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The best games for iPhone are easy to learn but hard to master. Doodle Jump, a quick mini-game where your only goal is to make an alien jump up a continuing series of platforms, is the iPhone equivalent of potato chips – you can't play it just once.
Mini games come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The common element is the ease with which players can pick up the games and the relatively short time needed to play a level.
Doodle Jump is a continuous level platform game in which you help an alien jump up ascending platforms using a variety of tools, and dodge obstacles that will make him fall. When he falls, the game is over.
The game uses the iPhone's accelerometer to good effect, since you move the alien by tilting the phone right or left. Springs on platforms will make the alien jump higher, while brown platforms break like sticks if the alien lands on them. Tapping the alien makes him shoot a laser, which is helpful in taking out monsters and UFOs that wish your alien harm.
Much of the appeal of the game lies in the combination of luck and skill required to move the alien up the platforms. There is the immediate need to find your alien a platform to jump on, but you must simultaneously scan ahead to look for springs to boost your progress or UFOs to shoot at or avoid.
Graphics and sound effects are simple, but very whimsical with a fun sense of humor. The game looks as if a demented five-year-old drew it. Sound effects are limited to the sproing of the alien as he jumps higher and higher, the crack of the stick platform as it breaks, and the slide whistle as the alien falls.
Like many mini-games, Doodle Jump pits the player against him- or herself in an effort to best one's high score. This was one of the first iPhone games I downloaded, and continues to be one I return to again and again. Why? Because it seems ludicrous that I cannot make my alien jump indefinitely. I know I can do better, and so I continue to try. An added tease is that as you jump, you will pass names “written” on the wall – these are the high scores of others whom you have now bested.
Doodle Jump is also a fun game to share among family members. When there's time to be wasted waiting for a restaurant meal, or in the doctor's waiting room, the game provides a welcome distraction for all ages.
Anywhere from 10 seconds to indefinitely, depending on your skill. I have yet to keep my alien airborne for longer than a couple minutes. I suppose if you were really good at this game, and had to stop it suddenly, you could simply commit second degree aliencide, purposefully letting your alien fall without malice aforethought.
Doodle Jump is perfect for any age player, since everyone is guaranteed to be able to help the alien jump at least a few levels. The relatively small graphic size may make this more difficult for people with poor eyesight, but outside that qualification, old and young players alike should be able to play and enjoy this game.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: