Review – Doodle God: Evolution (PS4)

I remember playing Doodle God waaaaaaaay back in the day for my first iPhone, literally a decade ago. For a 2010 mobile game it was quite fun, albeit as shallow as a puddle, as to be expected. My interest towards playing on a phone eventually diminished over the following decade, but I was looking forward to playing Doodle God: Evolution on my PS4 after finding out about its upcoming release. I was also curious to check out how the developers would adapt the most mobile-friendly puzzle game I have ever played onto a console with buttons and sticks.

Doodle God: Evolution

Apparently, death metal is a natural element. I mean, I won’t argue about that.

If you’ve never heard of Doodle God before, the premise goes as follows. It’s a simple puzzle game in which you need to combine two elements in order to create a brand new one. At first, all you have in stock are the four main elements and you’ll create simple things like mixing wind and earth to come up with dust, or earth with fire to create lava. Soon enough, you’ll create more, err, “esoteric” elements, such as vodka, sex, dinosaurs, and happiness. What starts off as a simple logic-based puzzle quickly evolves into pure unfair nonsense. The real kicker of the mobile version is selling hints and tips to the player, as things eventually become way too complex for anyone to handle. That’s obviously not the case with this PS4 port.

Doodle God: Evolution is basically a collection of two different “Doodle” games in one: Doodle God and Doodle Farm. I say “different” in theory, as they feature the exact same gameplay loop. The former is the huge, nonsensical collection of crazy elements you already know and (possibly) love. It’s full of unfair combinations and mind-bending puzzles that basically require a guide in order for you to beat. Doodle Farm is a much smaller variant of the same gameplay style, but focused on animals. It’s still very nonsensical though, as you’ll have to mix “dinosaur” and “fish” in order to get a dolphin, for instance. Who the hell came up with these combinations?

Doodle God: Evolution

I’ll give credit where credit is due, this is pleasing to the eyes.

Those are fun games, don’t get me wrong. It’s unfair, yes, but it’s entertaining. It feels great to finally come up with a new combination that works. It’s just best suited for a mobile phone, of course. This isn’t exactly a fancy adaptation. It’s as basic as it can be, as it looks and sounds cheap, just like its original mobile version.

The UI is still the same as the mobile version. You’re basically looking at tons of small icons throughout your entire playthrough, as well as some (un)funny blurbs about the new element you’ve just unlocked. All buttons, menu options, as well as the entire interface, is comprised of the same big icons from the iOS and Android versions. Suffice to say, it doesn’t look great at all on a big screen. However, the big planet which features all of your unlocked creations is quite nice to look at, especially after filling it up with lots of new elements. Also, don’t get me started on the downright abysmal soundtrack and voice acting. I ended up playing Doodle God: Evolution on mute after a while.

Doodle God: Evolution

This game does not feature an intuitive control scheme.

The game is certainly playable on a Dualshock 4, but the control scheme is far from ideal. It’s very confusing at first. You need to get used to the fact that you use the left analog stick and trigger to choose one element, and the right analog stick and trigger to choose another one. But you’ll still have to confirm both choices with the X button. Scrolling through menus feels slow and unresponsive. It’s simply not pleasant at all to play this without a touchscreen interface to speed things up. It makes the overall menu interface from One Finger Death Punch 2 look polished in comparison.

Not only that, but they included the 1998 Godzilla. Those devs are some cultured gentlemen.

Playing Doodle God: Evolution on a PS4 is somewhat fun, but let’s face it, this is a game suited for a mobile phone. It was meant to be played in short bursts with a touchscreen. You’ll scroll through everything the game has to offer pretty quickly, earning some trophies along the way, but you’ll immediately forget about it once you turn the console off. It’s a shallow mobile game being played on a TV screen. The fact you’re playing it on a console doesn’t exactly improve the experience.

 

Graphics: 4.0

You’ll basically stare at very small icons throughout most of the game. The UI is visually unappealing. The hand drawn planet featuring all of your creations is quite pretty on the other hand, especially when you start to fill it up with lots of elements.

Gameplay: 4.0

A mobile UI that has been poorly adapted to the PS4’s controller. It’s certainly playable, but the control scheme is very confusing and not intuitive at all.

Sound: 2.5

The soundtrack itself is easily ignored for the most part, but the abysmal voice acting is enough to get on anyone’s nerves.

Fun Factor: 6.5

As a thought-provoking puzzle, it can surely entertain for hours, even though it’s completely unfair and nonsensical at times. That being said, this is an average-at-best port of a mobile game, and its terrible presentation stands out in a very negative way.

Final Verdict: 5.0

Doodle God: Evolution is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Doodle God: Evolution was provided by the publisher.