Dodo Peak – Nintendo Switch Review

Dodo Peak is something special when it comes to indie platformers. It reminds me of a Qbert type of platforming with a Crossy Road type of feeling. A port of an Apple Arcade title now hops on to the Nintendo Switch. Dodo Peak delivers a basic gameplay premise with very addicting and challenging stages to keep you busy till the end. On the surface, Dodo Peak is straightforward to navigate with its primary function of utilizing the control stick. However, as simple as that may be, the challenges that await you will leave you with sore thumbs. The game contests your every move and makes you think on the fly to collect your precious dodo babies and guide them to safety. A task easier said than done. Should this title “peak” your interest? Let’s see, shall we?

“Eggcellent” Level Design

Dodo Peak Level Design

(In-game screenshot)

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As a platformer, Dodo Peak is unique in giving homage to the retro platforms of old. While at the same time, providing its own creativity that makes it stand out for its detailed level design. Six regions span 60 peaks within the game. Each peak offers a new way of approach that is vastly different from the last. On top of transversing the level, you must be wary of enemies that detour you off course—this where the game goes from smooth and straightforward platformer to a challenging nightmare. Dodo Peak does an excellent job of balancing out the speed with patience with its level design. You may deal with snakes while boulders are falling around you. Danger such as this forces a player to make critical decisions on the fly to protect not only yourself but your babies as well.

Each region offers its onset of challenges and adds to the diverse cast of obstacles your mind needs to adjust, from yetis charging at you within the snowy mountain tops or monkeys hunting you down within the tropical treetops. Enemies are lurking in every direction to stop you. Each of which takes a certain amount of strategy to overcome. Along with enemies, the actual levels themselves may pose a challenge. This includes the volcanic region that contains fiery boulders and hot lava pits that erupt after you land on them. You may deal with landscape changes within the desert region. The level of diversity always feels fresh and adds more layers of difficulty and room to adapt. The levels sometimes are tight to maneuver, and some may be open and allow for a wide arrange of routes and options to succeed.

Dodo Gameplay

Dodo Peak Snowy

(In-game screenshot)

 

Dodo Peak is as simple as it gets with gameplay. It’s using the analog stick or d-pad to guide your movements. Sounds simple enough, but hard to master on certain levels. While the fluid motion is great, I’ve always had a few issues with the sensitivity of the stick movement. Sometimes, I would randomly move in a direction I wasn’t attempting on moving to, and it caused me to fail. You can have the option of slowing down the speed from 100 to 50 percent if the pace is too much to handle. While the dodo movement is one thing, you also have to take into account the young dodos. They will follow you around once you break their eggs.

Protection becomes a priority not only for you but for the younglings as well. Any contact made toward them through enemies or objects will cause a fail. Sometimes you may have to pick and choose which egg to break first. However, you don’t have to worry too much with the helpful power-ups at your disposal. These power-ups come in forms of two consumables: beets and watermelon. Watermelon gives you a temporary boost in super speed, while Beets give you an increase in super strength. Kind of like the mega mushrooms in New Super Mario Bros. With these powers up, you can move past enemies quicker or take them out. The power-ups add a whole layer of fun and excitement.

Claiming Your Rewards

Dodo Peak Costumes

(In-game screenshot)

Dodo Peak offers many unlockables as you progress through the game. These unlockables are in-game costumes to dress up you and your babies. While the standard red is always an option, you may want to switch up your swagger to your Dodo game. These diverse arrays of costumes can range from being a hula dancer, a doctor, a cosmic entity, or being made of 24 karat gold. There are 20 different outfits to choose from, which can be unlocked through level progression, buying through coins, or completing weekly challenges. Having a fresh look is not the only benefit of changing costumes, but each one has a difference in speed. Costumes are the ultimate reward besides unlocking new levels.

If costumes aren’t your thing, then you can reward yourself by replaying the previous levels to place your name amongst the leaderboards. Each level has a leaderboard that can be looked at amongst players. Striving to place high amongst the leaderboard is always rewarding, as well as collecting any stars you might have missed the first time around. Dodo Peak has an Angry Birds type of reward system, where you are offered three sets of objectives in exchange for stars. This could range from completing a level within a certain amount of time, collecting the ruby, or taking out all enemies, as well as bringing home all the Dodo babies.

While the costume unlockables and leaderboards are sure to bring a bit more replay value to the game. However, there is not much do after the 60 levels are completed. No secret stages or user-generated levels that would keep me wanting more. The weekly challenges are subtle, but it mostly comes down to completing them and nothing else. Depending on your skill, you can complete the game within 2-5 hours, which doesn’t leave a lot to offer after finishing the game.

Overall

Dodo Peak is an indie game that shines with its creative and diverse level design, which is both challenging and rewarding. Within the 60 peaks, there are obstacles and enemy types that will change your strategic approach. The game adds a lot of flavor to its platforming technique. While the game is fun and offers it an array of rewards in forms of costumes and leaderboards, I just wish there was more to invest in with this game. If you are a completionist, the three stars goal should entice you to play more. It’s worth checking out at a reasonable price of $9.99 US. It is fun but frustrating, like what all platformers should be. Within this game is satisfying gameplay that should offer a lot of challenges for players to strategize and adapt. If you are bored and want to browse your Nintendo eShop selection, I will highly recommend downloading Dodo Peak.

Dodo Peak is available now for Apple and Nintendo Switch.

THE GOOD
Excellent and Creative Level Design
Fun, yet Challenging Gameplay
Colorful and Vibrant Animation
Simple Controls, but Hard to Master
Each Level Feels Satisfying to Accomplish
20 Diverse and Unique Costumes to Earn
THE BAD
Sensitivity of Analog Controls Can Be Frustrating To Deal With
Not Much Replay Value After Finishing The Game
8.5
Great

Review Summary

Dodo Peak is a great hidden gem amongst the vast indie game catalog of the Nintendo eShop. It’s an excellent platformer that is both fun and challenging. While the replay value is lacking after finishing the game within 2-5 hours. This is a fun platformer that is highly recommended to check out.

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Jovan Newsum

Writer. Designer. Idealist. Jovan is an avid gamer and moviegoer. If he is not commentating on local Smash Bros. tournaments, he is writing for TheGamer.com. He earned a B.A. in Marketing from Saint Mary's University of MN. Also, is the host of his own podcast: Gaming Talks! with Jovan Newsum.

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