As the follow-up to the popular Doodle God and Doodle Devil series, JoyBits’ Doodle Farm doesn’t take any chances with mixing up the series’ formula. Also, there’s no doodling in the game whatsoever, which makes the title perplexing. All the games in this series are strange casual puzzlers that task players with combining various elements to create new ones. In the case of Doodle Farm, the game is entirely focused on mixing and matching real-world animals to create new creatures.
It’s hard to say exactly why this series is so popular. The gameplay and presentation are remarkably bare bones. The game starts with just a couple choices (like a chicken, a worm, and an egg), which, in turn, can be combined to form new animals and animal groups. The more animals you successfully combine, the more new creatures and groups you have access to. There are 17 groups of animal types and 137 kinds of creatures in total.
Nature at its finest.
Groups include things like farm animals, insects, small furry creatures, birds, reptiles, large and small aquatic creatures, and others– which include dinosaurs. The object of the game is to find every possible combination of creatures. The interface to do so is remarkably simple. You tap an animal group on one side of the screen, which reveals all the animals available in that group. Then, you tap another (or the same) group on the opposite side of the screen. Simply tap on the pictures of two animals (or drag one to the other) and the game will either make a sound to indicate they don’t match, or pop up a graphic for a new creature.
And that’s pretty much it. Each creature has a wiki link for more information about it, and the interface is more user friendly than the previous games. Now, the game will indicate which animals have more matches to discover, which have none left, and which you can’t yet match based on the type of box outlined around it. There’s also an expert mode for gamers who don’t want the hints.
While Doodle God tended to have matches that followed some form of logic, a lot of the animal combinations here just don’t make any sense. If combining a mouse and an ant to create a cockroach, or a croc and a penguin to make a hippo make sense to you, then this game is a perfect match. To us, too many of the matches seemed completely arbitrary.
If you’ve stuck with the series this long and enjoy the simple gameplay, Doodle Farm is a perfectly fine addition to the library. Reading-age youngsters will likely be captivated by just discovering what new critters they can make. Older players, however, might find the gameplay too simple and, ultimately, boring.