REVIEWS -- Photo Dojo -- DS
Itís worth nothing, literally
by Jacob Crites
Fun factor: Boring
Worth to: Avoid
ĎPhoto Dojoí might be free, but in reality it will cost you in other ways, like nerves, time and sanity.
Photo Dojo is a free downloadable fighting game for the DSi that gives the player the ability to take pictures of either themselves or a friend and use those photos to literally put themselves in the game. Sound pretty awesome? Well, it is... for about ten minutes.
The game has an undeniably great concept, but unfortunately thatís about all it has going for it. As a fighter, itís shallow and frustrating, and the photo mechanic is so cumbersome that itís unlikely anyone will want to use it after making a fighter or two. Despite itís vast potential, Photo Dojo lets down in nearly every category.
Iím not going to lie to you: Dojo is certainly good for a few legitimate laughs. The problem is youíll have to wrestle with so many frustrations to get to the laughs that itís just not quite worth it in the end.
Allow me to explain: you are the fighter in Photo Dojo; no, not a little Mii version of yourself or something -- literally you. Players use the internal or external DSi Camera to take pictures of themselves in various fighting poses, which the game then uses to turn them into a little virtual fighter that can be used in-game. Although this sounds like the makings of a thoroughly fantastic game, it doesnít work so well in practice. In fact itís downright frustrating.
While taking pictures, you have to match your body position to an on-screen silhouette, which is a much more difficult task than it rightfully should be. The silhouette is entirely too bulky, meaning your photo is probably going to have a lot of background in the shot (which looks rather awkward in-game). Of course you could zoom in, but itís nearly impossible to do this without cutting off a foot, arm, or some other vital limb. When you consider the fact that you have to take thirteen shots to make a fighter, itís not hard to see how this becomes mind-bogglingly frustrating.
Fighting around the inadequacies
You can have a friend take the pictures for you, or you can do it yourself. Both have their obvious pros and cons -- on one hand, you donít have to position the camera if your friend is taking the picture. However, it means your friend has to position you, which is easier said than done. No matter how you do it, expect to spend a good twenty to thirty minutes creating a fighter. Yeah, you heard me -- ďtwenty to thirty minutes.Ē The real hassle is that you canít take a couple shots, save, quit, and come back later to finish it up -- you have to take them all in one sitting, otherwise the game wonít save and youíll have to start all over again. Thatís a real shame, because with a save feature the game would be much more recommendable. I have to give props to the sound department, though: getting to record your own sound effects and taunts is a source of near endless entertainment.
Admittedly, itís pretty cool seeing yourself on the DSi screen duking it out with a friend. It doesnít take long to realize, however, that the fighting mechanics are insultingly basic; button mashing wins over skillful planning every time -- a cardinal sin of fighting games. Youíll also notice that I said ďDSi ďscreenď. Singular.
Thereís no download or local wireless play. You and your pal will have to share the DS, with one player using the control pad and L trigger, and the other player using the X, Y, B, and A buttons and the R trigger. I can see why Nintendo would want to avoid allowing people to transfer pictures from system to system (you know more than a few pubescent boys are going to find it hilarious to make fighters out of their you-know-whats) but... wait a minute... canít people already transfer pictures from one DSi to another on the DSi Photo Channel? Hmm...
Like I said, there are few good laughs to be had with Photo Dojo, but even at its low, low price of zero DSiWare points I still have to question its value. The novelty wears off in minutes, and the fighting itself doesnít offer enough depth or fun to draw you back into the experience. Unfortunately, Photo Dojo is yet another example of poor execution of a great concept.
Release Date: May 10, 2010
Review Date: 27-05-2010
Numbers of Players: 1-2
Players Online: No
Notes: DSi Ware, Nintendo Points: 0, DSi Camera Support, DSi Microphone Support
Since the presentation is so contingent on the photos you take, itís a bit hard to score. But hey, at least the menus are really bright and colorful.
The fighting is pointlessly basic, and the novelty of playing as yourself wears thin after about ten minutes. An irritating camera mechanism means that the process of taking the photos that make up your fighter is an incredibly irritating one.
I just wish they would have spent more time on the camera mechanism. Itís so frustrating to use that it sucks all of the fun out of what would have been a really enjoyable gimmick.
The fighting music is appropriately cheesy, and hearing your own recorded sound effects is always pretty funny.
Fun for a couple of minutes, but once the novelty wears off it offers practically no incentive to come back for more.