Every now and then the App Store divulges something that actually surprises me; a previously unheard of game design that sinks its claws into me before I even know it. From its outward appearance, Doodle God [App Store] seems less of a game and more of a periodic table gone wrong, an experiment only of interest to scientists of questionable sanity. It's not until you experience it for yourself that you realise the true genius behind Doodle God's alluring gameplay.

The premise starts off simple: combine the four basic elements of earth, fire, water and air to create 140 objects (referred to within as elements, but not strictly so) in the world around us. Your job is to find the specific combination of two individual elements, or by-products of elements, or by-products of by-products, et cetera; to do so.

And elements don't always bond as you believe they should; the developers employ a far more abstract thought process than a logical one in creating the Doodle God universe. So while combining earth and fire to create lava might be logical, the combination of fire and water into alcohol requires a greater stretch (and that is a tame example). Dare I say it, but God knows what needs to be added together to create a Wizard, of all things.

The end result is that what seems like a relaxing, thought provoking experience, is instead a manic adventure of 'out of the box' thinking, with many results and accidental discoveries evoking laughter just as often as they do sighs of relief as a piece of the puzzle is secured. Because while Doodle God doesn't impose any time constraints on your discovery process, it will test the limits of your imagination and patience.

Elements are neatly categorised into 15 groups that are only made available when they are discovered. Pressing a group will open its list of elements to select from, displaying the groups again on the left of the screen. Selecting one of these groups will in turn display its list of available elements on the left. Choosing two elements from the selected groups will then attempt to fuse them together (if possible).

A successful bonding results in either a quirky or philosophical quote concerning the resulting reaction. Of course, chances are your selection won't succeed (there are literally thousands of possible combinations, after all) and that's where Doodle God's nifty hint system comes to the rescue. Hints are doled out on a timer, so you never feel too bad resorting to that oft-needed light bulb. They take two forms; either showing a feasible byproduct to work towards, or showing two possible groups that have an available reaction.

If I had to put my finger on what specifically appeals to me about Doodle God, it would have to be that insatiable 'just one more go' pull, with the knowledge that some other inane discovery is just around the corner.

If you're open to a new gameplay experience and not liable to just throw out a crazy concept from the get-go, then I recommend giving Doddle God a whirl. An online flash version is available to try first. And let your friends and family in on it too-- you won't be short a laugh or two, that's for sure.

TouchArcade Rating

  • lazypeon

    Played the Flash version and bought the iPhone version as soon as I found out about it.

    You really can't appreciate it until you play it, but it really is a unique/innovative game that's a ton of fun. It gets a BIT tedious at the end when you've almost exhausted all the elements, but overall, terrific game that doesn't require too much brainpower.

    The developer touched on this, but I think goal or competitive gameplay would be kind of neat. For instance, starting at the dawn of time and being the first to construct a spaceship, or the first to destroy the world with nuclear missiles. You'd then have to replay the same game, but try and optimize for certain technology paths. I imagine this being something like Civilization.

    Anyway, great fun. If you're not convinced, try the flash version:
    http://www.kongregate.com/games/Badim/doodle-god

    • ColeDaddy

      Thanks for the heads up. Tried the Flash for about 10 minutes and bought it.

  • lazypeon

    Played the Flash version and bought the iPhone version as soon as I found out about it.

    You really can't appreciate it until you play it, but it really is a unique/innovative game that's a ton of fun. It gets a BIT tedious at the end when you've almost exhausted all the elements, but overall, terrific game that doesn't require too much brainpower.

    The developer touched on this, but I think goal or competitive gameplay would be kind of neat. For instance, starting at the dawn of time and being the first to construct a spaceship, or the first to destroy the world with nuclear missiles. You'd then have to replay the same game, but try and optimize for certain technology paths. I imagine this being something like Civilization.

    Anyway, great fun. If you're not convinced, try the flash version:
    http://www.kongregate.com/games/Badim/doodle-god

    • ColeDaddy

      Thanks for the heads up. Tried the Flash for about 10 minutes and bought it.

  • Martin

    Letting you watch your sivilization grow in a map or something would be neat.

    The game is pwnsome, btw, 5/5

  • Martin

    Letting you watch your sivilization grow in a map or something would be neat.

    The game is pwnsome, btw, 5/5

  • http://www.robotplague.com robotplague

    This sounds totally up my alley. Gonna give it a shot.

  • http://www.robotplague.com robotplague

    This sounds totally up my alley. Gonna give it a shot.

  • Evan

    Yeah it would be awesome if there was a 3D world where every time you discovered a new element, you would see it on your planet. That would make a competitive gameplay mode be all the more interesting.

