Upgrade system; odd sense of humor; nice level progression
Baffling storyline; intentionally bad art style; little control over your flight
It’s a weird little flight game, but a great series of unlockables keeps this one aloft.
A Doodle Fly is charming in the same way as a preschooler’s art project. You’re not going to look at a macaroni sculpture or crayon scribble and judge it for its lack of quality, for misspelling the word “daddy” or coloring the dog purple. Sometimes you just have to give someone’s honest artistic attempt the benefit of the doubt, ugly though it may be. What is sophisticated about A Doodle Fly, though, is the game’s great upgrade system.
In A Doodle Fly, you play by launching your character from an elephant, who swings you with his trunk so you can fly as far and high as possible. We’ve seen this mechanic before in games like Johnny Crash, Urban Kick Academy, and many others. However, we actually enjoyed our time with A Doodle Fly, because of the amount of upgrades you can use to extend your flight.
For example, you can buy airplanes to pull you straight up, or clouds to zip you along horizontally. You can increase the strength of the elephant who first launches you, or turn yourself into a magnet to grab coins, earning you more spending cash. You also have a rocket boost that you can trigger with a button in the corner of the screen, and several of the upgrades help you conserve or replenish fuel at a greater rate, or improve the power of your boost.
You’ll soar towards a number of lofty goals, like hitting the moon or heaven, and each time you’ll unlock new characters (though you can also doodle or import your own from the camera) and a baffling cutscene that makes no sense. If you’re expecting to appreciate the plot of A Doodle Fly, you’re playing the wrong game.
Alternate challenges to reach a certain height or flight time will earn you bonus cash, and since the upgrades are so essential to progressing through the game, you’ll want to make each of these your focus. The game does a great job of encouraging you to go a little further each time, earning more money and letting you unlock even more goodies.
We’ve been unimpressed with this type of game before, but A Doodle Fly doesn’t feel like the same experience throughout because of the unique upgrade system. It provides a tangible sense of progression, even if the art style and cutscenes are intentionally unimpressive. You’ll hardly even notice that you’re surrendering most of your control over the game to sheer luck, because the tiny amount of control you do have can make a big difference as you buy more upgrades. Sure, it looks like a kid drew it, but if you haven’t enjoyed these arcadey flight games before, this one you might actually consider putting up on the refrigerator door.