A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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'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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions
- 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
- 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
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Alcohol and Tobacco Reference
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.