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Developer: Nemgo Entertainment
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS

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

 
Meet ‘Doodle Dave’, the stick-man star of Nemgo Entertainment’s Doodle Pixel. Drawing from a simple art-style that we’ve seen in a few iOS titles now, although this time around the player will have the chance to sketch atop the mathematical grid paper as well as the developers.

Doodle Pixel asks the player to help Dave reach the finishing line (signified by a chequered flag) as quickly as possible by way of doodling shapes on the screen. These shapes become objects in the game that can be used to assist Dave along his way. Whether he needs to jump to a higher platform or cross a gap in the coloured pixel-built terrain, there’s a doodle for the job. Boards, blocks and trampolines are a few of those on offer. Only certain shapes will work, though. I kind of expected to go into the game with the ability to draw anything on the screen – perhaps I was thinking rather ambitiously – but that’s not the case. There’s actually only six different doodles which unlock gradually as Dave progresses through the levels, of which there are 32.

The principle is simple enough and it works well in theory, although in practice the controls seem a little awkward at times. While drawing shapes on the screen is a concept as easy as anything, it’s also necessary to tell Dave where to go by tapping the lower portion of the screen – he can walk or run, left and right, as well as telling him to stop by tapping the little guy himself. When mixed with drawing shapes and placing objects, it all feels a little convoluted at times – and certainly a lot different than I was expecting upon first playing.

A feature that I do really like about the game, though, is the way in which later levels allow the player to find their own route to the finish line. Seeing as leaderboards are time-based, it’s not just about completing a single route as fast as possible. To get the best times it’ll be necessary to zoom out and take a look at the surroundings, planning not only which route is fastest, but also which shapes can be used. Placing a shape costs time, with the more elaborate ones costing several more seconds than the simpler ones – all of which means there’s a lot more of a strategical element than first meets the eye.

Unfortunately, however, Doodle Pixel couldn’t quite grab my attention as much as some games I’ve played. The controls were a little off-putting, meaning it wasn’t quite as easy to pick up and play as a lot of iPhone titles would be. This was made more true by the faint grey tips that appear in the background which are slightly tricky to read – they’re there to help out really, but were rather distracting on the most part. There’s some good things in there, and the game works in a way that’s enjoyable to a certain extent. But it lacks the polish and experience, meaning a really good idea becomes a fairly average game – a good shot for the developers very first game on the platform, but it’s not quite on target.

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