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Free-to-play Doronko Wanko is an absolute gift

Doronko Wanko screenshot
Image: Bandai Namco

Normally I stay away from free-to-play games. They’re either stuffed with microtransactions or they’re just… bad. Not Doronko Wanko though. I’d pay good money for Doronko Wanko. But I don’t need to, because Bandai Namco has made it completely free, with not an in-game purchase in sight.

Literally translating to “mud dog”, Doronko Wanko puts you in charge of a cute little Pomeranian with free reign over a very fancy house. Taking control of your pome, you’ll find that he’s covered in mud — which you can shake off, creating mud puddles all over the room. You can then roll in those mud puddles, getting re-covered, which you can then shake all over the room again. Rinse and repeat. And, wouldn’t you know, getting mud everywhere feels good.

Basically, then, your goal in Doronko Wanko is to create as much carnage as possible in this beautiful, previously-pristine home. A brand new living room will never be clean again, and a very expensive wine cellar is going to be seriously devalued. So too the kids’ playroom, the kitchen, the den and the bedroom. Nowhere is safe from Doronko Wanko.

Doronko Wanko screenshot
Image: Bandai Namco

This will only take you 30 minutes to an hour to complete, but dare I say it might just be the best 30 minutes to an hour you’ll ever spend with a game that cost you a grand total of naught. As you create absolute destruction everywhere, you’ll find hidden pomeranian faces in the muck — and you’ll need to find all 12 in order to unlock the last, secret room. Along the way, you’ll also rack up a damage total: the higher the better. Various milestones will net you rewards, too.

Some of those rewards are merely cosmetic, like a cute little outfit for your Pome. But others will help you create even more mess, like an elephant hat that shoots paint out of its trunk. Or a cannonball that fires paintballs against the walls. Basically, then, everything in Doronko Wanko exists purely to be as fun as possible. And boy, does it succeed.

I’d love to see a feature-length version of Doronko Wanko: sort-of like Katamari, but rather than rolling everything up, you’re covering everything in mud. It has that same sort of cutesy, bizarre vibe, and it absolutely works. Give me more of this, please, Bandai Namco, because I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of creating muddy carnage as an adorable Pomeranian.

Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.