While we're used to robots playing forces of death and destruction in video games, QT3 is the exception to the rule, who, in a Douglas Adams-inspired manner, has stayed in one place for the last thirty-two years waiting for a family that never returned.
This all changes one day, when the very green, happy and funk-loving spaceman, Jeff, stumbles upon QT3 and tells him that his model has been out of production for a long time and that his future probably lies on a scrap heap somewhere.
Jeff tells him that the newer models are far more human than the primitive QT3, and this leads to him challenging the robot to prove he can become more human in order to avoid being decommissioned. QT3 doesn't quite know where to start, but his life now has new meaning.
With almost unrestricted travel between the ridiculous amount of planets on offer, QT3 decides how to go about it. Each planet has lots of inhabitants, each with their own issues and problems, and they're happy to share these with each other. By talking to all of them QT3 can learn about what they're missing and how to make them happy.
Spread across the planets there are small packages that, among other things, contain Summonables as well as the energy needed to activate them. Summonables are a sort of living sticker that serve as representations of all kinds of things - saber-toothed tigers, icicles, rainbows, dark clouds, flares, vehicles and everything in between. The objects are there to help the characters you encounter, and you're rewarded with new packages and life lessons that take QT3 closer to his goal of becoming more human.
A bit of creative puzzle solving is also rewarded every now and then as several different objects can be used to solve specific puzzles. Unfortunately the game trips itself up by being extremely strict in other cases in what characters will accept as solutions, which results in fairly obvious solutions being turned down for no apparent reason.
Overall it's a tad bit simplistic, but there is plenty of charm in Doki-Doki Universe to mask that fact. The game resembles a bunch of childish drawings that have somehow come to life - something that fits perfectly with the story. But it's the multitude of small animations, often in speech or thought balloons that explain situations in a succinct fashion that lend the adventure it's own unique style of expression.
The most fascinating part of the experience isn't QT3 or the animations, but instead the many ways in which the game tries to find out about you - the player holding the controller.
It asks weird questions that seem completely out of context, and in doing so creates a profile of the player that you can have scrutinised by visiting a psychologist on your home planet. The results can be surprisingly spot on, without ever really going very deep. There's never a point where you need to feel worried or consider Doki-Doki Universe as something other than a game.
Potential buyers of Doki-Doki Universe should also be aware that you only need to buy it once to be able to play it on PS3, PS4 and PS Vita. It plays best on the home consoles, as it feels surprisingly cumbersome in its handheld iteration.
I wish that Doki-Doki Universe was more enjoyable to play as there are good ideas and plenty of charm to its design. However, it does quickly grows boring as you repeat the same tasks over and over again.
First you learn what everyone needs, and then you trade things in order to get the various objects you require. The lack of variation means that you'll stop thinking of the various personalities and their humourous problems, and instead think of them as a series of puzzles that need solving, which is a real shame.
With a mixture of ideas borrowed from different games like Animal Crossing, Little Big Planet and Scribblenauts and unique concepts of its own, Doki-Doki Universe ought to have been more fun to play. If you're thinking about buying this you should do so only if you desire to immerse yourself in this silly universe, and perhaps learn a little more about yourself along the way.
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