Throughout most of my school career, I had more doodles and sketches in my notebooks than actual class notes. Imaginary videogame levels, swords, cars, tanks – whatever I could dream up. My talent was nil so they mostly amounted to scribbles, but my imagination filled in the rest. Doodle Blast! combines the whimsy of those notebook scribbles with super simple game play to create a game that’s high on style but sadly lacks substance.
The best part of Doodle Blast! is easily the graphic style. The background of the game looks like ruled graph paper and everything else just looks like – you guessed it – doodles. Lines are rough, don’t connect well, and look like they’ve been drawn in pencil. Almost everything is black and white and un-shaded. It has a rough hand drawn look that really makes the whole thing endearing even while everything is exploding.
When the game starts you have a regular tank with a single cannon. Killing enemies is as simple as tapping on them as the tank drives on its own. Over time, crates parachute from the sky and tapping on these add another gun/cannon to your tank. The new guns just plop on top of your old ones creating a tower of destruction that will eventually fill the screen. It’s around this time that the game devolves into insanity.
Enemies fly in from the right side of the screen, and your tank takes up the entire left side (once you get all those extra guns). You’ll now spend the rest of the game furiously tapping the screen in an almost random pattern. Any semblance of strategy goes out the window and it becomes half luck, half speed to see how fast you can tap all over the place.
Of course depending on what you’re looking for this might not be a bad thing. There’s no overarching story; your only purpose is to get your tank to roll as far as possible. There aren’t even any points for shooting things down – your only measure of success is how far you go. Previous high scores are displayed on screen as you pass them, similar to Doodle Jump. Normally I’d say that would drive you to play it again and again to get a higher score, but the game lacks the variety for that to actually happen.
A recent update fixed some glaring issues like the lack of a health bar. They also added a new Easter themed mini-game but it’s essentially the same as the standard game except now bunnies attack you instead of airplanes. The developer does promise more updates though, so we may get to see some good gameplay enhancements soon.
In the end the lack of strategy and variety hold Doodle Blast! back. Having one without the other can sometimes leave you with a satisfying game, but without either in the mix there’s not much to keep you coming back. There’s only real mode to play, and each game plays out exactly the same. The game is a lot of fun at first, but it just gets old fast. The art style is fantastic and with a good patch could easily become a game well worth owning. I have my fingers crossed that we’ll get another title update soon.