Escape Doodland Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Sonka

Publisher: QubicGames

Release Date: 29th November

Price as of Article: $7.99* USD $9.99, £7.19* GBP £8.99

*On sale until 30/11/2018

Game code provided by Sonka for review

Story

One day, the happy life of Doodle monsters was turned into a nightmare. They must leave their shelter to escape the ruthless monster.”

Gameplay

Escape Doodland is a fast-pasted, 2D, run and jump platformer. Simple to understand the basics, but hard to get. It’s a game where you have to escape the monster that is chasing you or it will eat you.

The monsters run on their own, all you have to do is jump and fart. The only buttons you need to worry about are: A to Jump, Right on the D-pad to fart boost forwards, UP on the D-Pad to fart boost up, and Left on the D-Pad to stun fart the monster. Simple right? NO! It’s not simple. For instance, the game has two difficulty settings: Hard and Harder.

Jump, Jump, Jump, Die

The main aspect of Escape Doodland is jumping – all you need to do is jump. Except the jumps need to be timed and executed perfectly, or as close to as possible. Here lies the trick of the game – it will trick you into thinking you are a kangaroo, then it will toss something at you and you fail. For instance, if you get too complacent, you can jump too early and mess up.

The more you run the course, the better you will get at it. It will eventually start to become easier. It is a lot of trial and error though. The game is not as punishing as it seems at first. There are three checkpoints per run and you start with three lives, which help when you make a mistake – and you will, don’t try to kid yourself. There are only two ways to die: be eaten, or fall down a gap, which will happen – I can’t stress how much it will happen. The game will kick you back to the last checkpoint and you start from there. It didn’t help me at times, but it’s a nice feature to have in a highly stressful game.

Too much of one thing

Escape Doodland Review Screenshot 4

Not all levels are just run, jump over obstacles, and don’t get eaten. There are slight changes to the gameplay that break up the jump-and-die formula. There are parts where you have to control your Doodlander by jumping over or falling under oncoming enemies. It is a welcome change for breaking up the gameplay and each level has a completely different look to it.

Farting is a good thing

During the game, you will see matches dotted throughout the run. These are an important resource to collect, at least, the first few times you do a level. They allow you to set your farts on fire. It is glorious and important. Farts allow you to get out of tricky situations and collecting items. Matches are one use only and do not reset per run, so collect as many as you can, when you can. The animation after you fart with the wee Doodlander, throwing away a burnt-out match with a cheeky grin is funny. The Doodlander’s ability to stun the monster by just farting in its face and seeing the monster’s eye swirl in its head never gets old. The drawback is it can be used only once per run, unless augmented.

Friends and upgrades and Beans.

While running for your life, avoiding being eaten by the monster, you will find green beans along the way. Collecting these randomly evil-placed legumes, serves as the game’s currency. There is a shop – a very odd shop – that looks like a bedroom… Well, in fact, it just so happens to be an older lady on a bed and pictures on the wall. The bed lady, who I ended up calling Barb (no idea why), sells upgrades for 10 beans each. There are three categories: farts, stunning farts, and lives. You can have one from each category equipped, allowing for some customisation. For example; use stun fart twice. Also, in the shop, you can buy gold beans as well as matches.

On the wall of Barb’s bedroom shop, there are pictures of Doodlanders that you can unlock once you have completed all the runs at least once. The unlocked Doodlanders are new, funny looking skins for you to look at. Gold beans are awarded after each level and unlock new areas once you get enough gold beans to progress. They are awarded for completing the run, for collecting green beans, and for unused lives, earning up to three.

Try, try and try again?

Escape Doodland Review Screenshot 1

 

For me, this game got old fast. Apart from the farts, the idea of doing the same thing over and over again became overly frustrating. This diminished the fun I was having. Yes, it gives you lives and checkpoints, but this is not my favourite style of game and this game did not change my mind unfortunately. It is good that the game is not overly long, it took me about 3 hours to finish. The time will depend on how good you are at these types of games, though. There is replayability with collecting the different skins and also if you are a glutton for punishment. I just couldn’t find myself playing it over and over.

Audio

The audio in Escape Doodland is in no way overpowering. There are playful little numbers that go well with the run you are currently doing. If you change background, the music will change to match it. One run can be an upbeat trumpet with a double bass and piano, then the next can be a mystical xylophone and a shaker. The music is a joy to listen to.

The Sound effects are also well done, from birds chirping and trees falling, to the mighty farts you let out. There is so much happening in the background that it is hard to appreciate all the work put into the sound effects – it is all done so well though.

Visuals & Performance

Escape Doodland Review Screenshot 3

Where to start with this one? The visuals are outstanding and nostalgic. This reminds me of the doodles I did when I was at school, not paying as much attention as I should have been in History lessons. It’s the sort of thing you draw on your folder at 15 – rough, unpolished doodles. The first level is like the artist has just started and didn’t want to finish the background and got bored. As the levels go on, the art style stays but the artist is more invested, finishing off backgrounds. Another reason why I liken it to a teen is because the levels seem to have things in them that worry kids and teens. There is a level where you have to jump on teeth while things are coming out of them, I think of fillings and being told the nerve is exposed. At least, that’s what it makes me think of.

The Doodlanders are all slightly twisted versions of things you know, but running for their lives – they are way too happy. The Monster trying to eat you looks to me like a big red cloud with big teeth and crazy colour-changing eyes.

From a performance aspect, it ran perfectly at 60fps, both in handheld and docked modes, no slow down or stuttering. The only performance issue was my own.

Value

Priced normally for $9.99 USD and £8.99 GBP, it is not overpriced for what you are getting. If you like this sort of games, then it will be a complete steal.

You even get 30% off if you already own some of QubicGames other releases. Specifically, if you already own BRAWL, Astro Bears Party, One Strike or Robonauts, you should be a discount waiting for you on this. If Escape Doodland looks appealing to you, check out our other reviews, above. You might just find a hidden gem and save yourself 30% off this adventure!

Pros

P

Sounds and music

P

Amazing unique art style

P

Cheap

P

FARTS!

Cons

P

Lack of content

P

Frustrating

P

Had no urge to replay

P

Too much trial and error