Doodle Ride is a great game to review. Normally, even in a terrible game, I have to concede that something had substance or at least one mechanic worked well. Doodle Ride requires no such concessions. Yes, it’s that bad.
If I were to classify Doodle Ride (classify it other than a glorified money shredder, I mean), I would have to consider it as a “line racer”. I say that with hesitation, though, simply because I recognize that other line racers are not this awful. For those unfamiliar with “line racers”, the basic idea is that you have an object that you want to get from point A to point B, but instead of controlling the actual object, you draw a line which the object moves across. In and of itself, the genre itself seems built for iDevices, being “touch to draw” and all that. I can imagine the devs realized this when they wrote down the starting idea: “it’s a Line Racer for the App Store”. They made the car that drives over the lines, the house that is your goal, made a few obstacles, and then they thought, “Wait a minute. Why should we actually spend the time making this game good, when we can leave it unfinished and broken and release it for a dollar?” So let’s see just how badly they ruined a great concept!
To start off on a “great” note, even the basic line drawing is broken. Scratch that. It’s shattered into a fine powder. The lines retain little drawing imperfections when you touch and slide, turning what should be a nice, smooth line, into a virtual suspension nightmare. Your car violently shudders over all the minuscule imperfections and will probably end up stuck in the line itself. Or it will just shoot through the line completely.
Get past the bugs, and you’ll be greeted with the “fruits” of the devs attitude of “cash over substance”. Put simply: the core gameplay is ridiculously awful. The hit boxes on the obstacles are bigger than the obstacles themselves, meaning that if you get within a mile of the obstacle, the game considers it a hit and will restart the level. The same goes when you reach the goal house. You’ll hit it (without touching the house itself) and be in the next level before you know what happened. A little “you did it” splash screen would have gone far. Not that any of that matters, since the game is over in about two minutes. You’ll speed through the first seven levels (provided no bugs show up, which is unlikely), and then realize the eighth “test” level is unwinnable. Game over.
The graphics are horrific, which is quite a feat in a game with the “doodle” art style (simplistic as is). All the objects look like they were made or transferred in with completely different programs, which is quite aesthetically shocking. But since the objects end up being mostly cones and lampposts, it’s not like they were trying to be polished in the first place.
The sound is laughably terrible. There aren’t any sound effects at all, and the ridiculously happy looping track is grating to the point of almost being physically detrimental. You can’t even listen to your own music (seriously?), and going into the options to try to mute the track is futile, since the “options” only consist of the ability to change the ink color. Whoa, easy with the choices there, devs!
I did have fun playing Doodle Ride, since I knew I would be able to pick it apart without feeling guilty. If I was to treat it as a “game”, however, I wouldn’t be able to delete it fast enough.
At the time of writing, Doodle Ride was sitting pretty on several five-star App Store reviews and two adoring “professional” reviews featured in its App Store description. So after I shot out the review with the disbelieving question: “this has four stars on the App Store description?!”, Big Boss Brett did some digging for me. Turns out that the glowing reviews it received from Best10Apps.com (an “Editor’s Choice”) and Bosco’s Grindhouse were as shady as Eminem. Best10Apps turned out to be a “pay-for-a-happy-ending” review site, and the app for Bosco’s Grindhouse was developed by the same people that made Doodle Ride itself (Bolt Visual). Ok, they made a terrible “game”, but at least they could be honest about it. Sigh…