Version Reviewed: 1.03
Graphics / Sound [rating:4/5]
Game Controls [rating:4/5]
iPhone Integration [rating:4/5]
User Interface [rating:3.5/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:4/5]
I've scrawled a fair amount of creatures into the margins of my homework, but I've never been fortunate enough to see my little creations come to life. The hand-drawn world of Doodle Jump, though, is magical in a way that my humble sketches never were. The animated doodles create a fun, addicting game that will have you wasting more time than a mere sketch should warrant.
Doodle Jump is another pick-up-and-play game, and your job is to jump as high as possible in the style of PapiJump. Every time the little doodle-creature lands on a surface, he jumps higher; be careful, though, because the path up is fraught with dangers! There are platforms that will crumble beneath your feet, moving platforms, crazily drawn enemies, UFOs, black holes...the list of hazards is nearly endless!
Controls are pretty basic. You use the accelerometer to move left and right (there's no calibration, but it works fine), and tapping on the screen makes the Doodle fire a bullet (?) above him. Some instructions would be nice, but discovering things on your own is all right, too. It's a simple game, with simple controls and a simple goal—so what makes it great?
I can't name a particular feature, to be honest, but rest assured: it's there. The game has a certain flow to it, with the slight bounciness of the camera tracking your ascent upwards while you navigate the perilous path. Every obstacle and enemy has a great hand-drawn quality, and the graphing paper background makes the space theme seem nice and sedate rather than overdone. (Yep, that's right—each enemy is modeled after an alien, and the UFOs are a sort of giveaway, but it still looks like something out of math class.) Most important: Doodle Jump is just plain fun to play.
Oh, but there are some definite features that set Doodle Jump ahead of its kith and kin. For one, there's a sophisticated global leaderboard system that extends beyond the basic chart: while playing, little markers with player names will appear on the sides, marking the progress of other players. And, of course, there's the variety that other games (like PapiJump) seem to be missing.
I do have a few wishes. For one, there's no background music—not mandatory by any means, but it would've been nice to have some simple elevator music to accompany the sound effects. (You can play your own tunes, though.) Also, there's no pause feature. While this is apparently an intentional move by the devs to reward longer sessions in the leaderboards, it can make for some needlessly ended games and ruins part of the pick-up-and-play appeal.
Overall, Doodle Jump is well worth your time and money. It's a charming little creation that's perfect for momentary spurts of boredom (you know the type of game!). If you're a fan of PapiJump, you should definitely enjoy this contender. The unnamed doodle has plenty of personality, and the game itself will present you with a continuous, easy-going challenge.