Have you ever played a game that looked incredibly simple on the outside, yet turned out to be very addictive and in-depth once you really got into it? This was my experience with Doodle Devil: 3volution, a rather unusual and complex puzzle game stemming from a very simple core mechanic – matching two elements together to make a new one. I’ve not played any of the prior games in the franchise, this was my first encounter with the gameplay style, so was it enough to keep me entertained?
Doodle Devil: 3volution was developed and published by JoyBits, a developer who is no stranger to the casual mobile and PC gaming market. Aside from the various ‘Doodle’ games, they’ve also published some Hidden Object games, akin to the Artifex Mundi titles. Doodle Devil actually launched on the PS4 back in 2016, but this version seems to be based on the updated 2017 PC edition which contains a few new modes for you to play. I’ve not played the original game, as stated above, so outside of looking at images on the store page, I couldn’t really comment on just how different the overall experience is.
So, did Doodle Devil: 3volution have me addicted and glued to my PS5 for over 10 hours, furiously trying to unlock the final trophy, or was it a very quick experience that I was done with after an hour? Let’s find out…
Whilst Doodle God was busy creating the universe, Doodle Devil was also having fun creating his own things to place within it. This is about as much of a story you’re going to get with Doodle Devil: 3volution, it’s a game that embraces the same mechanics and gameplay that is present in the Doodle God games, yet presented with an evil twist. If you’ve played that game, you’ll know how the game works, if not then allow me to explain…
As stated above, the game is essentially a puzzle game in which you mix two elements together in order to make a new element. You initially start with a very small selection of elements, yet once you get into the swing of things, you’ll end up with over 150 which you have to combine together in order to unlock more and populate your evil encyclopedia. You can approach this game either with logic or trial and error, trying to work out which items could combine in order to make a new element or simply picking one and trying to fuse it with every single element you’ve already unlocked.
For example, if you combine the Beast element with Diseases, you’ll get a Rat. Then, combining the Rat with Air will clearly give you a Pigeon – the flying rat. I personally unlocked at least half of the elements by strategically thinking about what I was trying to unlock (thanks to the built-in hints which push you in the right direction) and the rest were unlocked via trial and error and taking a sneaky-peek at the element guide for the original game (as the combinations are the same).
You can tell that Doodle Devil: 3volution is based on a mobile game – or at least it still has the mobile format running through its veins. You have in-game credits and obtain a daily bonus if you load it up each day and try to perform some experiments. The in-game credits (which you can’t buy with real money, even if you want to) are used to unlock various hint tokens and permanent or temporary enhancements. But, what do these do?
In terms of hints, you can buy packs of tokens that will either show you something you can create (leaving the discovery of what to use for you to figure out), show you two elemental groups which can be combined to make a new element (but not which elements within the groups it’s referring to), or simply an option for the game to automatically mix two elements and create a new one which you don’t have (meaning you don’t have to do anything). Each of these increase in price, with the middle one giving you a free token every ten minutes or so.
Apparently, you can watch an advert to get a free token for the first format above, but the advert button never worked when I pressed it. Again, this is clearly an option that has migrated from the mobile version as I’ve never seen a PS4 game with the option to watch an ad for a benefit.
The other purchasable options are passive abilities which will help you out immensely if you’re trying to figure out all of the combinations by yourself. You can unlock a timed (24 hours) border which lets you know that there are no more possible combinations for that particular element, one which blocks you from wasting your time and duplicating elements you’ve already found, and a dotted border that indicates you’ve not used it to make anything yet. These are relatively cheap (as you start with 10k coins), yet they’ll save you many hours of experimenting with elements that have no further solutions.
More coins without Microtransactions?
So, how do you get coins in Doodle Devil: 3volution? Simple, you gamble all of your life savings in the casino! Aside from the main game, which is where you’re trying to unlock all of the different elements, there are two side activities – the Devil Slots and Demon Battle. Let’s talk about the slots first…
Demon Slots is your bog-standard fruit machine, only pictured with the seven deadly sins instead of harmless fruit. You can bet as much as you want and opt for a single, double, or triple-line prize setup, as you do in most modern iterations of the popular casino gambling machine. Then, sit back and tap the ‘spin’ button as you pray for a winning combination that’ll bag you a hefty profit, based on what the RNG-Gods are willing to give you. You can, and I highly suggest you do, buy a lucky charm for 50 coins that’ll supposedly increase your odds of winning – it doesn’t, however, guarantee you’ll win big.
