Akuji Nishimura is your regular academy-attending badass type. Not the most motivated student, a bit of a troublemaker, likes to sleep in and not answer the phone. Suddenly he’s being contacted by an archangel who orders him to find the witches hiding on campus on pain of being turned…good. He is even given a horrifying look at your typical “good•bCrLf fellow, a salary man who makes sure to praise his idols, etc. Of course, these witches are nothing like ugly old ladies in black dresses and pointy hats, or even the more Japanese onibaba aesthetic– they are moÃ©, you’re-not-even-really-fourteen-are-you, anime girls.
So you’ve probably heard of Doki Doki Majo Shinpan, the “witch poking game,” but is it really all you hoped for? I understand that some experience a certain visceral thrill from making animated girlies squirm in distress, but there have got to be other more direct ways of experiencing that than this game. Maybe there is something to be said for building anticipation, but a round of Doki Doki plays more like a lame girl-chasing version of Phoenix Wright than anything else. For anyone who has somehow missed out on those courtroom drama gems, that means one import-prohibitive text-based adventure game.
Each chapter is broken into three modes of play: Search, Magic Battle, and Witch Check, capped with story. After being introduced via an “angel paper•bCrLf to the first target, Akagi (or Akai, depending on the reading of the kanji) Maho, the idea is to search for incriminating tidbits around the school and in town. Also keep an eye out for “reverse pandas•bCrLf to collect. Their purpose is mysterious, but if you find a bunch, something good might happen.
It’s obvious right off the bat that Maho is a member of the cheerleading club, so it makes sense to talk to her teammates. One in particular becomes convinced that Akuji’s a stalker, but I’m sure it occurred to all of them. Busting into a girls locker room, stealing keys from the teacher’s office, sneaking snapshots of girls spending time with stray cats– the necessary actions we take to catch witches and discover their secrets! Lulu, the angel sent to assist you, doesn’t help much, but laughs an awful lot in a high-pitched, “Ee hee hee!”
After a while it becomes apparent that the young girl watching TV in a window downtown and Maho are…the same person? They know the same cat! Gasp! When we confront her on this she starts hurling magic missiles at us, which we can luckily bounce back at her by slashing our stylus. Charging with the tip of the stylus touching the screen and then letting go will launch Lulu. In future fights you’ll have more partners to choose from, since it seems like witches you’ve outed flip to your side.
Developer: SNK Playmore
System: Nintendo DS
Available: Now (Japan)
Rating: C (CERO)