As though pulled from a sketchbook, A Doodle Flight isn't just controlled by your hand - it's drawn by it, too. This cute take on the top-down shooter brings homespun style to decades-old gameplay. Endearing sketches are all that keep it flying, though, as its derivative design keeps it from soaring to greater heights.
Piloting a personalised aircraft drawn using the in-game editor, A Doodle Flight takes you through nine stages, against nine bosses. Your sole objective is to obliterate anything that appears by positioning your fighter to shoot them down and evade incoming enemy attacks.
You accomplish this using a finger to move your ship as it automatically fires bullets toward the top of the screen. An option for control using the accelerometer is provided, though it's not nearly as agile as employing a finger.
The extra precision is necessary when facing a legion of sketchy foes. A Doodle Flight may appear whimsical, but its action is hard-edged. Enemies flood the screen - even in the earliest stages - and press you into darting about to avoid a barrage of incoming fire.
Boss battles are even harder, asking of you ridiculous feats of evasion while pursuing small openings for attack. One particularly tough battle features a penguin that improbably flies across the screen, leaving virtually no safe space. Another against an angelic figure fills the screen with so many bullets that it's all you can do to take just a few hits.
Bombs can be dropped to lighten resistance, and power-ups that bolster your attacks with added range and support drones help even the odds. A health gauge ensures you can take a few blows without being erased, though on Medium and Hard attacks do considerable damage.
Playing on Easy avoids frustration, but you can't escape the sense that A Doodle Flight is a slightly antiquated game redrawn. Aside from the ability to trace out and colour in a custom ship, there's nothing particularly compelling about the gameplay.
You can quickly blast through the nine stages, in part because of their shortness, but also because it feels routine at times shooting at the same cloud formations and green sketch monsters. Like a doodle, it's a cute distraction that has little to draw you back for more.