Monday, October 16, 2017

Doodle Kingdom (PS3)


Doodle Kingdom is the third game in the Doodle series, after Doodle God and Doodle Devil.  It was developed originally for smartphones but was ported to the PlayStation family of consoles, and sold for a higher price.  It is designed for touch interface, even more so than the previous two games.  Not only does the menu have the cursor which is moved using the analogue stick, but during Hero Mode, you need to occasionally move the cursor around.  It is disappointing that they couldn't have made more of an effort to change all inputs to buttons.  The core gameplay remains exactly the same as the previous games but now focuses on the magic and fantasy side of things.  Gameplay translates well onto the D-pad and face buttons such that you can power through the game quickly once you know specific groupings.

The aim of the game is to combine two elements to create a new one.  Some of the combinations are intuitive such as Humans + Magic = Magician, while others are less so such as Domestic Animal + Magic = Unicorn.  Not every combination creates something new though which is annoying later on in the game when it constantly fails and you don't remember which combinations you have already tried.  However, if you are stuck, you have the option of using a hint to reveal a new combination to try.  Yet, since this is all the gameplay ever boils down to, it gets boring and tedious very quickly.  The trial and error gameplay causes the game to take a few hours to complete if you play through it blind, but can be completed within the hour if you use a guide to save on the frustration.  In addition to the main mode, there are three "Quests", which has exactly the same gameplay... but has a more specific theme such as raising dragons (continually combining elements to change the dragon from an egg to a full grown adult), and rebuilding a kingdom.

Lastly, new to this game, is Hero Mode, which is an endless runner in which the character runs forward, with a health and stamina bar.  The character automatically attacks and kills monsters (while getting damaged at the same time), and running depletes the stamina bar.  The player uses the cursor to pick up treasure, which is used to buy potions to restore the two bars, and upgrade equipment.  There are "Quests", which gives bonus experience points, for satisfying conditions such as opening a number of treasure chests or defeating a number of enemies.  Once again, this mode gets boring quickly and if it wasn't for some really grindy Trophy requirements, then most people would give up fairly quickly on this mode as it is completely pointless.  Overall, Doodle Kingdom as a sequel overstays its welcome.  With its paper thin gameplay, and the inclusion of a new mode which the game can essentially play itself without much input from the player, there is little reason to get this game, especially when the price tag is so excessive.

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