  • Evan

    Yeah it would be awesome if there was a 3D world where every time you discovered a new element, you would see it on your planet. That would make a competitive gameplay mode be all the more interesting.

  • Dee

    I downloaded this the other day and it's a surprisingly compelling app. The concept is nothing interesting but the execution is amazing.

    • MidianGTX

      Wouldn't it be the other way around? All the execution involves is randomly tapping pairs of icons... that's hardly amazing. It's the concept that makes it different from anything else.

      • http://www.soccerman.com SoccermanDotCom

        I agree. It's the concept that's original. The execution is well done, but nothing amazing compared to the idea behind it.

  • Dee

    I downloaded this the other day and it's a surprisingly compelling app. The concept is nothing interesting but the execution is amazing.

    • MidianGTX

      Wouldn't it be the other way around? All the execution involves is randomly tapping pairs of icons... that's hardly amazing. It's the concept that makes it different from anything else.

      • http://www.soccerman.com SoccermanDotCom

        I agree. It's the concept that's original. The execution is well done, but nothing amazing compared to the idea behind it.

  • markx2

    How many facebook share badges are there? In the online version it's for every new element. Anything else that spoils the view in the actual game? OF, twitter?

  • markx2

    How many facebook share badges are there? In the online version it's for every new element. Anything else that spoils the view in the actual game? OF, twitter?

  • Roadblocked

    great game

  • Roadblocked

    great game

  • John B

    fire + water = alcohol is actually quite funny. "firewater" is the spagetti western term for whiskey, no?

    sounds logical to me!

    • Bobby

      Yep! I immediately had the same thought.

      So, maybe it only seems random if one does not get the jokes? :)

    • http://www.twitter.com/thewindburn Peter Lettieri

      Let's not confuse abstract thinking and randomness though! Never said it was random, just that it required something a little more than science and logic :) Think of your everyday cryptic crossword.

  • John B

    fire + water = alcohol is actually quite funny. "firewater" is the spagetti western term for whiskey, no?

    sounds logical to me!

    • Bobby

      Yep! I immediately had the same thought.

      So, maybe it only seems random if one does not get the jokes? :)

    • http://www.twitter.com/thewindburn Peter Lettieri

      Let's not confuse abstract thinking and randomness though! Never said it was random, just that it required something a little more than science and logic :) Think of your everyday cryptic crossword.

  • Jackthelad

    Not sure what the attraction here is. Most of the time you end up just randomly trying to match elements. This is not a game of logical deduction, but rather one of trial and error.

    • lastfuture

      Maybe you're not playing it right. Are you trying to avoid to think? Then it's not the game for you.
      While I was playing, a lot of my combinations did not require randomly trying but instead thinking a bit about it. Very few of my combinations did not yield a result I anticipated

      • Jackthelad

        What leads you to believe that I'm trying not to think?

        I enjoy puzzle games immensely. But this isn't really a puzzle game. It's a 'guess what the developer was thinking' game. Yes, I can guess what the developer was thinking in most cases. But those guesses ARE trial and error. It just happens that, using 'common sense', it's usually possible to be correct with the first 'trial'. And by common sense, I mean the combination usually vaguely reflects something that might be true in the real world, so you can have a good guess at it.

        Anyway, I found the game very tedious. There are numerous free versions of actual puzzle games, which don't require you to guess what anyone was thinking when they made the game. Unblockme and bobby carrot 1 are two that spring to mind. Not particularly tough, but far better puzzles games than this gimmicky guessing game.

    • http://www.twitter.com/thewindburn Peter Lettieri

      I wanted to make this clear in my review, and I was fairly sure I had: this is not a game of logical or scientific deduction. To be fair to the author, SOME combinations require logic and scientific knowledge, but many also require lateral thinking. If you're not a fan of turning yor thinking on it's head, then yes- you will largely resort to trial and error.

      Don't get me wrong, I may have used trial and error a couple of times…but I tried not to.

  • Jackthelad

    Not sure what the attraction here is. Most of the time you end up just randomly trying to match elements. This is not a game of logical deduction, but rather one of trial and error.

    • lastfuture

      Maybe you're not playing it right. Are you trying to avoid to think? Then it's not the game for you.
      While I was playing, a lot of my combinations did not require randomly trying but instead thinking a bit about it. Very few of my combinations did not yield a result I anticipated

      • Jackthelad

        What leads you to believe that I'm trying not to think?

