Doodle Champion Island Games

Summary

Doodle Champion Island Games
Championisland.png
Cover art of the Doodle
Developer(s)Google
Studio 4°C
Publisher(s)Google
Platform(s)Web browser
Release23 July 2021
Genre(s)Sports, action, role-playing
Mode(s)Single-player

Doodle Champion Island Games is a 2021 role-playing browser game developed by Google in partnership with Studio 4°C. The game acted as an interactive Google Doodle in celebration of the 2020 Summer Olympics and 2020 Summer Paralympics as well as Japanese folklore and culture. The story follows Lucky the Cat as she competes in sport events across Champion Island to become the champion of the island, whilst completing multiple side quests such as helping people who are in need. The Doodle was removed on 6 September 2021 by Google but can still be played in Google Doodle archives.

The game features seven different mini-games themed around sports that appeared at the Olympics, including table tennis, skateboarding, archery, rugby, artistic swimming, sport climbing, and marathon.

Gameplay

Doodle Champion Island is a role-playing video game with elements of a sports game.[1] The player controls a cat named Lucky around an island with seven different regions that resemble different Japanese locations and geography, such as bamboo forests and mountains. In each region, there are features of seven island champions who all specialise in a specific sport. The sports themselves are mini-games, where Lucky earns a Sacred Scroll upon winning the mini-game. By beating all seven champions and earning their scrolls, the player is named "Island Champion".[2][3] The player can also join one of 4 teams each represented by a color and a creature from Japanese mythology. By competing in the mini-games, players accumulate points that are tallied onto a Global Leaderboard, with the highest-scoring team being rewarded the title of winner by the end of the Olympics.[4][5]

All the mini-games cover different genres of video games. For example, the Artistic Swimming event takes the form of a Dance Dance Revolution style rhythm game, whilst the Skateboarding event features a trick system similar to Tony Hawk Pro Skater.[6]

Additionally, each region holds plenty of side quests for the player to seek out. These side quests involve Lucky helping out the residents of the island in a variety of tasks such as item fetching and trade sequences. Some side quests can also unlock harder versions of the original mini-games.[7] All these side quests can earn the player a trophy which can be viewed in a house in the center of the island, named The Trophy House, with 24 to collect in total as of the Paralympics update.[8][9]

As of the Summer Paralympic Games 2020, two new side quests have been added, with one leading to an advanced version of Rugby. There is also an advanced version of archery made available from the beginning. Players may also reset their progression (for instance, to switch teams) by 'leaving the Champion Island' after talking to the Komainu gatekeepers present at the pier to Lucky's boat once all 7 scrolls have been obtained and side-quests completed, with the game's credits then being shown as Lucky departs the island on her boat.[10]

Plot

Lucky the Cat in the center of the island. She is surrounded by the captains of the 4 teams in the game, as well as 7 statues which point in the direction of each Island Champion. Lucky is also in front of the global leaderboard, which can display the current points of all the teams.

Lucky, a cat, arrives by boat at Champion Island, a place where athletes from around the globe compete with each other. Lucky is then confronted by two Komainu, who challenge her to a match of Table Tennis to test her skills. Once Lucky beats the pair, they believe her to be The Chosen One, and tell her of the seven champions of the island and that beating them would restore order to the island and make her the Island Champion.

Lucky can then choose the order to compete against the champions and beating each champion will earn her one of seven Sacred Scrolls.[11] These are:

  • The Kijimuna, a tribe that hosts marathons along a beach.
  • Tengu, who masters table tennis in a village now abandoned in a bamboo forest.
  • Princess Oto-hime and Urashima Taro, who compete in artistic swimming underwater.
  • Yoichi, master of archery near the island's lotus pond.
  • The Oni, a group of trolls who are champions of the island's rugby. In this event, Lucky is aided by Momotaro and his friends.
  • Fukuro, an owl who sits at the top of the island's mountain and observes the Climbing event.[12]
  • Tanuki, master of the Skateboarding event taking place in Tanooki City.

After obtaining all seven Sacred Scrolls and beating all the champions of the island, a large cherry blossom tree bursts into bloom in the center of the island, and falling petals rain over the island. The people of the island then congratulate Lucky on becoming the Island Champion.

