Game Reviews

Doodle Jump

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| Doodle Jump
Doodle Jump
| Doodle Jump

I've had real life experiences much like Doodle Jump. As anyone who has tried to walk up a flight of stairs after one too many cans of fizzy pop on a Friday night will sympathise, vertical travel can be a tall order at times.

It's much easier to forgive Doodle Jump's own (quite literal) stairway to heaven, however, as this is one climb you won't be too eager to complete. In fact, completing it isn't the aim.

Instead, like marking off your height on a wall chart, your job is to jump just that little bit higher each time, your previous attempts scribbled onto the map like targets.

Jump for joy

Using either the accelerometer (if your handset allows it) or keypad controls, you guide your jumping jack as he attempts to scale the heights from the bottom up. The actual jumping is taken care of - your 'doodler' leaps vertically a short distance whenever he lands on a platform - so your main input is to steer him left or right, from one ledge to another.

Green platforms are the safest aim, brown offering temporary refuge before crumbling, blue a moving target that can help you reach new areas left and right, and white disappearing upon contact.

It's this threat of falling that adds a sense of danger to play throughout. Doodle Jump keeps no memory of the world below. Like a ladder that loses it steps as you move up it, there's no refuge in Doodle Jump - drop below the bottom of the screen's current position and it's all over.

Offering similar peril on the way up are tears in the page that suck you in upon contact, the occasional beastie also out to cause you trouble.

Leap of faith

It's possible to shoot them, of course, Doodle firing vertically with the '5' key. But in truth, simply avoiding them is the best cure - there's often very little time to sit back and enjoy the scenery, as it is.

That's because Doodle Jump comes with boosts aplenty to keep you ticking over, springs shooting you up higher and higher, helicopter hats and jetpacks dragging you skywards. Tracking these down can be quite random, however.

In fact, the whole thing is especially haphazard. The layout changes from one run to the next, meaning chasing previous records isn't strictly fair.

Indeed, a lot of success in Doodle Jump simply comes from luck, but that doesn't stop it from being especially engaging. This is a base camp for mobile games - aware of its potential limitations, focusing instead on delivering a tight, neat, snippet of addictive gameplay.

By drawing in its scope, Doodle Jump still manages to scale some rather impressive heights.

Doodle Jump

Serving up the simple yet addictive gameplay mobile gaming thrives on, Doodle Jump isn't especially complex or revolutionary, but its jump-based play is as playable as they come