The DSi camera gets some love putting players into this hilarious brawler.
It’s been over a year since the Nintendo DSi launched, yet there’s been a dearth of games utilizing its cameras. That seems to be changing, and Photo Dojo is a creative new DSiWare game from Nintendo that makes a great use of the cameras to provide group entertainment, importing players directly into the game. In Photo Dojo, players have their pictures taken in various fighting poses and record sound clips to be played while performing those moves. Players actually become fighters in the game.
When creating a fighter, the game presents outlines that the player must fit into. A second person is required to take the picture. Aside from the requisite punch and kick poses, players can take pictures to be used as fireballs, taunts, and your desperation move. So, say you want to throw your cat at your opponents. You can do so! The game can store a number of fighters, so you can collect all of your friends. Unfortunately, players are outlined in a bubble-like shape, meaning all fighters look similar. It would have been much cooler if the game could have done some edge detection on the photos and made actual cut-outs rather than pre-shaped characters. Maybe somebody will take the concept farther in the future.
Photo Dojo is more of a technical demo than a real game, and as such, the gameplay is not deep; it’s more meant to have fun in a situation with multiple people. Just creating a fighter is likely to take more time and give more laughs than the actual game.
Single and multiplayer modes are included. In single player mode, players must fight their way through 100 fighters, in a manner similar to Karateka. Some variations of characters such as large and small versions of fighters will appear to foil repetitious attack patterns. With a single health bar, this is no easy feat—nobody at the Media Summit was able to complete this mode. The attack sounds get repetitive fast.
In two-player mode, two players can battle each other one-on-one on a single DS, with players taking control of the left or right side of the system. Opponents combine their single shoulder button with their D-pad or buttons to perform moves.
Photo Dojo isn’t much more than a novelty, but the hilarity generated with the game is probably worth it, particularly as an impulse purchase with a group of friends around. To see what I mean, check out the battle between Chris Kohler (Wired.com) and Kumiko Hidaka (Nintendo of America). The setup took almost 20 minutes, but each battle was less than one minute long.