Developer: ERWIN JANSEN
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆
Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

For the moment, at least, Doodlegate 2011 has passed. And so begins yet another slew of games that co-opt the name “doodle” in hopes of recapturing some of the lightning in a bottle that is Doodle Jump. The latest of these is Doodle Arcade Shooter, a game that is fun in and of itself, but just doesn’t need the whole “doodle vibe” surrounding it at all.

So what is the “doodle vibe”? I think it’s the idea that somehow the monstrous success of Doodle Jump is primarily due to its graphical presentation. This is preposterous, of course, as the game is simple, easy to pick up and play and unquantifiably addictive. The fact that it has a doodling theme is nice, but it doesn’t make the game sell a jillion copies. The developers of Doodle Arcade Shooter just don’t get this.

Doodle Arcade Shooter is, indeed, an arcade shooter, like several others on the App Store. You control a vaguely WWII-era fighter plane as wave upon wave of enemies descend upon you from the top of the screen. Clear a set of enemy fighters and you are rewarded with a power-up – shields, maybe, or wingmen or upgraded weapons. The game just keeps on hurling enemies at you until you make a mistake and run out of health. It’s the latest version of a genre that has been around at least as long as the Atari 2600′s River Raid.

The game is entertaining, though highly derivative, but the main problem is marketing it as a “doodle” game. I just don’t see much of the doodle motif present in the game at all. The background has a sketched black and white appearance, but nothing I immediately associate with doodles, and your main fighter (as well as your enemies’) is rendered in color exactly like every other shooter out there. How, exactly, does that make this a doodle game?

If it seems as though I am making too big a deal out of this mis-theming of the game, it’s only because there was an opportunity here for something, if not original, at least clever and entertaining. As it is, try something else. There are plenty of other arcade shooters out there.



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