There have been a few Doodle God games, but Crime City is much more vast in terms of content. Your primary goal is simple, to combine elements and create new ones to unravel all of the objects within what is basically an illustration of a city filled with crime. It demands thought and intelligence, as you need to imagine what two things combined together really could create. Doodle God gets more difficult as you play because of how many elements and groups you must keep track of. It starts taking a long time just to find one combination that works. There are a total of 288 different elements and combining while in the late game can stump you. That’s where hints come in. You can get hints on two groups that have a matching element, or maybe you’d like the game to just combine two for you. There is plenty of fun combinations to be seen, and you gain money from completing certain ones (which are the quests while building the city picture).
Here’s what I liked:
Matching Elements — The overall theme, matching elements to make a new element, is actually quite creative. Provoking thought, you really had to dig deep into your mind to mix and match for success. As you are successful, the game becomes even harder. There are plenty of groups and elements to keep track of. Most of the combinations made sense, and sometimes you had kind of that “oh yeah” moment. There are a few that make no sense at all or some that make total sense but make nothing. You can pick up how it all works quite easily, and it can indeed become addicting. Once you’re finished matching them all, you’ll be wishing there were more. It would have been a nice addition to include all ways to make the element as part of a puzzle. There are some that have multiple solutions.
Controls — You’ve given a few options on how you want to match your elements. You can use the triggers (left and right make sense), or you can highlight and press A then the game automatically switches you to the other side. It can actually be faster than using a mouse or your finger while on mobile. Even while being overwhelmed by all of the new groups appearing, the game makes room for them versus putting them onto separate pages. They change in size and move, and it all looks aesthetically appealing.
Here’s what I didn’t like
Campaign Mode — A few short scenarios make up the whole “campaign.” You can choose different routes on how you want to handle situations based on crime. Failing happens, and if it does you must restart the whole scenario. Shoot a car, for example, and it’s game over. The mini-stories weren’t that creative, and I felt that they were poorly written.
Micro-transactions — I’m neither for or against certain micro-transactions. I’ve spent plenty of money on them, usually for skins or in-game buffs that help me complete the game faster. In this game, I am not sure what the end goal was for micro-transactions. You can purchase money called “buxes,” which is the in-game currency. The buxes will help you buy hints or other somewhat nifty features to help you solve the puzzles easier. What is confusing about it, is that there is no replayability once you have completed the game. If you have a lot of time, you can just keep trying random matches of the elements until you get them. Usually, a new element will combine to create yet another new element. I was able to complete the game without spending money, as you do get enough from missions to use hints. I just kept obtaining the ones that give you a random match. If I ran out, I’d be honest; I found a list online that showed me the creations. I used it if I got stuck and even when tempted to just use it for all elements, I didn’t. I guess I just saw no point in a money grab attempt. It’s not like you can utilize the hints after you’ve unlocked all elements. It seems thrown in and greedy.
If you’re looking for a casual puzzle game that you can pick up and drop whenever you’re in the mood, this is a great bit of fun. It does have a lot of great combinations but also a lot that just made no sense. The micro-transaction part is an annoying idea, but in the end, it’s really up to the player to decide if they would like to speed up their game by using their own money. The campaign was a letdown, but I guess it’s better than not having one at all. When they release another Doodle God game, I most certainly will pick it up.
Score: Reader’s Choice
Doodle God: Crime CIty was published and developed by JoyBits, Inc on Xbox One. It was released on November 7, 2018, for $6.99. A copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes.