Doodle Find Review: The perfect portable object hunt

Hidden object games on the iPhone have had a chequered past at best. Squeezing a PC mainstay about tiny, hard to see objects onto a tiny, hard to see screen is a recipe for trouble. When they get it right things are still far from perfect, and when they get it wrong the results can be disastrous. Doodle Find bucks these trends, creating an object hunt tailor made for the iPhone.

Rather than searching a room or other piece of scenery for well hidden items, Doodle Find puts everything up front. Players will be presented with a 7×9 grid filled with objects, and will be tasked with finding all of a specific item. You may need to find 3 bells, for example. Or 6 socks. Once you do you’ll be given a new task. The process repeats itself over and over until 90 seconds is up, at which time you’ll take your score and see how you stack up on the global leaderboards.

Doodle Find

Players familiar with Klicktock’s previous game Super Search 60 will instantly recognize this formula. With the exception of a few tweaks, the gameplay here is identical. The main differences are that the game now lasts 90 seconds instead of 60, and when the game starts the grid isn’t filled with items, but only partially filled. The new partially filled grid is a nice improvement, as it gives each 90 second experience a smooth progression in difficulty. Things are easier at first because there are fewer items to sort through, but as time ticks down the grid quickly fills up. This is the single biggest improvement over Super Search 60, offering a nice twist on the original formula.

The other noticeable difference from Super Search 60, and it’s a big one, is its art presentation. As the name suggests this game embraces the “doodle” trend. Unlike other games with this moniker, however, the presentation doesn’t feel lazy. A good deal of polish has gone into the items on the grid, making this feel more like the doodles of an accomplished artist than the stick figures most would normally associate with the term. “Doodle” is all too often a euphemism for “we didn’t have an art budget/any artistic talent.” Nothing could be further from the truth here.

Doodle Find

It’s hard to find any real complaints about Doodle Find – especially at its low low price of free – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. The game offers achievements and leaderboards, but they’re not tied into an iPhone gaming network of any sort. We would have loved if our achievements upped our OpenFeint or AGON scores, but the program here remains entirely in-house. The leaderboard could use some tweaking as well, offering only a weekly global high score and forgetting about all of your previous accomplishments. You can share your scores on Facebook, but that’s just not the same thing.

Doodle Find refines the formula established in Klicktock’s previous iPhone effort splendidly. The term “hidden object” is all too often associated with only one kind of gameplay. Doodle Find reminds us that an object hunt can come in all shapes and sizes. When a game is this good and free, how can you not give it a shot?