Otaku USA Magazine
Doki Doki Majo Shinpan

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 moé, 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.

Anyways, we’re missing the point, aren’t we? There is supposed to be mad crazy molesting, right? Actually the point is a pretty small one, lasting but for a few brief moments after you weaken the girl’s ability to resist. Oh, isn’t she lovely? What a school-aged vision, with tiny skirt and blushing cheeks! She whimpers, “Please don’t touch me! That’s… What are you doing? Please stop! There’s nothing there!” BUT WHAT’S THAT GLOWING SYMBOL ON YOUR THIGH? After a concentrated effort of touching, poking, stroking, grabbing, looking, staring, blowing–yes, into the mic, and smiling– with effective timing to make her less angry– on Akuji’s part (although Lulu bizarrely mentions how jealous she is), and a few different poses on Maho’s part, she finally breaks down, “I didn’t know! I’m not a witch! Pant pant pant…•bCrLf Do you feel a little bad? Ice cream makes everyone feel better, so you take the little girl version out for a sundae. Shudder! Honestly, that may have been creepier than conducting the “witch check•bCrLf in the first place. “That’s a lot for today.•bCrLf No problem, kid, I’ll poke you anytime.
Unless you are really that determined to “Hunt witches with your stylus!•bCrLf this is really not worth importing, especially if you aren’t practically fluent in Japanese. You spend a lot more time prodding the text window than you do barely teen-aged (shirted!) breasts, and even when you do get that far it’s pretty underwhelming. Granted, I’m a straight girl with no interest in sexualized near-children, but I do live at least part of my life on the Internet, after all. I have an idea of what passes for titillating, and this is pretty lukewarm. Beyond that, it’s not even really any good as a conversation piece because it takes so long to get anywhere. Despite the hype, Doki Doki Majo Shinpan is not worth going out of your way for.Publisher: SNK Playmore
Developer: SNK Playmore
System: Nintendo DS
Available: Now (Japan)
Rating: C (CERO)