The App Store is host to an abundance of games with a hand-drawn visual style, wherein the action takes place on graph paper. The slightly rubbish Panzer Panic being just one example.
Spooky House’s Doodle Train – a puzzler of sorts – is yet another title from the hand-drawn mould, but the graph paper is particularly fitting here since the playing area is comprised of little pieces of railway track.
Between the four game modes, there’s an insane amount of stuff to do in Doodle Train. And it’s bloomin’ free. Sweet.
Labyrinth mode is the thinker. The aim is to get your train from Start to Finish, through a maze of pieces. First you have to consider the route your train will take, adjusting switches and rotating sections of track. Next, when you’re all set, tap the start button to get your train rolling.
Some of the levels appear incredibly convoluted at first glance, but a little analysis often yields a surprisingly simple solution. It’s immensely satisfying watching your train hurtle towards its goal; and equally disappointing when you realise you’ve messed up.
To keep things interesting, there are pirate trains that must be avoided. Collide with them and you’ll have to start over. There are also colour/shape-coordinated tunnels.
All in all, there’s a whopping 50 levels in Labyrinth. And that’s just the first game mode.
In Build Railroad you work in real time. The train sets off from the Start position immediately, and you have to quickly lay down pieces of track to make sure it doesn’t crash. There are also bombs, which can be used to clear nuisance pieces.
The third mode, Snake, cranks the action up a notch. It’s an endless mode in which you’re tasked with collecting stars, however there are pesky pirate trains to consider too. You have to ponder both the route of your train, and that of the troublesome pirates.
Finally, there’s Longest Railroad. No prizes for guessing what you have to do here.
The Ennio Morricone-esque soundtrack is great, and fits perfectly with the feel of the game. However, if necessary, you can turn off the music and/or sound effects in the Options menu.
- 100+ levels
- Four unique modes
- Great soundtrack
- Perhaps not as challenging as it could be
Summary: Doodle Train is one of the best free titles I’ve come across on the App Store. True, it’s far from the best game ever, but it exudes charm and there’s tons to do.
Developer: Spooky House
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Price: free @ App Store