Aside from going bang, it's the ability to time the bang that makes bombs useful. And dangerous.
So while explosive devices are grabbing headlines around the world for all the wrong reasons, employed by titles such as iBlast Moki, Boom It Up, Implode! they continue to be a staple gameplay device.Light the touch paper
A physics-based puzzler, Doodle Bomb doesn't let you change your bombs' fusing, but thanks to its mechanically oriented levels timing is a key element to getting the job done.
In simple terms, that job is getting the Bomb Master to the level exit using as few bombs as possible. Starting out, this is fairly easy. All you have to do is loft a bomb close enough to the green door control button to blow it up, thus opening the door and enabling the Bomb Master to make his escape.
You throw a bomb by tapping anywhere on the screen. The farther you are from the Bomb Master - who's hiding somewhere in the level - the stronger the throw. You can also tilt your iPhone or iPod touch to get the bomb to roll closer to your target once it's landed.Mechanical engineering
Of course, such problems wouldn't make for a very interesting game, so in short measure the levels become more complex. This typically involves machinery such as magnets, pipes and hinged floors, each of which are controlled by their own blue control buttons.
Other examples are moving platforms and gears, which are activated the same way but only move for a fixed period, which is why timing is important.
There are also red hatched parts of the scenery with which bombs will explode on impact, letting the blast through. Then there are the bizarre mice, which act as springs and enable you to bounce bombs off them and into the air.
Other obstacles include soldiers who shoot and explode your bombs in mid-air unless you stun them by bouncing a bomb off their heads. Or if you can get a bomb to roll behind them, you can blow their heads clean off.
The way these items are combined results in levels which range from incredibly simple to fiendishly difficult. Although each level is graded with a goal for the number of bombs you should use - meeting this will reward you with a Bomb Badge - you can actually use as many as you like.Demands of the game
Making Doodle Bomb so easy ensures you keep playing the game. Indeed, you can choose any of the first 35 levels in any order. You have to collect all 35 Bomb Badges to unlock the remaining 15 levels.
The issue with this approach, however, is that the game's level design isn't as well honed as it would otherwise need to be.
Indeed, it's suggested you can play the game two ways: quick firing as many bombs as you like, or carefully placing them. Obviously it's not true as you can only play the first 35 levels this way.
And even there, weak level design is apparent.
Sometimes, as in level 32, which has you firing bombs through narrow holes to be knocked into blue control units by spheres bouncing off mice in order to activate a pulley system, the timing of the moving parts and the bombs just isn't right.
Your reaction to what could be seen as the dereliction of the game designer's duty in favour of player's freedom will probably define what you think about Doodle Bomb.
For me, it's just too open-ended. I'd prefer more rigour, both in terms of the level design and the timing of the various moving elements, and what's asked of me as a player.
Indeed, some of the latter levels come across as being a bit silly in terms of what they demand of the player. In this way, a pleasant game in its early stages becomes too random and frustrating to be enjoyable.
Overall, then, Doodle Bomb is more of a damp squib than a big bang.