Doki-Doki Universe

Common Sense Media says

Learn what it means to be human in quirky adventure game.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

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. 

Sex

Mild suggestive themes in the form of skimpy outfits, exaggerated female anatomy, and some kissing and hugging.

Consumerism

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.

Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. Friends can exchange messages with each other across platforms, which might expose kids to mature content. From within the game, players can connect to Facebook via the PlayStation Network and share stories and trophies to their news feeds. When players sign in through Facebook, their first and last name, and profile picture, may be visible. (Players can opt out of all Facebook activity.)

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • decision-making

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • identifying emotions
  • self-awareness

Communication

  • friendship building

Collaboration

  • respecting other viewpoints

Responsibility & Ethics

  • respect for others

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Quirky visuals and touching themes offer reasons to keep playing, although kids might struggle to remain engaged over the long term due to repetitive gameplay and no real difficulty arc. 

Learning Approach

Kids solve puzzles based on delivering the correct item based on a character's likes and dislikes. Often, there's more than one "right" answer, and kids are free to experiment with different items to see what kind of reactions they get.

Support

You can receive hints and support along the way from various characters, in person and via an in-game mail delivery system, but puzzles can generally be figured out through trial and error anyway.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • decision-making

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • identifying emotions
  • self-awareness

Communication

  • friendship building

Collaboration

  • respecting other viewpoints

Responsibility & Ethics

  • respect for others

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.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Bell

Parents say

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Kids say

What's it about?

DOKI-DOKI UNIVERSE is an adventure game starring a robot named QT3 whose model is being discontinued because it doesn't display enough "humanity." To avoid being scrapped, QT3 must travel the galaxy and interact with the inhabitants of various planets in order to learn lessons about love, jealousy, pride, bullying, and other human traits. QT3 has the unique ability to create items from scratch, and a big part of the game involves learning what characters like and dislike, then giving them appropriate items. Requests can be literal ("I want a pet cat") or abstract ("Give me something refreshing.") Players can also gain insights into their own personalities by answering multiple choice personality tests and visiting Doctor Therapist to receive an analysis.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Doctor Therapist's personality quizzes. What did kids learn about themselves based on how they answered the questions?

  • Discuss which of the planets had the best message about humanity. What do you think are the most important characteristics of humanity that a robot should learn about in order to become more human? 

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Price:$14.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:HumaNature
Release date:December 12, 2013
Genre:Adventure
Topics:Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Robots, Space and aliens

This review of Doki-Doki Universe was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old April 25, 2014
AGE
6
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

doki doki land

I think this game Is funny, but I also think the kids are not understanding big something , like some math or reading , but I love this game . the kids will have a fun . that what I think about this game. :D
What other families should know
Great messages

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