The first game in the popular mobile series comes to current-gen consoles. But is Doodle God worth the higher price point on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One?
Doodle God tasks you with an immense assignment via a very simple gameplay mechanic. You are god, and you must create the universe and everything in it. To do this, you are given four initial elements: air, earth, fire and water, which you must combine to make more elements. Mixing air and fire gives you energy. Fire and energy creates plasma. Energy and air makes a storm. And so on. The game ends when you unlock all of the 200-plus discoverable elements through its four stages of evolution - but the more things you create, the harder it gets to find the right combinations.
Gameplay-wise, it's very basic but Doodle God's central hook is addictive enough that it spurs you on to uncover more and more of its items. There's a feeling of satisfaction when you figure out certain combinations, whether through your own smarts or via some basic knowledge of the sciences. While some pairings make sense (for example, paper + a feather = a book), others can seem either a stretch of the imagination or even nonsensical. Did you know that combining an egg with earth makes a dinosaur? Or that a fish mixed with knowledge makes an octopus? Me neither, but according to Doodle God, that's how it works. You learn something new every day.
The problem with these breaks in logic is that you frequently become stuck and just end up spamming random combinations until you find one that pays off. While this isn't too bad early on in the game, once you have dozens of elements to choose from, getting your next item unlocked in Doodle God can start to feel more like work than play. To alleviate this, you can press triangle to get a hint, which will show you two categories of objects in which there is at least one possible correct combination. However, the hint feature has a timer, meaning you have to wait for the next clue if the current one is no use. This timer is initially set at twenty seconds, but goes up all the way to two minutes in the game's final stages. If you were playing on mobile, this is where the "in-app" purchases would come in that allow you to buy more hints to skip the tedious wait times, yet the option isn't here in the PS4 version even though you can buy hints in other Doodle games on consoles such as Doodle Devil.
Now I'm certainly not complaining that there aren't microtransactions, especially as the PS4 version retails for $5.99, when you can get the same thing for 99 cents on mobile. It's just confusing as to why it's still a mechanic in the game. Were the developers just too lazy to take it out? Maybe. Whatever the case, the result is that you're often left waiting for up to two minutes with nothing to do but spam random combinations in the hope of something happening, rather than being able to move on to an alternative hint where the solution may be more obvious.
Another issue I had was not being able to complete the game due to what I can only assume is a bug or a design flaw. Pressing the hint button would repeatedly present me with the same two categories, but even though I tried combining everything in them multiple times, nothing worked. I had to resort to looking up a guide online and found that the elements I needed had gone missing from their categories. The only way to complete the game was to restart the final chapter and create things in a specific order as to not make the elements I needed disappear. It took two more attempts of carefully following the guide before it worked. Not fun.
Doodle God can be an addictive experience, but while it may be a good time killer on mobile, its highly marked-up price and pointless waiting times make it hard to recommend on console.
- + Simple, addictive gameplay
- + Satisfying when it makes sense
- - Annoying when it doesn't make sense
- - Overpriced on console
- - Pointlessly long wait times