Living under a technological rock (at least when it comes to phones), with our retro Nokia to keep us company, the world of mobile games has largely passed us by - the recent Angry Birds Star Wars console edition was pretty much our first foray into the series, we first played the infamous Fruit Ninja on the Xbox 360's Kinect, and our PC was too old and knackered to even run a browser version of Cut The Rope. We'd also never even heard of Doodle Jump until a few weeks ago, when the 3DS port landed on our doormat for review.
Staring 'The Doodler', a little alien thing that looks like the illegitimate child of Birdo and a Tamogotchi, your job is simply to bounce your way up the screen towards the goal, avoiding all the obstacles along the way. By tilting the 3DS from side to side, you can steer your little Dood left and right as he hops from platform to platform, trying to amass as many points as possible in order to get all three stars at the end. But as you'd likely expect, it's not as simple as leaping up the screen to the goal, as colourful alien enemies, cannon balls, mines and other assorted baddies try their best to hinder your progress, whilst moving platforms, exploding ledges and breakable floors make your job a lot harder too. And in an odd turn of events for what's supposed to be an accessible game, aimed at a "casual" audience, death is harsh and frequent - miss a jump, and rather than gliding down to a platform just a few paces below you, the platforms that were perfectly solid and very much in existance mere moments ago will have completely vanished, having been deleted once they left the bottom of your screen, leaving you to fall for miles, before respawning back at the last checkpoint you crossed, which is often a rather long way back.
Occasionally, you'll come across a power-up that'll grant your creature with a temporary useful ability, perhaps a bubble shield to prevent you from taking damage for a short time, a jetpack that lets you smash through enemies and platforms as you soar up the screen or a pair of springy shoes which let you leap higher. And with all those alien enemies threatening to knock you out and send you falling into the abyss below, you'll want to eliminate as many as possible along the way - doubly so when you consider each defeated beast nets you precious points, edging you ever closer to the next star. Fortunately, Mr. Doodler has two tricks up his (lack of) sleeves, as he is able to either jump on their heads Mario-style or blast them into oblivion by pressing the Y, X and A buttons, which let you shoot diagonally, or vertically upwards.
Unlike the mobile version, which is simply an endless level that you play to get a high (quite literally), the 3DS version add in a number of set levels to complete too, alongside the endless mode. With four worlds, each with ten or so stages, there's a decent amount of stuff to do, particularly if you want to get 3 stars on each of the levels, even if they do feel like much of a muchness - and are teeth-clenchingly hard.
To mix things up a bit, each of the themed worlds culminates in a boss fight, in which you usually need to bounce on the bad guy's head three times to win, avoiding any of the projectiles he spews out in between. There's also bonus stages to unlock by collecting the keys found in certain levels, which see you collecting as many golden coins as you possibly can, before the time runs out - and there's usually a specific path you can take to get them all.
While not the most precise method of input in the world, tilting your 3DS seems to work reasonably well, although at times your little Doodler seems to fall into the abyss through no real fault of your own. The big issue here really is price - with just 40 levels, each of which takes a couple of minutes to complete, even at the budget price of £20, this still feels pricey compared to the mobile game's £1. As a downloadable game for a fiver, this would seem better placed, but for the full £20, only the completionists and score-hunters will get there money's worth. A rather addictive game with broad appeal it may be, but Doodle Jump could do with losing a few pounds.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo 3DS