Thursday, November 29

Review: Escape Doodland [Nintendo Switch eShop]


While endless runner-style games are typically mobile fare they can work out on consoles as well if they fit your tastes. Of course, you’d hope that with a bigger screen, and potentially being played on a television, that the developer would make use of the space. While Escape Doodland does a fair job of at least using a bunch of funky hand-drawn characters and elements everywhere to make it visually interesting, unfortunately while its levels can be challenging the gameplay isn’t terribly complex, so it may at best be an acquired taste.


The goals and controls for Doodland are generally pretty simple. You’ll constantly be running away from a giant dragon monster-looking thing that will chomp down and eat you if you fall of your pace. A wide variety of obstacles will be thrown in your way to either slow you down or make you fall to your doom. In general you’ll only be armed with a double-jump and the power of directional farting as your means of movement. Yes, using match-lit farts you can propel yourself forward, upward, or even stink out the monster temporarily to run away. It’s kind of like a hand-drawn version of Bit.Trip Runner but with flatulence in place of musical beats.


Progression is earned through trying to be sure to pick up as many green beans during your runs as you can, the more you’re able to get the more golden beans you’re awarded when you complete the level. These golden beans will give you access to new levels and the green ones can be used as currency in the shop to unlock new character skins and small upgrades to try to help out. Not all levels are precisely the same, so there’s a little variety, but on a general level the gameplay is straightforward and you can choose to enjoy it or pass.


While it likely won’t win any awards Escape Doodland seems to accomplish what it set out to do, provide a somewhat challenging runner that includes some silliness and a lot of weird characters and settings. There are some sections and situations where the hitboxes of your character and elements on the screen can be a bit too large, which is annoying, but for the most part success is all on you getting your execution down and letting your muscle memory get you through tough sections with a little repetition. Since there aren’t too many titles like it on Switch perhaps it’ll satisfy your need for precision jumping, with a bit of weirdness thrown in.


Score: 6.5

Pros:
  • Weird hand-drawn art gives the game a distinct style
  • In general the layouts of the levels are challenging and fun
  • With so few controls it all comes down to execution, which is sometimes nice


Cons:
  • On a general level it gets a bit repetitive even if different looks on each stage try to make them seem fresh
  • There are some issues in some areas where the hitboxes on your character and the environment seem a bit screwy
  • There just isn’t much depth here to explore