A doodle epidemic is spreading through smartphones across the land. Doodle games are popping up everywhere you look--on iOS and Android devices alike. There might even be one in your pocket right now.
What distinguishes doodle games from the pack is their graphics, which look like something you might scribble in the margins of a piece of paper. In fact, the backgrounds of most doodle games are lined to look like notebook or graph paper, and they generally have a whimsical sense of humor. Doodle Jump was one of the first games to employ this aesthetic, and it's also one of the best.
In the game, you control a strange little alien creature named Doodle that kind of looks like a light bulb with a snout and four buglike feet. Your goal is to help Doodle hop as high as possible up a never-ending set of platforms without falling.
Doodle hops automatically, so all you have to do is control its left and right movement by tilting your phone. The tilt controls are finely tuned, so it's easy to get the hang of the game. Early on, platforms are everywhere, making it easy to jump up the first few hundred feet. But as you climb, you find fewer and fewer platforms, which makes it all the more likely that you might miss your next jump. If you fall past the bottom of the screen, you plummet to your demise.
As you continue upward, the game introduces new game elements. You see cracked platforms that aren't safe to jump on, platforms that move, and some that change color and disappear. Scattered enemies appear throughout the game. Touching enemies kills you instantly, but you can dispatch them by tapping the screen to spit a rock at them. You must also be aware of black holes; they can't be killed.
Not everything is out to get you, however. You can also find springs, trampolines, and jetpacks that give you helpful, satisfying boosts. The game tracks your high scores using online leaderboards as well. As you climb, you see screen names of some of the people whose high score you're beating. This is a very slick way to tie leaderboard scores into a game. If you get tired of the standard graphics, you can swap them out for one of the seven other skins available in the game, including a spooky Halloween world and a snowy winter wonderland. The game plays the same regardless of what theme you use, but the variety is appreciated.
The biggest complaint you might level against Doodle Jump is that it's overly simplistic--all you're doing is jumping, after all. On the other hand, that simplicity is part of the appeal. This is exactly the kind of game for which you pull out your phone and play for a few minutes; it's ideal for when you find yourself waiting for the bus, waiting for the train, or with a bit of downtime.
This review was provided by GameSpot mobile content partner SlideToPlay.com.