who exhibit less desirable traits. The robot must observe both positive and negative role models to gain a full understanding of humanity, and in this respect, the game is very true to real life.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is cartoonish and not realistic or gory. Characters can smack, kick, punch, and throw each other, but violence is not a key part of the game.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mild suggestive themes in the form of skimpy outfits, exaggerated female anatomy, and some kissing and hugging.
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Products & Purchases
The game supports microtransactions. Players can buy expansion packs for a small additional fee.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol is mentioned occasionally. One of the summonable items is a glass of beer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Doki-Doki Universe is a quirky indie adventure with some insightful messages about human behavior. The ESRB rates it suitable for kids aged 10 and older. There's plenty of crude humor (including frequent references to poop) as well as some mild violence, occasional references to alcohol, and mild suggestive themes. However, the cartoonish presentation keeps things light-hearted.
Is It Any Good?
Doki-Doki Universe is a highly original game that's full of child-like charm, off-beat characters, and tender insights about what it means to be human. In fact, "doki-doki" is a Japanese word representing the sound of a heartbeat (like "thump-thump" in English). Some of the game's positive messages - like the storyline involving bullying - are insightful and touching, while at other times the point seems to get buried by a desire to be quirky. While exploring and meeting people is fun, the game never really evolves or becomes more difficult, and as a result, starts to feel repetitive after a few hours. Some of the controls and item selection mechanics are unnecessarily clunky as well. Nevertheless, Doki-Doki Universe gets lots more right than it does wrong. It won't appeal to everyone, but deserves kudos for its unconventional and original approach.
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