Dokuro's graphics are beautiful with its charcoal-inspired art. The game is, in fact, inspired by The Velveteen Rabbit and a Japanese storybook, Kuma to Yamaneko. There is no voice-acting, but just the occasional bubble of speech, and most of the story is inferred from its delightfully cartoonish style. The color palette consists of black, white, and all the shades of gray in between, but this only allows the colors to stand out more than usual.
As far as most gameplay format, it is a simple side-scrolling platformer. Where the game shines, however, is in its puzzles. If you're looking for an easy platforming romp, this is most certainly not your game. The puzzles become quite intricate and the game becomes a combination of trying to balance Dokuro's prince and skeleton abilities, all the while keeping in mind that the princess will continue moving ahead regardless of certain doom. While some gamers will find the mentally-challenged princess (with her utter lack of survival instinct) irritating, she certainly adds to the difficulty of the puzzles.
The puzzles also utilize the Vita's features, albeit not impressively. With the front touchpad, you can use Dokuro's magical chalk, which can be used to repair ropes, light fuses on bombs, or swing across the screen. While I would have liked to see use of the Vita's gyroscope, it's good to see that developers are taking the Vita's unique features into account when developing games.
Not good at puzzles? Not to worry! The game makes it very easy to restart a level right after failing; it even allows you a limited number of skips, should a particular level be overly daunting. The game consists of 150 puzzles, organized in groups of 10 per stage, so there's plenty of gameplay to be had for this PSN title.
Overall, there could be more integration with the Vita's features, but Dokuro's artwork and clever puzzles more than make up for it. The game is fun and endearing, and a great choice for players looking for a PSN title to tide them over until Assassin's Creed or Persona 4.
Playstation Trophy support
Published by GungHo Online Entertainment
Developed by Game Arts
Rated E10+ for Everyone above 10
Available for PSVita (reviewed) and available only on PSN in the US