REVIEW: ‘Doodle Devil: 3volution’ Bares Little Evolution (XSX)

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Doodle Devil 3volution - But Why Tho?

Doodle Devil: 3volution is the console version of the spinoff of the classic Doodle God game developed and published by JoyBits. It’s a simple concept: you’re given a few elements to start with (earth, fire, water, air), and from them, you must create all of the most heinous elements of human history. It’s a classic chemistry game that Doodle God popularized more than a decade ago. And honestly, that’s about it. There’s a plot. Something about the devil and helping him out. But the game is really all about the mixing of elements to uncover the nearly 300 the game has to discover.

These games were popularized originally as mobile games where you could easily tap on elements and quickly combine them, or fail to and keep retrying, to create new elements that can be used for further combinations. The trouble with console versions is that the controls can become a tad cumbersome since each element is shown once on either side of the screen. You can use just the left joystick/d-pad to select one element from the left side and then use the left stick to select one from the right. Or, you can use the left and right sticks and the left and right triggers to sort through menus. This wasn’t intuitive at first but became essential as the screens became filled with elements and categories to navigate, and clicking through one option at a time became slow and boring. This small thing helps make a tedious process a little better, but it’s still annoying.

I used to love these chemistry games, and in some ways, I still do. But Doodle Devil: 3volution does nothing to innovate on the series in meaningful ways and is just too easy to cheese your way through. While you’re meant to use in-game currency to buy hints and such to help you uncover new combinations, the fact that you can just endlessly mash guesses with no punishment makes the game feel like almost a waste of time to play fairly. Other games in the series introduced timers that would go on if you made too many guesses, and there’s no reason this entry in the series couldn’t add something similar, despite essentially being a port.

The one new thing Doodle Devil: 3volution does add is a sort of a battle mode. There are several new mythical demonic beasts that you can create in the story mode that can be “freed” using keys you can purchase with in-game currency. You can then use them to battle in this odd and clunky battle mode that works in a sort of JRPG-like fashion. Ultimately, it’s very boring, offers no worthwhile rewards, and doesn’t even have achievements connected to it. And unless you’re really familiar with eldritch horrors, you’re likely to end up guessing your way into uncovering all of the formulas.

Lastly, there’s a slot machine where you can gamble your in-game currency to try and gain more. It’s not the highest risk game, having potentially spent more time mashing the A button playing that to unlock one high-RNG achievement than I did in the whole rest of the game. And it does have some amusing voice-over. Since you need these coins to buy keys and hints, it’s certainly a better option than paying real-life money for them.

Ignoring all of what the game neglected to improve over the original version, it is still an enjoyable addition to the Doodle God franchise. While perhaps not the first entry I’d gravitate towards, the devilish theme and your quest to brew all of the sins, chaos, demons, and maladies in the world are amusing and get you thinking creatively as well as any other game in the series. But if you’re looking for a new generation of chemistry game gameplay, this definitely isn’t it.

Doodle Devil: 3volution is available now on Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation.

Doodle Devil: 3volution
  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10
6/10

TL;DR

Ignoring all of what the game neglected to improve over the original version, it is still an enjoyable addition to the Doodle God franchise. While perhaps not the first entry I’d gravitate towards, the devilish theme and your quest to brew all of the sins, chaos, demons, and maladies in the world are amusing and get you thinking creatively as well as any other game in the series. But if you’re looking for a new generation of chemistry game gameplay, this definitely isn’t it.