        I enjoy puzzle games immensely. But this isn't really a puzzle game. It's a 'guess what the developer was thinking' game. Yes, I can guess what the developer was thinking in most cases. But those guesses ARE trial and error. It just happens that, using 'common sense', it's usually possible to be correct with the first 'trial'. And by common sense, I mean the combination usually vaguely reflects something that might be true in the real world, so you can have a good guess at it.

        Anyway, I found the game very tedious. There are numerous free versions of actual puzzle games, which don't require you to guess what anyone was thinking when they made the game. Unblockme and bobby carrot 1 are two that spring to mind. Not particularly tough, but far better puzzles games than this gimmicky guessing game.

    • http://www.twitter.com/thewindburn Peter Lettieri

      I wanted to make this clear in my review, and I was fairly sure I had: this is not a game of logical or scientific deduction. To be fair to the author, SOME combinations require logic and scientific knowledge, but many also require lateral thinking. If you're not a fan of turning yor thinking on it's head, then yes- you will largely resort to trial and error.

      Don't get me wrong, I may have used trial and error a couple of times…but I tried not to.

  • John

    Does the game have like a checklist of elements (or something similar) .... so you know what you are trying to create or is it unclear what the remaining elements are?

    • BTA

      It's unclear what exactly you have left, but when you ask for a hint, you'll get 1 of 2 things:

      1. Shown 2 groups that contain elements that, when combined, will produce an element you don't have.
      2. Show an element you don't have yet, but can be made with the elements you have.

  • John

    Does the game have like a checklist of elements (or something similar) .... so you know what you are trying to create or is it unclear what the remaining elements are?

    • BTA

      It's unclear what exactly you have left, but when you ask for a hint, you'll get 1 of 2 things:

      1. Shown 2 groups that contain elements that, when combined, will produce an element you don't have.
      2. Show an element you don't have yet, but can be made with the elements you have.

  • MrMuesli

    If you go at this game with a 'process of elimination' mentality, the likely is it will bore you to tears. At first I did just that, however if you start to use your imagination with the combo's a bit, then it comes to life. The key to enjoying the game is all in the mind-set.

  • MrMuesli

    If you go at this game with a 'process of elimination' mentality, the likely is it will bore you to tears. At first I did just that, however if you start to use your imagination with the combo's a bit, then it comes to life. The key to enjoying the game is all in the mind-set.

  • JRDobbs

    Would be pretty cool if the elements could be joined to form life, and then advance it into a "Spore Origins" kind of game. Maybe in version 2. ;-)

  • JRDobbs

    Would be pretty cool if the elements could be joined to form life, and then advance it into a "Spore Origins" kind of game. Maybe in version 2. ;-)

  • http://appsnail.com/iphone/ appsnail

    love the doodle stuff no doubt

  • http://appsnail.com/iphone/ appsnail

    love the doodle stuff no doubt

  • sam sneed

    what's up with the eye of osiris?

    • Fedaykin

      Its the "All seeing Eye" commonly associated with the Illuminati because its in closed in a pyramid. The symbol of the human eye and eyebrow is commonly known as the Eye of Horus or Eye of Osiris also referred to as "the udjat".

      • sam sneed

        thank you for the clarification. what's up with the all-seeing eye?

  • sam sneed

    what's up with the eye of osiris?

    • Fedaykin

      Its the "All seeing Eye" commonly associated with the Illuminati because its in closed in a pyramid. The symbol of the human eye and eyebrow is commonly known as the Eye of Horus or Eye of Osiris also referred to as "the udjat".

      • sam sneed

        thank you for the clarification. what's up with the all-seeing eye?

  • Dayv

    I watched one of my coworkers get completely sucked into this, so I tried the flash version. I'm not even sure I'd call this a game. This isn't lateral thinking, it's trial and error with an "oh, now I get it" aspect once you stumble upon a match.

    Terrible.

  • Dayv

    I watched one of my coworkers get completely sucked into this, so I tried the flash version. I'm not even sure I'd call this a game. This isn't lateral thinking, it's trial and error with an "oh, now I get it" aspect once you stumble upon a match.

    Terrible.

  • Zak

    Yeah, it's basically just trying all conceivable matches until you get one by chance, at which point the icons do a funny little dance and the screen flashes, making you temporarily dizzy (and I'm not even epileptic). Nice UI and all, and I'm sure it was fun for the programmers to think up all those combinations, but it's completely mindless on the part of the player.

  • Zak

    Yeah, it's basically just trying all conceivable matches until you get one by chance, at which point the icons do a funny little dance and the screen flashes, making you temporarily dizzy (and I'm not even epileptic). Nice UI and all, and I'm sure it was fun for the programmers to think up all those combinations, but it's completely mindless on the part of the player.