With the extreme success of Doodle Jump, it seems like everyone and their dog is trying to market a game on the App Store with a much similar art style and extremely simple, unpolished gameplay. It’s very difficult to come across an app that’s worth the dollar you pay.
Enter Doodle Army, a side-scrolling shooter by up-and-coming app developer Chad Towns. Doodle Army’s arsenal includes over 40 weapons and 40 different unlockable characters that you can play in six different battle zones.
The aim of the game is simple: eliminate your enemy with extreme prejudice while progressing to the right as long as you can. You control your hero using four directional arrows located at the bottom of the screen, which are used to go left and right, jump, and crouch. Firing is controlled by tap-to-aim- this can be changed to virtual joystick in the game options, along with blood and scream toggle and music/sound volume. A helpful tutorial in the first level guides you every step of the way should you need help.
As you progress through the game downing enemies, unlocking awesome doodles, and picking up ammo and health refills, the game marks your progress by meters. Every 100 meters you travel, a checkpoint is reached, which allows you to go back to that point when you are defeated or come back to your play session. Once you reach 1000 collective meters on a level, the next battle zone is unlocked, offering smarter enemies and more difficult terrain. Your skill quickly becomes tested as you progress, adding more oomph to the already-present “one more try” gameplay effect.
One thing that irked me a little bit was the ability to shoot through pretty thick walls, which was especially present on the Beach Bunker mission. The obstacles are supposed to add a level of difficulty which is not present, as I can easily take out the enemies inside the bunker by shooting through the wall. It’s a minor issue which surely doesn’t take away from the overall feel of the game, but I was slightly disappointed to see this present.
Enemies can seem pretty dim-witted at times (they often kill their buddies and themselves when accidentally launching a grenade into their friendlies), but they absolutely make up for this in sheer numbers. By no means is it easy to get very far in one of the zones without being defeated more than once.
In addition to the endless battle zones, Doodle Army features boss battles on some of the levels which allow you to take on massive tanks or transport vehicles as you are riding along in a controllable ATV or helicopter. These levels are timed, making players try to amass a high amount of points in a beat-the-clock style of gameplay. These levels are great fun to try out, and Chad is adding more boss battles all the time, extending the gameplay even further.
There’s not much in the way of background music in the game, but thankfully you can listen to your own music as long as you start it before entering the app. The constant screaming of your fallen enemies can get quite annoying while listening to your own tunes, but thankfully you can turn the screams off in the options. Those who wish not to see the virtual blood can also take solace, as this can be switched off as well.
All in all, Doodle Army is a pretty good side-scrolling shooter with tons of replay value. There’s not much polish by way of art style, but that generally comes with the “Doodle” genre of games that mass the App Store, so it’s not even a minor problem.
The unlockable Doodles and variety of guns bring plenty of fun to the party, and it’s interesting to see which Doodle you’ll unlock next (It’s pretty fun to go stomping around as a dragon with an AK-47 in hand).
Difficulty is no issue- the curve seems perfectly tuned to me. The issues I found were minor and did not take much at all away from the overall experience. Players are sure to enjoy the variety of levels and unlockables offered to them upon purchasing the game. Plus, all this great content is available to you for just $0.99.
If you’re still not convinced, a demo mode is available to you, which offers the first of the six battle zones for you to try. If you’re looking for a great pick-up-and-play action shooter, or generally just a really great game for a buck, then this game is most definitely for you.