So, you might have heard of this franchise before. It's been rather successful on mobile and has had previous versions ported both to PC and to consoles, so chances are you may have come across it in some way (we even reviewed some here). There are loads of different games in the series and this one, Doodle God Evolution, takes all the content from both Doodle God and Doodle Farm, and combines it together into one convenient package.
When you first fire up the game, you'll be given a choice of where to start and I'd suggest beginning with Doodle God. It is the starting point for the series, and it also does a reasonable job of easing you into the gameplay. You play as God, and must fulfill your role as the maker of all things, by taking an empty and lifeless world, and filling it with all the joys of creation! "And how do you do that?" I hear you ask.
Well simple, through tile matching of course!
You start off the game with a few, very simple elements. These are listed in your ingredient book, and it’s here you'll spend the vast majority of your time. Split into two halves, left and right, both sides contain a complete list of everything you have available. By picking something from one side, and combining it with an item from the other, you will hopefully create a completely new element. An invalid recipe will do nothing but select the correct combination and you'll get a pop-up alerting you of a new discovery. So, for example, adding air to water will create steam, or mixing earth and water will make a swamp. These new elements can, in turn, also be combined, creating even more options to work with. All in all, there are around 250 elements to find, spread across 4 different chapters. Starting in The Beginning age with simple earth, air, fire and water elements, you'll quickly discover the early reactions leading to bacteria, plants, animals and eventually humans. This leads to the age of Technology and the making of simple devices like tools, huts and chariots, then to the Modern age with skyscrapers and computers. Finally, is a World of Magic, where creating fantastic creatures, like demons and elves, are the focus.
Looks wise, Doodle God Evolution isn't ugly, but it isn't impressive either, it was a mobile game so don't expect AAA photorealism. Saying that though, the basic cartoon art style does have a certain charm. The designs for each element tile are well done, and represent their ingredient to good effect. The virtual Earth is also very good looking, the chosen style works best here, and although it starts off relatively empty, it begins to fill-in as new combinations are discovered. These little additions are constantly popping up, and they add loads of interesting detail to the map. I actually wish we spent more time on this screen, rather than the ingredient book, because it's infinitely more interesting to look at. Sounds wise, there's really nothing to take note of, mostly basic selection sounds, they're instantly forgettable but never really annoying. Discovery of a new element will net you a "Great Discovery" sound bite or something similar, always said in a crappy Einstein style impersonation that does begin to grate, however it's nothing major in the long run.
As mentioned earlier, along with Doodle God, the content from Doodle Farm is also included here. This introduces a separate section that focuses on creating a variety of different animal types from all over the world. It has another 140 elements to discover, many of them new, but plays absolutely identically to Doodle God. No new map is available to fill in or anything, so if the pure Doodle God gameplay didn't hook you, this won't either.
Along with these two main campaigns, there are some other activities you can take a look at too. The Quest and Puzzle sections have a few short stories each for you to take part in, you might be helping Santa make toys, or aiding Cupid in creating his bow, but again these also play the exact same way as the other parts. Last up, is the Artifacts section, and here things are SLIGHTLY different. Instead of combining two objects, we have to pick three and mix them together. Get it right and you get the Artifact. Hardly a game changer, and like most of this title, it's really too simple to hold your attention long term.
And that's why Doodle God Evolution isn't a good fit for console. This simple, combine 2 things gameplay, is fine in shorts bursts. For the mobile version, where you play for a few minutes here and there, while occasionally discovering a match, this is fine. When sitting in front of a console however, the longer play time really just shows the limitations of what you're doing. There's no punishment for being wrong, so you can literally just brute force solutions by trying to combine them with everything. This isn't the most elegant way to play, but the gameplay is so simple and the options so vast, that it can get frustrating very quickly to try to reason them out. Also, while some of the combinations are kind of intuitive, others like "water plus glass makes Ice", don't even make sense. This obviously makes some things very difficult to create when relying on logic for the answer.
Another major consideration here is the price. The mobile version is available for free, or dirt cheap depending on version, and I really don't know why anyone would spend $15 to play it on console. Sure, you could use a guide and fly through it for the 1000 gamerscore but even then, it's hard to recommend. The Xbox version is also double the price of the Switch version, making it even harder to justify. If you find the game fun, and I don't know how you could long term, you should play it on mobile. If you REALLY need a console version, get it on Switch. Not even worth the price tag there, it certainly isn't worth $15 for an Xbox copy...
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 3/10
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