Steam Price*: $5.99
Platforms: Win, Mac, Linux
*Doodle God is available on almost every mobile platform you can think of, and is also playable in browser at sites like Kongregate as well as on Facebook. For purposes of this review, I am focusing on the Steam version, which has recently removed all microtransactions from the game.
I honestly can’t remember when or where I first heard of Doodle God. It’s likely I played it in a browser at some point – I didn’t jump on the iOS bandwagon until 2013, about three years after Doodle God started taking the mobile games market by storm. The game has been expanded several times, and there have been a handful of follow-up games, but last years Steam version seems to be one of the most comprehensive, containing four chapters of classic game play, as well as quest, puzzle, and artifact modes, and the tournament mode, which I believe to be exclusive to this edition.
The idea behind Doodle God is simple. Combine two elements to create new elements. While some combinations make clear literal sense, others are more metaphorical, and still others seem – at least to me – to make no kind of sense at all. Because of this, the game sometimes seems to devolve into an exercise in trial and error, or require an over-reliance on the hint system in game.
Approximately seven months after release, JoyBits decided to remove all in-game purchasing from the Steam version of Doodle God in regards to consumer complaints. However, in doing so, they also removed a key game play feature – the different frames explained in the screenshot above. I never much cared for the different types of in-game hints in the Doodle series of games, I loved the frames which let you know if an element either couldn’t be currently matched, or would never lead to another element.
The few additions I noticed that were not in previous versions that I have played felt very minor. Sure, the globe that updated with new elements as you discover them was nice to look at it, but it also pulled you right out of the game; after the second or third time, I started to resent it more than appreciate it. The rewards for completing specific elements really only seem to exist to give you the currency to play the competitive Tournament mode, which I didn’t find at all compelling.
For me, there’s nothing in this version to recommend it over the other free or cheap versions of Doodle God available on other platforms. If you’re overly annoyed by in game purchases or advertisements, and you feel as if you must play this game, you might be best off with this version, but for most people, playing it in browser, on Facebook, or on their phone will offer as good of, if not a better, experience. Which is a shame, because the port was done well enough, I just don’t think JoyBits really thought through how to turn Doodle God into a pay-to-play game.