Doodle God: CrimeCity
Switch version tested
Review code provided
The thrill of high stakes robberies filled with intense police shootouts and fiery crashes has never felt so real. Unfortunately Doodle God: Crime City is not the game I was describing. The sequel to Joybits first Nintendo offering Doodle God: Evolution, Crime City follows the formula previously set but does it improve upon it?
The DG series for the uninitiated is about creating. Whereas in the original you used elements like fire and water and added them to dirt to create soil Crime City has you combining instances too create new outcomes to use. The totality of gameplay revolves around selecting one item on the left side of the screen and pairing it with one on the right in hopes of achieving the proper outcome. In one scenario you may need to convince a rival to give you information so by selecting the person on one side and a glass of whiskey on the other you have now created a drunk rival who is all too willing to spill the beans. From here you need to pair that newly created instance and repeat the process ultimately culminating in your completion of the quest at hand. Breaking the story up between two different points of views (cops and criminals) on paper is a nice idea. Unfortunately, in practice, nothing changes. The gameplay remains the same with the only real difference being the narrative to the story. The entirety of the game at its core becomes an endless loop of trial and error. The story while not bad is never engaging enough to keep the player truly on the edge of their seat wanting to press onward in hopes of finally cracking that case or conversely cracking into that unbreakable safe.
Visually, DG is not going to win over any new fans. Screenshots capture everything the game has on offer. The entirety of the game is handled from either a static map or notebook. The lack of animation and inclusion of slide transitions have it feeling more like a Powerpoint presentation than an actual videogame. The art style is cartoonish and bright but not of a level that makes what it is lacking not obvious.
The same can be said for the sound in DG. The accompanying soundtrack is a never-ending loop of the same track. Fortunately, the song is not grating but quickly wears out its welcome after a few hours. Additionally, the omnipresent narrator will drive players insane constantly telling you to try again or nice job. This was a missed opportunity as the voice work sounds great, unfortunately, it is majorly underutilized. Having the narrator play more of a role here would have helped out tremendously in terms of driving home the narrative and making it a more memorable experience.
On the whole Doodle God: Crime city feels more like an expansion than a new experience. Lost from the original are the minor educational moments associated with combining elements to create life and instead replaced with a lacklustre crime drama. While experiencing the story from both sides of the law sounds intriguing, what we are left with is a dull trial and error game with no real sense of purpose.
TBG Score: 5/10
Platform: Steam, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Mobile
Release Date: 11/07/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Simulation, Puzzle
Download link: eShop