Earlier this week, CAVE revealed that former Windows Phone 7-exclusive shoot-em-up Dodonpachi Maximum would be coming to iOS today. While I fretted about that, as I always do when our platform loses a precious exclusive game, I also noted that the WP7 version would soon receive a patch adding the same new features promised in the iOS game. And now it has; the Dodonpachi Maximum version 1.2 patch launched today, the same day the game went multiplatform. There's just one little problem...
Dodonpachi Maximum version 1.2 release notes:
New Easy Mode with a brand new story! Uncover the mystery behind
super-hacker 1 Minute Rae as she breaks into the coveted weapons technology
firm: EVAC Inc.
New control options! Trigger Maximum's massive laser bomb with a
Brand new ship! Kick the tires and light the fires with EVAC CO.’s
latest technological marvel: the MX-07 marauding cat robot (Uoratou).
- More character voices, phone vibration when you get hit + much more
- New arranged soundtrack by fan-favorite Wasi303!
Before I share my impressions, let’s note that the game does not actually appear to have received a new soundtrack. The existing soundtrack always consisted of tunes from past Dodonpachi games remixed by Wasi303. If Easy Mode does include yet another remix of those tunes, I wasn’t able to experience it. I’ll explain why in a moment.
Turning Easy on
When you first start up the game after updating, you’ll receive a prompt asking if you’d like to turn on Easy Mode. The prompt mentions some bad news (which I already predicted): Achievements and leaderboard scores are disabled on Easy. Elitists will applaud the move, while more casual players who still like Achievements (such as yours truly) will be disappointed by it. You can play Easy Mode, but nothing you do matters, from a sharing and record-keeping perspective.
If you’d like to turn Easy on or off later, head to the Help & Options menu. Under the Settings submenu, an orange arrow now appears on the right side of the screen. Tap it to toggle Easy Mode, Vibration, and Bomb Use options.
Meet Rae and Uoratou
Maximum always had a very simple premise, considering the story revolves about a computer simulation of a shmup rather than saving the world. The new story adds a silly spin on that. A hacker named 1 Minute Rae (Rei) breaks into the simulation’s laboratory, knocks out its creator, and lowers the simulation’s difficulty in order to ruin the reputation of said creator. To view it, just select Story from Help & Options with Easy Mode enabled.
As for the new ship, Uoratou is instantly unlocked from the start and can be accessed in both Easy and Normal modes. His shot is a variable type laser. Stay still and it fires a concentrated, powerful blast; move around and it fires a wider but less damaging shot. Uoratou even has unique and light-hearted voice samples. Al told, he’s a fine addition.
Not so easy to play Easy
Now we come to the major hitch in this patch: Easy Mode just plain doesn’t work! After activating it and choosing your ship, you’ll be taken to the stage select screen as always. Unfortunately, not a single stage can be selected, not even 1-A, the first stage. They’re all locked! As such, you simply can’t play Easy Mode at the moment. The stage select screen is even more broken on Windows Phone 8; it actually crashes the game. Clearly something went wrong during the patch certification process.
Note that Normal Mode seems to work fine, even with the new ship. As such, players should be able to update safely for now. A subsequent patch that fixes Easy Mode is all but guaranteed to come along in the weeks ahead.
There is a chance that Easy Mode might work from a fresh install (not via update) on non-WP8 devices. If you’re able to test that, let us know in the comments below, dedicated readers.
Update: The game's price is showing up as $2.99 right now. This may be a price drop - we'll check with CAVE and Microsoft.