Thanks to the ID@Xbox program, Xbox One players have had the opportunity to play far more games than many would have imagined. In some cases this isn’t necessarily a good thing, but most times it simply allows more console gamers to play PC and mobile games on their Xbox. This is the case with Doodle God: Ultimate Edition. Originally releasing on the iPhone and iPod Touch, Doodle God went on to be playable on ArmorGames and Android or Windows phones. I for one never expected to see Doodle God get a console release, but I can say that I am happy that I have. While a lot of the game is very similar to previous iterations of the game, the Ultimate Edition easily provides the most content with the greatest variety.
A large part of what gives the game so much to do is the inclusion of various game modes including quests, puzzles, artifacts, and the main game itself. Each of these modes are different and offer various ways to play. In the Quests mode, players will be tasked with combining given elements to complete a particular task. For example, there is a quest that has players “Save the Princess”, where players use elements such as King, Dwarf, and Dragon to ultimately save the aforementioned princess. In the Puzzles mode, players will need to figure out how to make a particular element from a group of given elements. Puzzle mode focuses far more on one specific element and only gives players a set amount of elements to make it with. This is the polar opposite of the Artifacts mode, which has players try to figure out the combination of elements that will create a particular artifact. Doing this wouldn’t be that hard if it weren’t for the fact that three elements have to be chosen and there can be multiple instances of the same element in a given combination.
There is a Tournament mode that pits players against one another to see who is the true Doodle God, but I can’t say too much about it because I didn’t spend as much time in that mode as I did the others. The most important mode has to be the Main Game, which is broken up into several chapters that mark various technological times throughout history. In the Main Game, potential Doodle Gods will start with a simple four elements and will eventually combine enough things to make over two hundred different elements to work with. This mode is made much more interesting when many of the elements add visual representations to the world map. One of the first things added to my world was a large volcano that I thought was a neat way to reward the player. Since there are so many possible combinations, less patient players may want to make use of the hints and power-ups available through the in-game shop.
These hints come in three different variations and effectiveness. The most common hint shows elements that could be created from existing elements, making it possible for players to reverse engineer the new element. The next hint shows two groups of elements that have an undiscovered reaction. The final hint simply automatically performs a random reaction for the player. These hints can be wonderful short-term solutions, but ultimately run out and have to be bought if the player wants more. Alongside these hints are various power-ups that can do things such as showing different borders around elements to tell whether they have a pair or not and a power-up that disables previously discovered reactions. All of these niceties make the game accessible by nearly anyone even remotely interested in the game.
Besides the extra hints and power-ups, the games core content is casual enough for nearly anyone to pick up and play. Since most people know how Doodle God plays, I won’t spend much time covering it. For those who don’t know, Doodle God is played simply by adding two elements (sometimes the same element twice) together in order to make a new element that will be used to make more elements in the future. Normally this would be done by tapping or clicking two icons, which clearly can’t be done on a controller. To address this, JoyBits came up with a control scheme that makes use of each of the analog sticks and triggers. This control scheme works wonderfully but doesn’t feel like it’s intuitive (or popular) enough for players to just pick up without a short explanation and some practice.
The controls are far from the largest issue within game has. First and foremost has to be the eventual repetition the gameplay naturally creates. This repetition may quickly kill the fun for many gamers. On top of the repetition, the achievements encourage players to play without hints, which leads to players using a trial and error method that reduces the game to simply trying countless combinations mindlessly until something happens. Finally, if you have played Doodle God before, the Ultimate Edition may not be for you if you simply had your fill of the game in one of its previous versions. Personally, I still enjoy Doodle God’s formula and imagine I will be playing much more of the Ultimate Edition in the coming months. Whether it is one of the small new additions or one of the various new modes there will be plenty to do.
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