When I sat down to play Doodle God: Evolution, I was sure I’d already played it before. And I had, almost a decade ago on my smartphone. Doodle God started out on the smaller screens, and now it’s here on consoles. But, does the evolution from handheld to bum-on-couch make any sense? Is it a gift from the gaming heavens, or should it be cast out to gaming hell?
Doodle God: Evolution is a very, very simple game. Perhaps the simplest I’ve played in a long, long time, and I’ve played a jigsaw game on PS4.
There’s a world, but there’s nothing on it. You’re God with a recipe book, and your job is to bring life – and death – to the world by mixing and matching different elements to create new stuff. That’s it. That’s your lot.
The game plays out almost exclusively inside your recipe book. Here, you have two sides to an open book, and on each side are sets of identical symbols. Clicking a symbol – like the water symbol – will show you the elements related to that symbol. So, for example, with the flame symbol you have fire, which can be combined with something from another symbol’s library of elements. As you discover new elements, the book fills out with more stuff that can be mixed to create more stuff. As you discover new things, the game’s world – which is represented in a very basic fashion – starts to populate with those things. That’s your gameplay loop.
To be fair, it starts off promising and I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I sat and played the game straight for half an hour. That was my limit, mind you, because there comes a certain point where logic is thrown out the window and it becomes easier to just pick one item and attempt to mix it with everything else on the opposite page until you hit gold, or sand, or lava, or storms, or even a zombie.
There’s no skill involved and that burnt the last of my fuel. You don’t lose if you do something wrong, so there’s no risk and reward, meaning there’s not really any point.
This all-in-one-package comes with Doodle Farm, too, which is more of the same but focused around farms. I like farms and I’ve spent many an hour ploughing my fields in Farm Simulator, but this couldn’t hold my attention for more than a couple of minutes.
There are a couple of other game modes, too, but they’re essentially the same, aside from the Puzzles, where you can lose if you make the wrong elements at the wrong time. But what do you win? I don’t know, and the game never made a good case for me to find out, so I ducked out after a little while.
The transition from mobile to console has not been kind to Doodle God: Evolution. In fact, it still feels like a mobile game, and it’s stuck with a very mobile-game user interface, which makes it feel quite cheap.
The only positive thing I can say is that Doodle God is a good game to kill a few minutes away while you’re waiting for a bus or standing in a socially distanced queue – and that’s on your phone. The PS4 version just doesn’t have any pull, at least not for me.
Doodle God: Evolution PS4 Review
Overall - Bad - 4/10
If you absolutely love the mobile version, then maybe you’ll get a kick out of playing on your console and earning a few trophies along the way. Other than that, this is a hard pass.
- Clean presentation with an easy-to-follow layout
- OK in short bursts, but who turns their PS4 on for just three minutes at a time?
- It’s a mobile game and very little has been done to make it seem otherwise
- There’s no risk or reward, and no downside to losing because you literally can’t lose. A God’s greatest burden…
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.
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Chris has been writing about gaming news for far too long, and now he’s doing it even more. A true PlayStation know-it-all, Chris has owned just about every Sony console that ever existed. Trophies are like crack to this fella. (Bronze trophies, that is – he only has one Platinum.)