App Reviewed on: iPhone 4
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Doodle Rider is a cute, auto-running game that features some cartoony, equestrian antics. Starring Storm -- a horse that just loves running through an open prairie, eating carrots and collecting bales of hay. It's up to the player to time Storm's jumps just right or risk getting him too injured to keep going -- or worse. The farther Storm goes, the higher the score.
The gameplay is about as simple as it gets. The farther Storm goes, the faster he runs. He'll be met with obstacles along the way, such as bison, raised platforms, rocks and long gaps. Tap once to get Storm to jump a short distance; double-tap to get him to jump farther and higher. As he runs, groups of carrots pop up that Storm can collect to fill up his "carrot meter." When the meter hits "full," Storm gets a burst of speed and all the carrots turn to bales of hay for 5 seconds. If Storm trips over an obstacle, however, the carrot frenzy ends and he loses some health. If Storm loses all of his health or goes down a bottomless pit, the game is over and the distance score is finalized.
As the player collects hay bales, they can be redeemed at the barn to get valuable items and upgrades, such as horse armor, a cowboy to ride him, higher jumping power, more health, and more. The prices of these items are very high, however. The cowboy, for example, costs 5000 bales of hay, so you'll be playing for quite a while if you actually want any of these items. Upgrades are much less expensive, at 200 bales for each, but seeing as how hay bales are few and far between, it'll still be a few games before you can buy something. You're best bet is to get into as many "carrot frenzies" as possible, going farther and farther each time you play. Or, you can spend a few dollars and buy the hay bales needed to purchase items much more quickly. Then again, with plenty of achievements for pulling off stunts and long-distance runs, you'll be playing much more than you might expect, racking up the valuable hay bales in no time.
My one gripe with the game is that I would have liked to have seen a bit more polish on Storm's animation sequences after hitting an obstacle. As is currently, Storm just awkwardly floats backwards a few steps. A tumble to the ground and forward roll might change the game mechanics a bit, but it would look a lot nicer and make Storm much more endearing to the player.
The cute graphics and simple gameplay make Doodle Rider an excellent choice for younger kids, as long as parents are mindful of the in-app purchasing system. Overall, Doodle Rider might not hold much interest for older players, but still provides a challenge to keep parents interested while playing with their kids.