If today’s App Store is all about Angry Birds, yesterday’s was all about Doodle Jump. A highly polished, but crummy looking, bouncing game in which users tilted their devices to help a bug jump on platforms and slowly edge his way up to incredible heights. As Doodle Jump has gotten older, the creator has never milked his “franchise” for the millions Angry Bird has—instead, he’s added new themes, new levels, new characters—and left the price the same. But his goodwill is just one of the reasons this game is still incredibly popular. The difficulty is the main reason.
As you get higher, the game gets harder. Miss one platform, forget to shoot one enemy… we shudder to think of all the “could have beens.” Once you get near your high score, Doodle Jump will inspire white knuckled, heart-racing anxiety. Panic even. The second you fall, you’ll start it all up again.
Remember when we said Doodle Jump used to run the App Store? Well, when it did, it did so hand-in-hand with Pocket God, an incredibly popular sandbox game. Though they weren’t published by the same people, the creators shared some level of goodwill, even making each other’s popular protagonists feature in one another’s games. Simply inputting a username “Ooga” instantly switches Doodle Jump’s cute little bug protagonist into one Of Pocket God’s famous cavemen. Can you imagine if you could switch to Barry Eatstakes in Angry Birds? We might just play the game again. But Pocket God’s homage was even more impressive.
By picking up one of your cavemen and slowly dragging them to the top of the screen and dropping them on a cloud, you would reveal a bounce minigame. Not just any bounce minigame though, one where you bounced on clouds, get lightning boosts, and must be aware of trapdoor clouds. Sound familiar? Bolt Creative put Doodle Jump’s entire premise into its game! But it’s not a rip-off, and in fact, the first achievement you can unlock bouncing reveals Doodle Jump’s little critter. The bouncing element is far from as polished as Doodle Jump’s, but it’ll still have you manically retrying, and for that we think it deserves a download.
If you love Doodle Jump for its adorable protagonist, you’ll love Pocket Frogs. In Nimble Bit’s wonderful collection game, you’re tasked with finding new frogs, mating the one’s you’ve got, and unlocking presents. Sure, it doesn’t resemble Doodle Jump’s unsophisticated style but the frogs are still precious, and collecting them is a task that’s never boring.
Besides the cuteness-factor, Pocket Frogs’ main gameplay element is almost identical to Doodle Jump. Except, instead of jumping from clouds, your frogs jump from Lilly pads. You can’t fall like in Doodle Jump, but if you go to slow you can miss out on collectibles and flies. Even if it’s easy and there’s really no way to lose, there’s still something undeniably similar about Pocket Frogs.
Air Penguin is very similar to Doodle Jump. Except in it, you bounce from ice caps instead of platforms, you’re a penguin instead of a bug, and (most importantly) the camera placement is a little above and a little behind you, as opposed to directly horizontal of your character. It might not sound like a huge difference, but it’s enough to make it feel like an entirely different game.
Despite the similarities, Air Penguin plays almost entirely different than Doodle Jump. Part of that is the level-structure. Instead of a one-chance gameplay, Air Penguin has a story that can only be completed by finishing hundreds of levels. These levels aren’t easy either, and you’ll finish dozens of levels without getting the tiny collectibles in the level. If you love it like we did, you’ll want to go back and collect them. Can you say, “replay value?”