I don't usually find myself speechless after playing an iOS game, but Dodo Master [$0.99 / $0.99 (HD)] has given me pause. The game is so carefully crafted, and so well planned, and so well tested that I want to be certain that each word I write about it is equally well thought out. My completely uninformed guess is that Samir Selah comes from a long line of watch makers. Every bit and piece of this game fits perfectly together in a well paced harmony. With his debut iOS release he has struck gold, now its just up to us to go pick it up.

Your Dodo finds herself trapped in a dungeon with her eggs scattered about. In order to get out she needs to gather as many eggs as possible and clear each dungeon room. While it is a relatively stale premise, it is helped along by a few nice touches. First off, a female protagonist is an exceedingly rare thing. Much respect for giving a minority in gaming more representation. If you fully clear a dungeon room by gathering all possible eggs, you unlock a hat. This small customization was probably the primary driving force for me to 100% complete as many rooms as possible. The hat selection ranges from odd to goofy to hilarious and is an amazingly effective carrot to chase. On more than one occasion I found that suiciding and starting over to get a missed egg was preferable to finishing a room in an incomplete state. The avian nature of the protagonist gives the game a distinct feel as well. More than once I felt like I was playing a mini-game from the movie UP, and the feel is from more than just the visual. The aerial movement and controls really make you feel like a quasi-flightless bird, if that makes any sense. Its probably just something you need to feel for yourself, but it helped my immersion that our hero moved like the Dodo birds in that movie.

Controls in Dodo Master are satisfyingly tight. Each spike, rat and spider have very well defined hit boxes. When you take damage in this game, its your fault. Traps are even given a small red particle effect to help distinguish from the lavish backgrounds. In addition to being tuned very well, the controls are simple. The only non-X axis actions you can take are jump and ground smash. The double jump has a charm all its own with a subtle audio clue as to how a dodo bird is able to physiologically perform a double jump. Where many platformers fall flat with inprecise or overly complicated controls, Dodo Master flies high.

The visual and audio quality in this game are top notch. Levels feel organic and inviting. Even when things got difficult, I had no problem identifying traps and enemies. The smallest things like the afore mentioned double jump will draw you into the game. Dodo Master uses it's audio to help you navigate rather than to distract. Traps are given audio that you will probably notice before even seeing the trap. Fire spouts sputter, rolling barrels creak, and swinging spike traps emit the sound of straining ropes. The best way I can describe the overall effect is that you never feel out of place, and you never feel out of control.

DodoMaster3

The only gripe I have with this game are that I, as a gamer that has some platforming experience, might be outside the target audience by a little bit. The difficulty usually meant each level could be passed on the first attempt, and the sparcity of secret areas means that I was able to burn through the game pretty quickly. I am willing to accept that this game might be aimed at a wider, more diverse consumer group than just gamers. What I would have liked to see is possibly a new game+ feature with enemy AI rather than just set pathing and maybe a few more levels like the 'Travel Insurance' map which consisted of multiple back-to-back obstacles that you couldn't stop and analyze each before being faced with the next. Admittedly there were a few levels like this that almost caused me to toss my ipad in frustration, but the majority of levels were much slower paced. I would also like to see a per level egg counter to show me if I have gathered all possible eggs before I finish a level. The game's length could have stood to be a little longer also, but it was still appropriate given the cost of grabbing this game. In all, these are minor quibbles in an otherwise excellent game.

The price point is what finally pushed me to 5 star this review. The game is temporarily free on iphone and $.99 on ipad. With a few touches I could have easily seen this as a $5 or even $10 app. There are no iap. The quality of the game doesn't match the low pricetag. The only thing separating this game from a $15 app is just total length of content, which could easily be changed with future updates. As it is, Dodo Master is a flawlessly created platformer that screams panache from beginning to end.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarStar
  • JoeriD

    Hats! <3

  • paulkane

    Love Dodo Master! It was my GoTW vote and spending $2.99 on this at release was a steal. If you are into platformers, this is a must and at $0.99 cents, it is a sweet deal. Great review, BTW and I agree about the need for an egg count total for each level.

    • paulkane

      Oh, and what an amazing game for a first game! What!?!

  • Boobi

    Great review, grabbing game now.

  • squarezero0

    Thanks for covering (or rather, uncovering) this gem. It's rotten luck that the game didn't get featured by Apple or any of the major iPhone gaming sites for that matter. I hope that this review gets some momentum going for it.

  • http://www.nafna.com/ nadav bar kama

    Hi Andrew, thank you for reviewing this game! maybe now it will climb the charts to the place it belongs - top ten (to say the least).
    thank you samir for making it! your dedicated craftsmanship and talent shows! bravo. as for the small game developers, this once again demonstrates how "exposure" is a very serious issue ...

  • Bruciato

    Looks so good I think I gotta buy it.. damn

    • Anotherkellydown

      You should! :)

  • Adan

    Yes, it's really pretty and all, but it's boring! :-(
    It doesn't make me pick up my iPhone and play it.

    • Anotherkellydown

      I say give it another shot. It's short enough that you could play through it in a couple play sessions. That was a big plus for me since I don't finish a lot of my games. It felt good to actually finish one for once.

      • Adan

        I haven't given up on it yet ;-)

  • ZEROFACES

    "The game is temporarily free on iphone and $.99 on ipad."

    The game is currently listed as $.99 for iPhone. Did I miss the sale? =^(

    • Andrew Fretz

      Still cheaper than the original 2.99, you arent too late =)

    • ZarieoZ

      The iPhone was on sale for free, price went back up. However, the iPad version is still on sale from 2.99 to 0.99. I rarely make impulse purchases, this is my second one. I have to say I don't regret it. I love it.

  • XPortZ

    I can't seem to find any information about whether or not this supports MFi controllers. Any idea?

  • HandsomeLuke

    I can't get enough of this bird!
    -
    Eli's Cock.

  • PoloBaquerizoH

    I just played and really 5/5 , is an excellent game, and just can't stop playing it! If you love challenging platforms this is just perfect!

  • De Sporty

    Wow, I am a self-professed mobile gaming geek and how on Earth did I miss this? Looks pretty darn good, and I always love myself some challenging platformers!

  • Pepelutin

    Just finished yesterday night. I really appreciate all the way to the end. A great surprise. I'm ready for the second episode ;)

  • hkgsulphate

    downloading!!!!

  • dancj

    I was borderline on this one, but having separate versions for iPhone and iPad just tips me into "not yet".

    • Chris1a

      While I agree that having separate versions isn't ideal in most cases, this quality premium game will cost you a grand total of $1.98 if you want both versions. Seriously. :/

      • dancj

        Yeah. If I wasn't borderline I'd just go with the iPad one - but I am - and I have more games than I have time to play.

      • dancj

        I got it in the end.

  • https://www.youtube.com/user/rrvirus redribbon

    great review andrew and 5 stars is well deserve for this great plaformer.

  • Shugardude

    I did not enjoy this game.

  • noteatino

    Did someone try it on an iPhone 4?

    • Andrew Fretz

      Yeah actually I did. The controls are very much the same and it performs well, but on some of the tougher levels the controls got just a little frustrating, it wasnt a deal breaker.

  • hkgsulphate

    can't believe this game is just 0.99
    it should worth more than that

  • armilla

    I like that this game doesn't baby you — no mandatory tutorial, and it's decently challenging right from the get go. A little tough adjusting to on an iphone (get it on ipad if you have the choice), but worthy either way.

  • pinchez

    A quality game with no iAP a definite purchase from me :)

Dodo Master Reviewed by Andrew Fretz on . Rating: 5