In my opening section of this review, I mentioned playing the game for ten hours whilst trying to obtain a single trophy – I lied, it was actually about 15 hours (post completing the game). The game comes with ‘DLC trophies’ that are related to the Devil Slots, requiring you to obtain various bonus payouts. Obtaining the triple devil (x1000) took me between 13-15 hours due to how low the probability was of unlocking this particular combination. Did I sit in front of my PS5 all the time? Nope. I connected my Gioteck VX4 controller (as it’s a PS4 BC game) and enabled auto-fire on the Cross button, propping an item on the button so it continuously pressed it until my 10k coins all ran out.
Once my money ran out, I deleted my save, loaded up the game so I got another 10k, then went straight back into the Slots to try again. Obviously, this was after I completed the main game as that segment also took me about five to six hours to figure out all the elements (without looking up the solutions online). I did raise the difficulty to the developers, who said they may adjust the probability, but seeing as I’ve already got the trophy now, I don’t know if the latest patch adjusted it.
Demon Battle is a mode in which you get to battle, with demons… You pick one, from a selection based upon what elements you’ve unlocked in the main game, and then enter mortal combat with a CPU controlled beast. The fight itself is rather simplistic, you have three elements on the screen and you can combine two at a time to either heal yourself or damage your opponent. The goal is to eliminate your foe without losing all your health, obtaining rewards each time you take them out.
I personally didn’t spend too long in this mode as there are no trophies related to it. For those looking to get as much as they can out of the game, I’m sure they’ll enjoy buying keys, unlocking better demons, and beating up all the CPU demons, but this mode just wasn’t for me as I didn’t feel like I was being rewarded as I progressed. Also, according to a few articles online, playing with certain demons would boost your gameplay elsewhere, such as the Succubus improving your chances of winning in Demon Slots – but, I didn’t notice any boost in luck with that demon selected, it may have been a mobile-only boost?
As someone completely new to the gameplay format in Doodle Devil: 3volution, what did I think of the overall experience? I have to admit, I enjoyed it. I’m a sucker for mobile games, especially idle games and ones which I can just play for the odd few minutes here and there whilst I’m waiting for something to install or my food to cook. So, the concept and gameplay of this game were quite addictive and entertaining, but it won’t be for everyone.
The game, outside of the hint system, has very little hand-holding involved. You can be sat there for a long time, trying to figure out what elements you could fuse together to create a new one, only to give up and resort to trial and error until you get lucky and find a new combination. As such, if you have little patience, or you don’t like games with little direction, you may find yourself getting frustrated as you reach for your phone to Google the solutions. But, if you just want something to casually play then this game could last for a long time.
Every element comes with whimsical and quirky quotes and sayings upon discovering them, providing a little incentive to finding all the solutions. Also, although trophy hunters would love this game, especially if they just want to rush through it with a guide, there is no Platinum trophy. The trophy list is made up of the Base Game trophies (completing the game and finding all of the various combinations with certain elements post-finding all the individual elements) and a ‘DLC’ set based on the Demon Slots. I would have liked a platinum, which may have been possible if it was all a single list, but I’ll that the 100% I unlocked.
*On a side note, if you see any reviews talking about a sound issue – the developers fixed this in a patch just before launch. As such, there are no longer any sound issues on the PS4 version*
Doodle Devil: 3volution is a very addictive and unique puzzle game, it requires a lot of patience and thinking outside of the box in order to discover all of the hidden elements. Although the Demon slots seems a little too much in favour of the house, in terms of giving you a big payout, this mini-game and the Demon Battle one are both fun distractions when you need a break from trying to figure out the hundreds of solutions in the main game. I don’t believe the game will be for everyone, but if you like casual puzzle games which you can pick up and play in short bursts at a time, check it out.
Doodle Devil: 3volution£7.39
- - Very addictive
- - Will last a long time if you don't look up the solutions
- - The Slots and Battles are a nice distraction
- - No microtransactions, all credits are earned in-game
- - Funny and interesting quotes
- - The game is literally unlocking new elements by combining two other elements. There's not any strategy involved as it's mainly trial and error
- - Although the Demon Battle was fun, there are no trophies involved, so most people may just ignore this mini-game
- - The probability of getting the biggest combo in the slots was very low (this may have been adjusted though)