Escape Doodland Review
Release Date: November 30, 2018
Developer/Publisher: flukyMachine/Qubic Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch (reviewed) Steam
In a world that looks like it was sketched on a bored math student's graph paper, the Doodlers dwell in Doodland. Unfortunately, the unstoppable beast Omnomous attacks, and it's up to you to escape. As you dash, dive, dodge, and double-jump through the world your only line of defense is your terrible gas, beans, and some matches.
Escape Doodland is an auto-run game wherein your selected Doodler dashes away from the unstoppable Omnomous, a big red beast who's sole purpose in life is to eat you. During your dash, you can double jump or use a match to light farts for a super high or long jump, or simply drop one in Omnomous' face to stun him and get him off your tail. Escape Doodland may look like (and could likely be ported to) a mobile game, but it has a higher difficulty rating than most similar games, with the two difficulty options being "hard" and "harder."
The game is based around quite literal toilet humor, but the bizarre setting makes it funny for kids and adults. Omnomous nips you up without any violence, so as long as your kid can enjoy a fart joke they can have fun with Escape Doodland. Personally, the part that bothered me the most was the inexplicable sections where your character is turned into some sort of flying spirit, where the usually happy and upbeat music is dropped for an ambient noise with quiet, unitelligible voices whispering in the background. Levels range from a city on fire to a snowy wilderness with deadly dog pee. Obstacles usually don't kill you, they just push you back towards the jaws of Omnomous. Sometimes the hidden beans are easier to access by intentionally hitting these traps. Collecting beans unlocks later levels and allows you to buy new runners. They all play the same but have different personalities. My family's favorite is the macaroni shaped bee thing that whinnies like a horse. None of it makes sense, nor does it ever need to. You can also buy power ups that may enhance your fart powers or life attempts at beating a level.
Escape Doodland's main draw is the aesthetic. All the drawings look like they're sitting on a graph paper background, further adding to the "doodle" aspect. Omnomous, despite his intimidation, always dresses the part, from icicles in the snow world to a cowboy hat during a Western-themed level. The whole game looks like a crazy fever dream of a bored artist. Once you get good at the levels it is fun to go back and watch what's going on around you as you race for a better run.
Escape Doodland has a mobile game heart, right down to the three heart lives it gives you for a run. It plays fair, though. At it's $9.99 asking price you get all there is, with unlockables through gameplay instead of in game purchases. You don't even need all the beans to unlock all the levels, so casuals can see it all while hardcore gamers can go for perfection. Escape Doodland isn't going to outshine anyone for a Game of the Year award, but it's value price allows some fun challenges and laughs showing it off to your friends.
-Simple to learn yet a complexity to master
-Crass humor provides plenty of laughs
-Difficult to the point of frustration for casual gamers
-That freaky whispering music track
-Crude humor may not appeal to all
Special thanks to flukyMachine/Qubic Games for providing a copy for review!