Developer: Bottle Rocket Apps
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

IMG_0343Doodle Jump has spawned a host of titles with similar names and sketchy themes, but Doodle Bomb shares little else in common with that high-jumping title. Instead, Doodle Bomb is a physics-and-bombs puzzler that has you lobbing explosives at control switches in order to help your character make his escape. Despite the relative easiness of the early levels, it’s still a lot of fun.

Doodle Bomb includes fifty levels, fifteen of which are extra-challenging “Master Missions.” In each level, you must trigger the unlock switch for the door, enabling the pirate-like “Bomb Master” to continue on his journey. To do so, you’ll need to explode a bomb next to the unlock switch. The “Bomb Master” throws bombs when you tap the screen; tapping farther away lobs the bombs with more force. A variety of obstacles turn this simple task into a puzzle. Soldiers will shoot any bombs they see; bombs bounce off of the heads of mice; exploding a bomb near a blue switch will trigger various machines; and bombs explode upon touching red blocks. Tilting your iPod will cause unexploded bombs to roll.

Most of the puzzle are pretty easy to solve once you master the art of bomb-throwing. Each level has a set “goal” for how many bombs it should take, and a “bomb badge” is awarded if you pass a level without exceeding the goal. If you want to play the last fifteen “master” levels, you’ll need the first thirty-five badges to unlock them. Even with that restriction, however, I found that it was easy to see how a level was supposed to be solved—good for kids, perhaps, but personally I would like to see multiple solutions with tiered awards based on how many bombs you need. As it stands, the puzzles are very Point-A-to-Point-B in nature and I encountered my first challenge around level thirty. That’s not to say that Doodle Bomb isn’t fun (it is!) but it’s more of a casual puzzle than a physics-based brain-buster. The level designs are entertaining, but nowhere near ingenious.

The doodle-art is cute and simple, exactly what I want from a doodle game. The art also lends the game a good dose of humor—the animations that accompany explosions are sure to garner a smile. Audio is similarly simple and limited to sound effects. Background music might be a nice addition, but it’s not really necessary. Easily pausible levels and a handy “restart” button are both much-appreciated features.

The overriding theme of Doodle Bomb seems to be “simplicity.” While this a great boon to the graphics and does make the game a lot of fun to play, I’d appreciate more complex level designs. As it is, Doodle Bomb is more about learning to throw bombs than challenging your brain, but it’s still plenty of fun while it lasts.

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