Things are a bit mad at the minute, aren’t they? Let’s have a welcome break from the election carnage and play a Japan-only Nintendo DS game based on then-popular (and still enjoyable) manga/anime Keroro Gunso, better known in its gratefully-sanitised Sgt. Frog form. Seriously, read the localised one; you do not need to see nipples to enjoy this comic. Nipples are not funny, and their presence worsens it.
Oh for god’s sake, I hear you mutter, you and your stupid licensed frog game and your nipples. But wait! You’ll like this one!! Because it’s a blatant rip-off of Klonoa! Or (chortle) should I say (guffaw) a CLONE-OA?
Sorry. Yes, no, yes. Chou Gekijouban Keroro Gunsou – Gekishin Dragon Warriors de Arimasu! (gasp) is a Klonoa game, almost. A bit. While it lacks the complexity of that series’ later levels, the mechanics are here – frontline frog Keroro uses some manner of device that happens to act exactly like Klonoa’s wind bullet, utilising enemy grabs and throws in precisely the same way, right down to the assisted double-jump.
This blatant plagiarism isn’t the only component of the game, mind you. The other members of Keroro’s squadron of raging ribbiters are playable too, each with their own playstyle. Tadpole Tamama uses a more straightforward aggressive style not dissimilar to Warioland, Giroro has a burst-fire weapon akin to Mega Man, Kururu has the ability to use enemies as platforms ala Metroid and Dororo uses a sword not entirely unlike that of Mega Man Zero. So, it’s the united colours of robbing ideas, basically. And it works, because the game is enormous fun, with plenty of light-hearted platforming wonderment to croak your way through.
Stages are short, breezy and frankly never particularly challenging. There’s added value, so to speak, in the hidden Gundam model kits in each level, but even these will be a pushover for genre veterans. Each character has a powerful charge attack to go with their already fairly devastating weapons, some of which come into play in the puzzles – Kururu’s ability to control enemy movements and Giroro’s reflective laser most prominently. The collectable and numerous gems also offer additional bonuses such as screen-clearing cameos of other characters from the anime such as Fuyuki and Natsumi, making things even simpler.
So, as fun as it is, you shouldn’t play this for the challenge. There’s plenty to unlock, but we’d estimate you can comfortably 100% it in around four hours of sustained gameage. There’s an additional and very silly feature to mess with, in which you can place printed-out overlays on your DS’ bottom screen in order to trace symbols and unlock extra content and characters, who make the game easier still. Oh.
It’s familiar for sure, but well designed and very nice to look at with typically cute Inti Creates animation. It’s just a blast to play, and doesn’t require any Japanese knowledge at all. There’s a story, sure – based on a movie – but it’s almost certainly a huge pile of rubbish, so who cares? Skip past all of it and have some cheerful froggy fun.