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'Doki-Doki Universe' Tries To Teach One Robot How To Be Human

by Jason Cipriano   December 12, 2013 at 2:00PM  |  Views: 7,464

Robots and aliens have one inherent thing in common: they'll never be human. From everything we know about robots and aliens, they do not possess the same emotions as the human race, making it difficult for them to understand the way we operate. Take for example, take the story of QT3 - a robot that was left alone on a distant asteroid for decades, just because its family didn't think it could relate enough to humans. That wasn't its fault, it was just programed that way. His salvation came by way of an alien that carried QT3 off of its little asteroid, and on to a wealth of planets with creatures for it to learn from. This story is the basic premise of Doki-Doki Universe - a fantastic tale about a robot coming to grips with the inexplicable needs of humans.

Developer: HumaNature Studios
Publisher: HumaNature Studios

Doki-Doki Universe is at the front of (what will hopefully be) a very long line of independent developers publishing their own games on Sony platforms. While this practice isn't unheard of, Sony has made it clear that they are making a push to bring more indie games to the PlayStation 4, and it is something that Sony fans are likely to see a lot more of in the future. Doki-Doki Universe comes from a small studio in California, whose biggest claim to fame thus far is that their founder is Greg Johnson. While that name might not be too recognizable for most people, Sega Genesis owners will instantly recognize one of his most famous creations, the dynamic duo of Toejam & Earl. Other than that, HumaNature are looking to make a mark with Doki-Doki Universe, and frankly, they might be on to something.

32 years ago a robot, QT3, was left alone (save for his one, red balloon) on a distant planet by his family, because it didn't understand what it was like to be human. Doki-Doki Universe is the story of that robot's quest to gain a greater understanding of the human race, and hopefully be reunited with his family. The way that QT3 hopes to learn more about humans is by traveling to their planets, and helping them out by giving them what they need - whether it's by giving them a hug, a dolphin, or something stinky. QT3 can conjure up a host of different items that it has collected, and give to whomever or whatever it meets along the way to help solve their problems. Layered on top of that gameplay are a series of personality quizzes that are given to the player, and analyzed by the therapist that lives on QT3's home planet, Dr. Therapist. As QT3 learns about humans in the game, the player learns about themselves from the game.

You can get Doki-Doki Universe on all of your Sony platforms for one low price. That's right, Doki-Doki Universe joins Sound Shapes as the second Cross-Buy title for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita. At $14.99, Doki-Doki is a bit of a steal, especially if you own more than one platform. If you like a little try before you buy, you can also get a taste of the game via an extensive demo on any of the platforms. Play through 16 personality quizzes, use Doki-Doki Mail, and visit QT3's home planet and the tutorial planet to get a feel for what the game is like before going all in.

In addition to the game itself, anyone can download the Doki-Doki Mail messaging app for their PS4, PS3, and Vita, as well as Android and iOS devices for free. Players can use it to send messages to anyone else with the app in the unique style of the game.

Doki-Doki Universe isn't your normal game. It's a unique, quirky, insightful, and humorous little experience that not only tasks you with problem solving within the game, but it studies you while you're doing it. When you're done playing, you won't only feel like you've accomplished something within a virtual world, but, if you answer the personality quiz questions truthfully, you'll have a better understand of yourself in the real world. The gaming component of Doki-Doki Universe, solving creatures problems and learning what it's like to be human, is entertaining, and could be a release unto itself. However, by adding in the personality quizzes to examine the person that's playing the game, HumaNature have created something special in Doki-Doki Universe. The gist of the game's core concept can be seen in other open-ended, creativity-based titles games like Scribblenauts, and the self-reflecting quizzes can be found all over the internet. Fortunately for Sony fans, the two have never really crossed paths, but in Doki-Doki Universe they do so in a grand fashion. If you enjoy games that think well outside the box, then Doki-Doki Universe is an adventure that's well worth your time.