Doodle Flight is a shoot’em up developed by independent developer j2sighte.
- Killer cloud.
The recipe for Doodle Flight is simple: fill pan with shoot’em up, layer with tilt controls, and decorate with an art style true to the namesake. Your first taste of it probably reminds you of everything good about hardware specific controls and independent developers. You tilt your phone to guide your auto-firing ship through a field of projectile spewing doodle monsters who aren’t particularly concerned with aiming. Pencils, in-theme, attach to your ship and provide additional firepower. Homing rockets curve wildly from your ship towards unsuspecting drawings. A boss fires waves of predictable yellow balls that you weave between. It’s classic shmup gameplay, through and through.
While the difficulty ramps up considerably between the first and second levels, the formula stays the same. Different enemies fire the same yellow balls as the others, with the same inaccuracy (save for Hard difficulty, in which hyper-offensive enemies angrily shove their projectiles down your unsuspecting throat.) Eventually you might notice that your ship is definitely getting hit, but you’re not taking damage. The questionable hitbox doesn’t adapt to the various ships. Instead there is a universal area within the center of each that acts as it. This might explain the developer’s willingness to add an option to draw your own ship.
- Not everyone can be an artist.
Customization adds to the “everything is drawn” theme, but any fledgling Doodle Flight artist will quickly realize that without a stylus, drawing with any concern for detail is out of the question. While this failing can’t be attributed to the developer, it certainly takes some of the “draw” of the feature away. I’m skeptical that the developer drew the default ships with this tool. Maybe you’d be better off drawing a ship the shape of the hitbox and playing with that.
Your gamewinning ship with a proper hitbox won’t do much for you, though – the high score list is depressingly unpopulated. In fact, at the time of typing this, I’ve got the high score.
The enemies and background are true to the doodle theme of Doodle Flight, giving it the quirky style it aims for. Every level introduces new baddies, so by the end there’s proper variation. Despite such flavor, all those enemies only shoot different colored balls and missiles. Doodle Flight does spice things up a bit with enemy deaths; they explode into a short rainbow colored animation.
The in game music seems delightfully appropriate until it loops for the first time. The options allow you to turn the only the music off, but you’ll probably want to spare yourself the rhythmic beeps of your stream of bullets too.
The options allow you to calibrate what the tilt control treats as neutral, so after you’ve hunched over your phone for a few minutes trying to play with it flat, you can switch to a much less backbreaking angle of 45 degrees. The tilting controls seem to be very accurate in relation to your calibration, as well. It does, however, crash often on my 3G.
Doodle Flight delivers exactly what you’d expect, and nothing more. Your first few minutes of playtime might remind you of a better game you’ve played, but those pleasing memories fade quickly as Doodle Flight reminds you why that game was better.
MustTap Score: Iron Tap
It's technically solid, but what comes out is pretty plain.
For the price, DoodleFlight delivers what you'd expect: a quick burst of mobile fun. Unfortunately, it doesn't deliver much else.