When the App Store first launched, the iPhone’s most notable gaming features were its tilt controls and lack of buttons. Taking advantage of this unique design, Lima Sky’s Doodle Jump required very few button presses and a lot of tilting. This simple platforming game was a success, creating a viable genre of “vertical platformers” and a hand-drawn art style that has been extensively imitated.
In Doodle Jump, you play as a four-legged alien creature called the Doodler, who looks like he was scribbled together by a kid with crayons. By tilting your device, the Doodler will drift to the side, bouncing off of platforms and reaching new heights. When you inevitably miss a jump, or run into an enemy, the game displays your name at that height for other players to see. Bouncing past your friends’ high scores was an early and effective social gaming feature, and Doodle Jump continued to innovate with new modes and worlds over the years. It also became a pop culture phenomenon, with references to the game in an episode of The Big Bang Theory and on the costumes of Lady Gaga’s backup dancers.
Key Quote: “Doodle Jump epitomizes the microgame ideal, in that it’s best played with one hand while killing time. We’d even play it while idling at some of the longer red lights in San Francisco, if we thought we could get away with it.”
Doodle Jump: Hop the Movie
Along with Angry Birds Rio, Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots, and Temple Run: Brave, Doodle Jump received its own licensed film tie-in in 2011. Launching alongside the animated Easter Bunny film Hop, Doodle Jump: Hop the Movie uses slightly more realistic graphics and divides the gameplay into levels instead of one long, scrolling stage. It’s a pretty good free game, so it’s worth a quick download, but the original Doodle Jump has received far more updates over the years and feels more relevant than this dated tie-in.
Key Quote: “If you like Doodle Jump, be sure to pick up this movie tie-in version. Even if the movie doesn’t appeal to you, the gameplay is just as fun, and the level progression adds a nice twist to the traditional gameplay.”
Tomorrow, our 50 Best Game Series concludes with Call of Duty, a military console series with several impressive mobile versions on iOS.
This article is part of a series about the best games on iOS, 2008-2013. You can read the rest here.