Pocket Hound: Doodle Jump — Incredibly Addicting and Still Fun a Year Later

Pocket Hound is a new regular blog/video feature on LoreHound.com that aims to point our readers to the best handheld games out there. Be they for iPhone, iPad, other mobile devices, Nintendo DS, PSP, whatever — if they fit in your pocket and can hold our attention, we’ll be letting you know. Drop us a note for any games you’d like to see featured.

For this inaugural edition of Pocket Hound, I have chosen to write about a game that is very near and dear to my heart. Although it’s been around for more than a year, Doodle Jump by Lima Sky continues to dominate my attention anytime I have a short interval to kill. Whether waiting in line at the grocery store or to get seated at a restaurant,  riding in the car (passenger side, of course), or waiting out the time that I’ve been put on hold during a phone call, it continues to be my micro-game of choice.

So just what is Doodle Jump? Well, many of you who either have an iPhone or regularly play a friend or loved one’s iPhone probably already know. As of a couple months ago, the game has been downloaded more than 3 million times and has dominated the top ranks of the app store in the US and throughout Europe.  The price certainly isn’t bad, though it isn’t free — $0.99 (£0.59) on iPhone. In March, it was introduced on the Android for $3.99 (£2.75).

But here’s the gist for the uninitiated. In this action game, you play the role of the Doodler — a short, green, four-legged creature who is jumping his way up, up, up through a maze of  platforms, aliens, power-ups and clever obstacles.

Read on for more on game challenges, features and updates.

The Doodler constantly jumps – you can’t make him stop, and you can’t go back down to anything once it has shifted off the screen. You control where he lands by tilting the screen left or right. You make him shoot deadly lasers from his mouth, upward, by tapping the screen. The game ends if you fail to land on a solid surface, jump into an alien, get sucked into a black hole or spaceship, or any variation of the three.

As you jump higher and higher, maneuvering gets trickier. In exchange, you get power ups such as temporary shields, spring-loaded shoes that make you jump higher, trampolines or a jet pack that conveniently zips you past the baddies in your immediate vicinity. Platforms move or disappear, aliens obstruct the path up, and menacing black holes suck you in when you get too close. For the life of me, I’ve not once managed to get past the flying saucer, which also kidnaps you if you fly within its beam of light.

But generally, I don’t get frustrated – the games are short and quick-paced. Which probably is a good thing because I find myself unwittingly holding my breath during the trickier aspects of some games. Breathing is good.

Frequent updates keep the content fresh, and several new themes have been introduced to view the game in a new variation, although the fundamentals remain the same. Your aliens may look a bit different, or your Doodler may be dressed like Santa — but you’re still jumping.

Just today as I opened up the app store for the first time in a couple weeks, I discovered a new update promising a new boss in the original game design. Goody. Let’s see if I can beat my personal high score of 33,596 (measly compared to the 4 million + all-time high score!).

If you haven’t yet tried out Doodle Jump, it comes highly recommended not just by me, but also by the thousands of reviewers who have rated the game at 4+ stars out of 5. Considering the price (at least on iPhone), I can’t think of a downside to the game.

My only complaint — or perhaps more of a wish — I just hope they’ll release an updated HD version for the iPad. Could be more fun on the horizon.