All life forms are intelligent, it’s just some are smarter than others. Take, for example, pigs and dolphins. They are intelligent creatures full of emotion. However, would you consider a frog to belong in this category? I wouldn’t, but Dojoran tells the tale of a smart amphibian who relies on his ancestors’ guidance to survive.
Developed by Nautlaunder and published by Ratalaika Games, this is a retro puzzle platformer. Using a basic side-scrolling style and a mainly monochromatic palette, this old-school title will challenge you while filling you with nostalgia.
Dojoran offers nothing new, but it’s well constructed.
Dojoran’s core mechanics are well-trodden and familiar and a good deal of indie titles use the basic ideas. Subsequently, this, sadly, means it offers nothing new. However, playing it didn’t feel tiresome or boring! It’s well constructed and the level designs were interesting.
The aim is simple: you control Dojoran, a large adult frog who grows up in a specific location by chance. He must use the knowledge of his ancestors to complete each stage and to survive. You face twenty-eight challenging stages that become gradually more challenging. New mechanics are drip-fed and a timer constantly monitors your performances.
Enemies, collectables, and special powers.
Dojoran isn’t an aggressive creature, and he doesn’t attack his foes. He must avoid conflict, or leap on their heads to eliminate them. This isn’t challenging, as your enemies are slow-moving. However, these aren’t the only dangers he faces! No, spikes, pits, moving platforms, and more must be overcome.
These obstacles are difficult to traverse until you receive your special powers, that is. An apple and a fly are used to leap gaps and stay alive. They are essential to completing each stage and to find every collectable.
Gold coins and talismans are found on every level. You must jump chasms, cling to walls, and risk your life to gather them all. You can ignore them if you wish, but what’s a platform game if you don’t find every collectable?
Dojoran is pleasant to look at.
Indie titles are being churned out daily! This relentless endeavour is creating poor games that look terrible and run poorly. Nonetheless, Dojoran is unashamedly retro and its rough exterior is a throwback to a classic gaming era. Its monochromatic appearance is striking and is pleasant on the eye. I loved its style and its varied and well throughout stages. Moreover, it has a simple design that doesn’t overcomplicate the matter and allows you to enjoy the action.
The high energy synth wave music emphasises the retro inspiration. Yet, the shrill sounds don’t overpower the other elements, and it strikes the right balance. The old-school sound effects were crass, but they brought a wry smile to my face. Its no-nonsense approach won’t win awards, but it’ll entertain you for the short amount of time you’ll play this.
So simple a child could play it.
Unlike tougher platform titles that require button combos and the ability to remember many controls. Dojoran is straightforward, and it asks you to cling to walls, leap on mushrooms, avoid traps, and use special abilities. These are completed with a simple press of a button and it’s so user friendly a child could play it.
With no penalties for missing collectables and short and simple levels to overcome, Dojoran, unfortunately, lacks replay value. I would have liked more emphasis to be placed on the speedrun elements. This would have demanded I played more and increased the challenge tenfold. Its small achievement list is a completionist’s dream and can be finished in under an hour.
Dojoran is a glorious journey to a wonderful era.
The weird froggy theme and basic style were admirable, and I loved the nod to a bygone era. I appreciated the striking monochromatic look and 80s synth wave music. The simple controls will be a hit with many gamers, yet I wish it was more challenging. I enjoyed it and recommend you to buy it here! Explore the dangerous levels and use your ancestors’ knowledge to stay alive.