Platforming games have been around for as long as I can remember. Whether its Mario, Sonic, Mega Man or the original Donkey Kong, the genre is timeless. Doodle Jump came to us at a time when the mobile gaming world was turned on its head with the popularity of the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. For a long time mobile gaming has been limited to Snake and Solitaire — those days are gone, and Doodle Jump was one of the games that ushered in the new wave of mobile games.
In Doodle Jump you play as Doodle The Doodler, a green anteater-like creature with 4 legs and many costumes. Doodle is constantly jumping, so its your job to guide him from platform to platform in an effort to climb as high as possible. The gameplay revolves around tilt controls where the player physically tilts the device left, right, forward, and back to move Doodle around the screen. The tilt controls are made possible by devices with accelerometers built in (I believe the game is playable on other devices without accelerometers, but I can’t speak to how the gameplay is on those versions). The only other controlled feature of the game is tapping on the screen to shoot at monsters, mowing them down and clearing a path before you run into them. I find the shooting to be one of the most difficult parts of the game, its very challenging to focus on tilting to move while tapping the screen in the right area to hit your target. The only major downfall I can point out to the accelerometer based controls is it makes it difficult to play while lounging around. I find myself sitting up as straight and proper as possible to get myself in the right position to tilt Doodler around the screen.
The levels dont seem to have an end, the goal is to just keep climbing, otherwise the only way a level ends is when you fall off a platform or get taken out by one of the many hazards. The game is so quick and increasingly more anxiety driven as you climb higher and higher. Doodle comes across an array of obstacles during his climb: Monsters, Black Holes, UFOs, Ghosts, Blizzards, Broken platforms, and Traps. Most of the hazards can either be jumped on (in the traditional Mario stomping a turtle sense) or avoided.
Doodle has expanded his wardrobe since 2009 when the game came out, not to mention different areas to jump around in. The themes include: Paper, Christmas, Space, Soccer, Underwater, Jungle, Easter, Blizzard, Ninja (with multiple upgrades for purchase) and most recently Halloween (with 12 different costumes to choose from).
One of the least talked about features of Doodle Jump is the multiplayer. In multiplayer mode you race one Doodle versus another. The winner is determined by who reaches the finish line first or whoever is the last Doodler standing (meaning the other guy hit a monster, fell, or got sucked into a black hole). The multiplayer is fueled by Apples Game Center feature where you send invitations to your friends to join a game or choose to auto match with a random player. There is one thing about multiplayer I wish I could change…level variety. In the single player version of Doodle Jump you have access to all these different themed levels with cool costumes and different environments —in multiplayer we only have access to the original level, paper, and the original green, 4 legged doodle jump costume. Fingers crossed for an update to that in the future, its really the only blemish on a great casual game.
What more could you ask for from a $1 game? Addictive gameplay, tremendous replay or continuous play value, multiplayer, and adorable themes. Doodle Jump is hands down one of the games that makes the most effective use of the mobile platform: Quick, Simple, Challenging, and Cheap.