My DoItAll
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2009-02-16 Nintendo DS Educational E10 (Everyone 10+) Tomy Corporation

Tomy's tagline for their newest DS offering My DoItAll is "the all-in-one, tons of fun gizmo". Containing 16 different "gameplay" options, perhaps the title does have the all-in-one part down. But what about the fun? Well, that just depends on your definition of the word.

My DoItAll begins with a fairly detailed character creation process, as you create your Friend Card and customize your character with dozens of options in terms of hair, eyebrows, mouths, and so on, as well as various accessories like baseball bats and music notes, in order to help your Friend Card represent the real you.

Afterwards, you are taken through a short survey, detailing your birth date and favorite color, and are asked to create a password so that all of your information may be protected. This password protection is presumably only necessary because of the calendar option, which could, in theory, contain information of a more personal nature. Even then, forcing you to enter a password (or answer two "secret questions" if you forget it) seems like a bit much for a children's title.

Speaking of the calendar option, My DoItAll allows you to keep track of upcoming events like birthdays, anniversaries, parties, sporting events and so on by way of a calendar system much like one you would find in your email account (especially for those of you familiar with Gmail). You can equip your calendar not only with quick notes, but can set alarms as well, which is a helpful feature if you plan to devote a large amount of time to the title.

Other than the calendar, there are a few other features which could be considered useful, such as the World Map that displays not only every country on the planet, but also useful tidbits like capitals, populations, time zones and so on. The Periodic Table mode is great for those in Chemistry classes who can never seem to find a paper version, or who may lack internet access at home and need to find the atomic mass, etc. of an element, while the Calculator feature also contains merit, as, not only will it help you figure out, say, the tip at a restaurant, but also lists some of the "most used" formulas in math classes, like the area of a rectangle (or any other basic shape). While all three of these modes might only seem important to those in school, My DoItAll's target audience would be, so they are understandable additions.

Those three modes aside, the only REAL gameplay found in the title comes in the form of two card game options: Crazy Eights and Ninety-Eight. Crazy Eights will be familiar to those who have played Uno, as various ranked cards take the place of Reverse, Skip, and so on, while Ninety-Eight pits you against the computer as you both play cards to a center discard pile, all the while trying NOT to let the total pass 98 (face cards can either lower the total, do nothing, or immediately raise it to 98, while numbered cards simply add their value to the total).

The rest of the title contains a variety of modes like a dice thrower or arrow spinner, that allows you to name the wedges on a spinner (like the cardboard ones that come in some board games) and then see what the arrow will land on, as well as a voice changer that allows you to record short (under 10 second) sound bits and replay them either normally or with an echo, a higher pitch or a lower pitch. And while the voice changer does allow for some very immature humor (like recording curses that can then be replayed back in the same tone as the Chipmunks, or a million Darth Vader outtakes), these modes all combine into a very shallow experience that makes me wonder what the point of even including them really was.

All of that being said, the "fun" that can come from My DoItAll is entirely contingent on whether or not you know others who also own the title. While you can take advantage of a single card multiplayer experience with modes like Crazy Eights, the multiplayer in the rest of the title all but demands the use of a second game card, as there are various modes that are completely useless without friends, like the Friend Card exchange mode, the "Poll" feature that allows you to create poll questions for others to answer, and the "Box of Doom" game that plays as a game of chance between you and your real world friends, as you try to pick numbered boxed that aren't the box of doom.

For a title that offers so little in the way of traditional gameplay, Tomy has tried to make up for it in the customization department. Not only can you create a character using dozens of color and shape options, but the menu colors can also be changed to fit your mood, along with the ability to change the various sound effects within the game, and so on. For those younger children who might perhaps cling to the title as a way to show their "grown up" status (since it contains an in-depth calendar much like an adult would use), these customization options are sure to be appreciated, but for others, they again seem like pointless additions.

Considering that Tomy touts My DoItAll to be more of a lifestyle game than anything else, something that will help keep kids organized and teach them to be more responsible as they age, I guess the aforementioned can be looked at as a proper excuse for the mundane graphical and sound departments. Menus within the title are streamlined and uncluttered, all set against an unchangeable white (read: stark) background, while the sound effects themselves are the stereotypical blips and bloops we all became vary familiar with during the 8-bit era of past gaming generations.

All in all, as a "lifestyle" game, Tomy's My DoItAll is a bit of a double edged sword. While a few years ago, something with this many options might have been looked at as a great step forward for the DS as a platform, it is now presented as a rather shallow experience (especially at a steep $29.99 price tag) necessary only for those who are forever without access to the internet, which as a whole can offer everything My DoItAll does (with perhaps the only exception being the Voice Changer) in much more focused and well-rounded packages.

Special thanks to Ashley Shaw and Tomy for providing a copy of this title.