Doodle Fit Review—That’s a Lot of Doodles
Puzzle games can be based around almost any concept, numbers, colored blocks, musical notes, anything you can imagine. They can range from the very arcane to the very simple. Doodle Fit from Gamelion takes perhaps the simplest concept possible from childhood, that of putting blocks together to form shapes, and makes a surprisingly fun puzzle game out of it.
Gameplay is very simple. You are shown the puzzle, then given a list of pieces at the bottom of the screen. All are composed of what look to be drawings on graph paper (thus the “Doodle” in the name, for the art style). The puzzles come in themes, like letters or types of objects. The pieces are all composed of 1×1 blocks joined together, somewhat like the Tetrominos made famous by Tetris, but those always have 4 blocks forming different shapes. Here, sometimes the pieces are only made up of three, or two, or even just one block.
You simply select a piece on the bottom with the D-pad, then press the X button and guide it to where you want to place it with the D-pad, then press the X button again. It can be a little awkward when moving already placed pieces, but all in all it works well enough. Then repeat until you’ve completed the shape with the pieces.
It really is that simple. Maybe not putting round pegs through round holes simple, but not far off. So, at first you are sort of wondering, “What, am I three years old again?” But, as you get further into the game, it does get to be somewhat challenging. It’s sort of like a jigsaw puzzle, only simpler; once you have a start on a puzzle, you can work your way through it, if only by trial and error. But where to start is where thinking comes in—usually there are some pieces that can only fit in one place, so you have to figure out what can only go where and work from there.
Still, if you get stuck, there is a very nice hint system. There are also multiple puzzles unlocked in each group, as opposed to simply being given them one at a time, one by one. What is also very nice is you don’t need to finish all the puzzles in a theme to unlock the next one. So if you get stuck on a puzzle, you can not only skip it, you don’t necessarily need to come back to it to progress further in the game. This is really great and mature game design here. All puzzle games should have progression like this.
Besides unlocking just new groups of puzzles, you unlock new graphics to go along with them. Each group of puzzles also has a theme that you can pick. Most of these new themes hamper viewing the puzzles, though, far too elaborate, and make doing the puzzles trickier than the basic set, which is just graph paper and colored squares.
There is a staggering amount of content in the game. Almost 350 puzzles, with some puzzles having more than one solution. I’ve sunken 6 hours into the game (it keeps track of time played) and am only about a quarter of the way done. So, probably close to 40 hours to finish them all, considering that the game starts off easy. That’s more gameplay than many full-priced titles have.
As noted, the graphics use the “doodle” style that looks like pencil drawings. What’s more, it’s animated, so it looks somewhat like that old A-ha music video, albeit much less dramatic. This actually can be a little annoying; the net effect is not to make it look better, but to make things blurrier, or make your vision seem as if you’re slightly drunk, without the benefits of actually being slightly drunk.
This is one of the few games where I have turned the sound off, mostly because of the music being annoying. It sounds like it’s an attempt to be a retro 8-bit (or “less”) style, but it comes off more as grating, because it’s far too busy. I was surprised, as Gamelion typically has excellent music in their games.
The only real flaw with Doodle Fit is the simplistic nature of the gameplay itself. While fun, it’s less compelling than most other puzzle games because it’s just so basic. I got bored after a few puzzles. But, it compensates for that simplicity with an immense amount of polish and content. If you are looking for a puzzle game, there are many others that offer more fun in the short term, but this one offers by far the best value, and in short bursts, it is fun.