Version Reviewed: 2.0
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
When the App Store started, way back in the old days, I always imagined that I would be playing a bunch of slick games like Metal Gear and Real Racing. Never in a billion years did I think that I would be sitting here on my computer chair, reviewing games that purposely look hand drawn on grid paper. It all started for me when I saw the first build of Parachute Panic... the sloppy but clean pen-on-grid paper style just struck me right off the bat as something that I could come up with, yet never in a million years be able to execute. The style drew me in with its charm, and now it's sucking everyone else in too.
The newest, and currently the most popular, game with this style has just recently graced my iPhone with its lovely self. A Doodle Flight is a typical top down plane flying game in the same mold as Sky Shark and Galaga, where you are a plane that has to shoot down everything that flies at you. There really isn't anything unique about the game, other than the fact that you aren't in a space or a WWII setting... you're on a piece of grid paper. In this grid paper universe, you are hounded not by enemy airplanes and hellicopters, but by angry clouds, suicide bombing sharks, and of course, the Sun. Boss battles are even more intriguing, with such enemies as 'some kind of big angry cloud' and my personal favorite, 'Meatball Jesus'.
In this type of game, all you are really looking for is a unique style, long (or long enough) lasting gameplay, and good controls. Well, style this game has in abundance. On top of the crazed enemies that come after you, you have yourself to look at. Your ship, at the beginning of the game, is fully customizable. When I say customizable, I mean that you can draw your ship at the beginning to look like anything... it's completely up to you. Weapon add-ons throughout the game add a bit of color too. Normally, in these types of games, you would just get some extra blasters or a flame gun or something, but in Doodle Flight, you get missiles and pencils that shoot deadly blue ink. Beware though, when you get hit throughout the game you lose power-ups, making some of the later levels quite challenging if you don't strive for perfection.
An odd style choice, in my opinion, is the music that is playing throughout the game. Instead of an exciting soundtrack with heavy beats and guitars, the game uses a song that can only be described as Renaissance Festival theme music, complete with flutes! It's very odd, I must say, but I almost expect odd while playing this game.
The game currently has 9 levels, which is entirely adequate for a $0.99 game. You may not want to play for 10-20 hours, but it will definitely entertain you for a while. There is also a high score system that has been implemented, but I really don't think that it is entirely necessary. I like the idea of a scoring system, but, to me, unless it is super simple like Flight Control or Orbital, it's just not worth it. If you're into getting seemingly arbitrary scores like 13,149 by level 2, you do have many ways to rank them against the world. Right off the bat, the game let's you log into Facebook connect so you can score against your friends, but there is also a local and global leader board for you to chomp your teeth on. Unfortunately for you though, some guy named No√© perolini has 2-12th place with 124,565 every time... he's so consistent!
The controls are really quite interesting in A Doodle Flight. There are three options presented to you. The default is tilt, where you use the accelerometer to move your ship around the map. On all control schemes, the blasters are always firing, so that's not a concern, but flying around with tilt controls is a bit scary. The next option is touch, which makes your plane fly where you touch... simple enough. The third option, my favorite option, is touch + tilt, which allows you to 'drunk' fly the plane with tilt, but then maneuver to tight spots with touch. I don't know if this is the best way to go for a high score, but it sure is entertaining.
I really do like A Doodle Flight. It's unique enough to grab me from the get go, but simple enough to keep me playing. There is just enough stuff to do and beat in the game to keep this one on my phone for a good long while. The developers have also been adding onto the game, so expect even more gameplay in the future. For less than the price of Junior Bacon Cheeseburger at Wendy's, you really should pick this one up. It's worth that for sure.