non-budget price tag?
It's RRP is
Bakushow, known as LOL in the United States and Archime DS in Japan, is an extremely simple game in the vein of the DS' built-in chat software, PictoChat. Speaking in an interview with Cubed3 last year, developer Route24's main (and only) man, Kenichi Nishi, confirmed that not only was the game developed by a mere five people, but no-one got paid for their contributions. Can a game with such modest roots be worthy of your time? Read on to find out.
Bakushow is unique for a couple of reasons. The first of which is its distinct lack of a single-player mode. With no online functionality to speak of either, this equates to a game that is entirely reliant on the player having access to at least one other person with a DS for wireless multiplayer. Thankfully, Bakushow supports Download Play, so only one copy of the game need be present, but the multiple-DS requirement is probably enough to determine who will be interested in this game, and who will not.
Still with us? Excellent. With support for up to four players using only one cartridge, this is a game that can, literally, only be enjoyed with a group friends. Once that hurdle has been overcome, the player is left with what is arguably the simplest game of recent years. At its core, Bakushow could be described as a less strict version of Pictionary. One player acts as the host, creating questions and tasks using the touch screen, and any other players then respond to these challenges with suitable scribblings on their own system.
Once a pre-determined time limit (as set by the host) is reached, and/or everyone has successfully completed their answers, each player can vote on whose response was the best by issuing up to three gold stars. There's nothing to stop players from voting for their own creations, however, so stalemates are possible, if not unavoidable depending on the group of players. Once voting is complete, the winner becomes the host for the next round and the process repeats for as long as required.
And, that's is. Everything is left entirely up to the player's, and his or her companions', imaginations. In the words of Kenichi Nishi, "if you can't enjoy playing
For a game that is supposed to be - but in reality is not - exclusive to GAME retail outlets and GAME.co.uk in the UK, Bakushow isn't actually worth purchasing from either. GAME.co.uk is currently listing the game at £24.99, the same price as Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood and Dragon Quest: The Chapters of the Chosen - two fully-fledged RPGs. For a game built on functionality that could be almost entirely replicated with some HB pencils and sheets of A4 paper, that just doesn't seem right. Ultimately, if you're still interested in Bakushow after reading the previous paragraphs, you'll definitely want to shop around for a better price.
Bakushow, although perfect for the touch screen, is as fun or as dull as you want it to be. Whether you consider that to be a genius design choice or a lazy cop-out, is entirely up to you.
Ninety percent (citation needed) of the game's graphics come from the tip of the player's own stylus, so any attempt to place a meaningful comment here would be somewhat superfluous.
There are a few simple tunes and sound effects scattered about, but if you're playing the game as it's meant to be played - in a room full of, possibly tipsy and/or rowdy, friends - you won't even notice them.
You can learn all that there is to know about Bakushow's ways in an hour, and yet, after a hundred days, it can still surprise you at a pinch. Provided you have an adequate fellowship, that is.
When a title's gameplay is non-existent without the imagination of a group of players, it can be difficult to fault the software itself for a lacklustre experience. What we can fault, however, is Bakushow's lack of support for solo and online players, as well as its inability to offer much in the way of functionality that couldn't be replicated with a pen and paper. If you've got three enthusiastic mates, preferably each willing to chip in for the game, then there's a lot of fun to be had here. But, for most people, it would probably be cheaper and easier to stick with plain ol' Pictionary.
non-budget price tag?
It's RRP is
Currently priced at
I think no online is what killed this ones chances. Its an amusing concept no doubt, but its pretty hard to get a bunch of people who own DSes around.
Nice review Karn!