Show of laughs.

Posted on September 25, 2008 at 2:23 pm by Ian Brown

The latest title to come from Rising Star Games is the party game: Bakushow. Bakushow is known as LOL in the United States and as Archime in Japan. Bakushow translates from Japanese as Big Laugh. This title is either one of the laziest games of all time or one made by a genius. As this title is a party game, there's no Single Player mode, so you need to play it with a few friends.

The basic premise behind Bakushow is to gather some friends, turn on the DS's and connect through the local Wi-Fi system using a single copy of the game. Once everything is up and running, the game will set the first challenge up for the players. After selecting a few options, a predefined time frame will start and an empty screen will appear, which is very reminiscent to Pictochat, and inside the allotted time frame each of the players has to draw whatever the challenge was. Once they're finished, it's sent across to the other players.

The challenge is announced to the other players, as well as the creator. Then it's time to draw or write the solution to the challenge. There's no limit on what the answer may be: it can be written or drawn and it can have relevance to the question - but only if the player wants it to. With a copy button added to the side of the screen to make sure that the joke can be repeated later on in the game, it's clear that humour is the entire point of this game. As the actual challenge has no relation to the points received, the player can set the challenge to draw a Seahorse upside down and another player can just draw a dog if they want to. It has no direct relation to the scoring, as the scores are up to the people you're playing with.

Bakushow is about fun: if the joke is funny, if the picture is's all down to how much enjoyment other players get out of a joke. When the time's up everything is sent in for a group voting, and the players are able to vote on their own or other people's creations. As the only way of winning the game is by scoring points from the other players, Bakushow is wide open for abuse and causing a constant tie.

The tagline of this game makes complete sense: "Bakushow is only as fun as the people you play it with." If the group are boring people, then Bakushow will lack any form of entertainment at all. However, if the group are all up for a laugh and don't take anything too seriously, then it's a great title.

Unfortunately, Bakushow shoots itself very early on. In a game where everything is about making everyone laugh, the option to use various colours in the pictures would have been a big bonus; however, this is not an option that's offered to the player. There's no keyboard or special character option, either. Therefore, everything has to be written in full, by hand, on the touch screen. This in itself isn't easy as all writing via a touch screen looks a little messy - it's like signing your name in shops on a touch screen. The signature looks like something, but it's not as good as if it were typed up or written on paper. These basic options are offered in Pictochat, which comes free with the Nintendo DS and has been since its launch in 2004.

The touch screen itself is very sensitive and works well; there's very rarely a need to go over the area that's just been drawn unless a mistake has been made. When the stylus is taken off of the screen, there's no bleeding either. The menu options are all very basic and easy, and everything feels very intuitive.

Bakushow just feels a little empty, as nothing is given to the player -- it's all got to be thought of by the people playing. This may be great if someone's slightly intoxicated as everything is fun and it's easy to have a laugh, but when you're stuck in an airport lounge with a few friends the last thing on an already sleepy mind is to ask everyone questions. Bakushow would have been much better if there was an option for a few little challenges to get the mood going.

Final Verdict - 6/10

Bakushow is really as good as the people that it's played with; fortunately, I played it with some great people. It feels a little incomplete in places, however, and there's a lot of room for change if a second is to come out. The lack of colours and a keyboard is criminal, but the game is great fun overall as long as being spoon-fed isn't something you enjoy.