Spot-on Kinect controls and fresh gameplay additions are the recipe for success in the XBLA release of Doodle Jump for Kinect
. Top that off with a low price point and you have a spectacular romp of a game worthy of anyone's Kinect collection.
When Doodle Jump for Kinect
was announced, many were skeptical of how the immensely popular mobile title would translate to the motion-sensing Kinect. Thankfully, we don't need to be jumping constantly, that's still automatic. Instead of tilting your phone to move your Doodle monster, you strafe side-to-side in a two-dimensional plane. Automatically, one would think that this would compromise the precise movements needed to navigate the platforms but surprisingly it works like a charm. There isn't a single moment where you think, "Argh, the Kinect didn't track me properly." More importantly the Kinect implementation is flat-out fun. Games are supposed to be fun, remember?
Other motion-controlled actions include rocket travel (both arms straight up) and projectile shooting (raising and aiming with a single arm), just to name a few. Like the lateral movement used for platform navigation, all of these motion controls work as intended. The game does an impressive job of steadily introducing new features like powerups and new actions without the need of a tutorial of any sort.
Besides the Kinect controls, Doodle Jump
receives a new spin on the tried and true formula, changing from the once infinite jumper to defined levels with a beginning and end. The checkpoints are spaced out fairly, allowing you to come back from your mistakes while still providing a challenge since your time bonus will certainly take a hit.
You can take out enemies with either your unlimited projectiles or by bouncing on them. Bouncing on them is a bit more tricky, but you'll earn more points for doing so. Passing challenges like this are essential for a three-star ranking in each level, though you certainly don't need a perfect run. The game pushes you to do better and get more bonuses but doesn't get anywhere near as frustrating as the trying to nail all of the achievements in the Windows Phone version.
The platform jumping is often tricky, but rarely frustrating. It's very satisfying when you pull off a quick back-and-forth to grab a bonus coin then back onto your regular path. The game also offers fun new powerups and platforms not seen in the mobile game. In this sense the game feels more like a sequel rather than a spinoff or port.
Each level ends with a bullseye to land on that is very Super Mario Bros.
-esque, and essential for big points. There are also boss battles which provide a nice diversion, too.
The graphics are colorful and vibrant and the character design is good. Although there are three different worlds and three boss battles, don't expect any sort of story here. The lack of story is forgivable though, as Doodle Jump
never felt like it needed to tell a tale. Despite thirty different levels to choose from and the need to replay some of them for three stars, the game is a bit short, clocking in at about 5 1/2 hours of playtime. This may have been forgivable had there been some other form of replayability, but after three-starring everything you won't have much incentive to go back. The inclusion of an unlockable endless mode would have probably filled that void. However, it's easy enough to walk away from the game when you're done, knowing that it was only 400 MSP. The levels are fun and designed well but just not memorable enough to go back to after earning all of the gamerscore.
The achievements are challenging, sprinkled with a bit of frustration trying to get three stars. Just a bit
of frustration, though; overall the challenge is healthy, yet doable. The achievement list appears to have variety, but you'll get them all by essentially three-starring everything, which is disappointing. There are a few tasks to complete outside of level completion, but you are almost guaranteed to get those along the way without thought.
Some would contest that Doodle Jump
should have had a controller option, but this would change the scope of the game since it feels like it was designed specifically for Kinect. Sure, using a controller would have made the game easier, but why must everything come easy? The game controls perfectly with Kinect and playing this type of title with a controller would be far less fun.
Despite the length and a few minor qualms, at just 400 MSP Doodle Jump for Kinect
is an essential download for any Kinect owner. This game is simply a blast from beginning to end.
The reviewer grabbed all twelve achievements in one crazy marathon session, which lasted about 5 1/2 hours. Sore feet followed for the next two days. The copy of the game was purchased by the reviewer.