The infamous Doki Doki Majo Shinpan! is about one thing: touching witches.
Forget the story, the art, the soundtrack – people play Doki Doki Majo Shinpan! because they want to feel up 2-D girls who may or may not be underage. Naturally, the game has garnered some attention for its … unique premise. But few Westerners have played it themselves. Whether due to the nearly insurmountable language barrier, the high cost of importing Japanese DS games or good old-fashioned shame, not many really know just what goes on in Doki Doki Majo Shinpan!
Consider the staggering variety of erotic manga, anime and games in Japan, and the premise of the game becomes fairly mundane. You touch a girl all over her body in order to test whether or not she’s a witch. As her heart beats faster, her true nature is revealed. It’s certainly not as bizarre as a company hiring office workers to sexually service employees (Spirit of Capitalism) or a superhero who makes peoples lives better by raping them (The Rapeman). But compared to traditional point-and-click dating sims, playing Doki Doki Majo Shinpan! feels more visceral, more real. You trace your stylus across her figure. You cause her to moan and cover her body. You make her heart beat uncontrollably. Depending on your tastes, just thinking about it can turn you on – or creep you out.
Unfortunately, touching witches isn’t as exciting as you might think. You end up randomly touching the girl all over the place in the hopes of finding her “sweet spot” – which I can assure you is rarely anywhere fun. You can poke her, use the “look” tool to stare at certain parts, blow on her in different areas or give her a knowing wink. Succeed at hitting those sweet spots, and your subject will change positions from neutral, to excited, to perky, where you might even get her breasts to bounce with excitement. Of course, if you ignore the signs she gives off and decide to prod her in the crotch until the cows come home, she’ll close herself off to you.
Much like a child’s pull-string toy, the girls only have half a dozen phrases that they’ll say, with several more to indicate how well you’re doing. If you don’t find the spots right away, their vocalizations quickly become repetitive. After about 10 minutes worth of prodding, moaning and groping, the girl finally lets out a groan of resignation that means you’ve poked her into submission. As a bonus, completing each round gives you a few moments to grope the girl to your heart’s content without worrying about her reaction.
The dialogue in Doki Doki Majo Shinpan! is surprisingly straightforward given the subject matter. Consider it akin to the Phoenix Wright series, save for the toddler-esque angel Lulu calling you a pervert or accusing you of having feelings for some of the girls. Most of the characters are stock anime and manga archetypes, so there isn’t much excitement to be had from watching the characters develop.
Yet, despite all this, whenever I mention that I’m playing Doki Doki Majo Shinpan! to my cohorts over at Destructoid, heads turn and eyebrows raise. Most of the staff thinks that I’m going off to play the game with one hand and touch myself with the other, surrounded by the other strange Japanese paraphernalia I’ve collected over the years. Why do people believe Doki Doki Majo Shinpan! to be the holy grail of pornographic games?
It really isn’t. Even the absurdly popular The Idolmaster lets you grope the young girls that you’re currently training. Just look at any shelf in the ero-ge section of a Japanese electronics store to fully explore all the perversions that Doki Doki Majo Shinpan! only hinted at. But while Doki Doki Majo Shinpan! isn’t as provocative as other games, there’s something about it that keeps it on peoples’ minds.
In the ongoing evolution of ero-ge, this title is one of the first that lets the user interact with the girl on screen in a more personal way. In the past, you could easily point and click between the girl’s legs and hear her emit passionate moans, but doing it with a stylus somehow feels more real. And that’s why we’re seeing things like Cyber Alice pop up. It’s disturbing and strange, but it follows this trend of trying to impart some depth to your interactions with 2-D characters.
Not long after Doki Doki Majo Shinpan!‘s release, other DS games have already come out that have surpassed that level of eroticism – namely, To Love-Ru. Based on a harem manga of the same title that started back in 2006, the series might as well just be an ero-manga. Oftentimes, harem manga focus on relationships between characters with a fair amount of fanservice, but To Love-Ru takes it to the extreme. Minigames have you performing activities like squirting milk onto a strawberry that a young girl is holding (while just happening to hit her clothes or face, where the white globs stick for a few seconds) or another minigame where you need to massage her ass.
Is Doki Doki Majo Shinpan! the be-all-end-all for games where you touch underage girls? Certainly not. It’s earned a place in the ero-ge hall of fame by simply being the first to take advantage of the DS’s unique control scheme. But unless you’re intent on playing this title as a piece of gaming history (and you’re fluent in Japanese), look to games like To Love-Ru to give you that strangely erotic feeling of touching 2-D women with a stylus.