Game Reviews

Doodle Kingdom

Star onStar onStar onStar offStar off
| Doodle Kingdom
Doodle Kingdom
| Doodle Kingdom

Good news for those of us currently nursing a god complex: JoyBits is offering another chance to create and manipulate life.

Doodle Kingdom is a follow-up to Doodle God, a popular match-and-make puzzle game that hit mobiles in 2010. Doodle Kingdom utilises the same premise as its ancestor: match up basic elements to create new, more complex forms of life.

Doodle Kingdom even includes a few side-quests that involve specific tasks (matching up elements to create dragons, for example). It's interesting while it lasts, but unfortunately it doesn't last long - and there isn't much replay value to be had, either.

Paper god

In Doodle Kingdom, you are God. Your quest to create a rich tapestry of life begins with a few measly elements (in other words, there's no sentient life around to bother you with questions about why bad things happen to good people).

In time, you create over one hundred complex living beings by matching up your starting elements, and then matching those up in turn. For instance, two elements you begin the game with are Flatlands and Life. When you pair those up, you get Humans, Beasts, and Forests.

Then you can combine Humans and Forests to get Lumber and Berries. You can combine Lumber and the Sea (another starter element) to make a Raft. The Raft and the Sea can be combined to make a Ship. And so on until you've made Soldiers, Castles, Wizards, Elves, Dwarves, Dragons - everything you need for your own little medieval world.

How to Train Your Necromancer Prince

Though the premise for Doodle Kingdom sounds pretty exciting, it's worth pointing out that there's little animation beyond the game's icons flying around to bring forth a new element.

What's more, when you reach the pinnacle of creation, the game often shuts the book on that particular element. You receive your point for discovering the element, and that's it. Is there anything sadder than a unicorn with no raison d'etre?

That's not to say all your creations lack a place in life. As you create new forms of life in the main campaign, which is called Genesis, you gradually unlock the ability to play three sub-games: The Return of the King, The Necromancer's Uprising, and How to Train Your Dragon.

These sub-games work much like Genesis -you match up elements to create new elements, though this time there's a bit more of a story behind your actions. Every element you create as the Prince goes towards restoring his father's ruined kingdom. Every evil critter you brew up as the Necromancer is one step closer to world domination.

And every dragon you hatch in How to Train Your Dragon is - well, it's a new dragon. Do you need any more motivation than that?

Doodle Kingdom also includes one other sub-game that's a bit odd - My Hero, in which a warrior runs forward and slays enemies while you keep him supplied with potions and other provisions. There's not a lot to it, though the graphics are nice and the monster designs are neat.

You rule

Doodle Kingdom is more of a diversion than a game, but that's not a wholly bad thing. It's fun to give your mind a bit of exercise while you attempt to make sense of the pair-ups.

It's all over in a couple of hours, and you likely won't revisit the title because you already have all the answers - but being a god is a big responsibility, so maybe you shouldn't overdo things anyway.

Doodle Kingdom

Doodle Kingdom doesn't deviate far from Doodle God's original formula, but the addition of fantasy elements and new sub-quests is entertaining