If Lucky collects 23 of the 24 trophies, selecting the podium with no trophy reads the message "don't trust the bird", which activates the final side quest. Lucky is then tasked with finding the true trophy master, who is revealed to be Momo, the black cat from Magic Cat Academy, the Google Doodle for Halloween 2016 and 2020. This changed when the Paralympics made their debut, and anyone who has completed the 22 previous side quests and plays the Paralympic game without starting afresh can complete the 23rd and 24th quests without losing history of the last quest.

Development

The Doodle team collaborated with Studio 4°C to animate the many anime-styled cutscenes throughout the game as well as helped produce the game. In the early stages of development, the team researched for several Japanese folk stories and legendary characters as well as mythical beings from Japanese folklore. As a result, the main character, Lucky (a calico cat), was made because it depicts luckiness. Each sport champion also features a legendary or mythical character.[13][14]

The game itself acts as an homage to 16-bit gaming on top of Japanese folklore.[15] For example, some of the video game mechanics resemble old 16-bit video games such as skateboarding, which resembles mechanics from Atari Games' arcade game 720°.[16]

Art lead for Google Doodle, Nate Swinehart, said: "We wanted to make the Doodle for the Champion Island Games to really create an opportunity for the world to compete globally together and to learn Japanese culture at the same time."

The game's soundtrack was made by Qumu, a music artist known for remixing video game music on YouTube, with 217,000 subscribers as of August 2021.

References

  1. ^ Cryer, Hurin (24 July 2021). "Google Doodle Champion Island Games is an free-to-play RPG celebrating the Tokyo Olympics". GamesRadar. Archived from the original on 26 July 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  2. ^ Campbell, Ian Carlos (22 July 2021). "Google's new Tokyo Olympics Doodle is an homage to 16-bit video games". The Verge. Archived from the original on 23 July 2021. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Doodle Champion Island Games Begin!". www.google.com. Archived from the original on 9 August 2021. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  4. ^ "Today's Google Doodle Is a JRPG Styled Sports Game - IGN News". IGN. 23 July 2021. Archived from the original on 3 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  5. ^ Keane, Sean (23 July 2021). "Google Doodle joins Tokyo Olympics hype with anime-inspired game". Cnet. Archived from the original on 12 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  6. ^ Clayton, Natalie (23 July 2021). "Google's latest doodle is a surprisingly packed Olympics RPG". PCGamer. Archived from the original on 30 July 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  7. ^ Gilbert, Ben (23 July 2021). "Google made an elaborate 16-bit video game that pays homage to Japan hosting the Olympics, and you can play it for free right now". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 25 July 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  8. ^ Hood, Vic (27 July 2021). "Google Doodle Champion Island Games: what is it and how to play". TechRadar. Archived from the original on 16 August 2021. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  9. ^ Blake, Vikki (25 July 2021). "People are now speedrunning that Google Doodle game". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on 4 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  10. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4k8N4EKNxg%7Ctitle=Google Doodle Champion Island ENDING + CREDITS (Departing the island is now possible)
  11. ^ Phillips, Tom (23 July 2021). "Google's Olympics-inspired RPG is way better than it needed to be". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on 25 July 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  12. ^ Beckhelling, Imgoen (26 July 2021). "People are speedrunning the Tokyo Olympics Google Doodle game". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on 1 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  13. ^ Liao, Shannon (13 August 2021). "The story behind Google's biggest game yet: An Olympics-themed JRPG". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 17 August 2021. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  14. ^ Walker, John (23 July 2021). "Google Celebrates Olympics With An Entire JRPG". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 27 July 2021. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  15. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (23 July 2021). "Random: Google's 'Doodle Champion Island Games' Is A Retro Throwback". Nintendo Life. Archived from the original on 25 July 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  16. ^ Good, Owen S. (23 July 2021). "Google's Olympics Doodle is a full-size sports RPG". Polygon. Archived from the original on 2 August 2021. Retrieved 3 August 2021.

External links

  • Official website
  • Behind the Doodle: The Doodle Champion Island Games! on YouTube