Sketching Out Quality Puzzle Solving with Doodle Food Expedition on iDevice

Puzzle games are ideal for mobile devices. The best are simple to learn, can be played in short spurts and offer addicting challenges. Doodle Food Expedition by Hadron Solutions for the iPhone and iPad fits all of these qualifications.

Doodle Food is a puzzle app with the familiar goal of getting Object C from Point A to Point B. The expedition starts off simple and gradually adds new elements to increase the challenge.  Its deceptive simplicity, coupled with light social mechanics, make this an app well worth trying.

The premise is that the doodled world is at war and it’s up to you to get food supplies to the front line… or something… with a cannon. This back-story becomes an afterthought once play begins. On the left side of the screen is the cannon, which fires packets of food. On the right side, a barrier that catches them and drops them down to the soldiers below.

With simple taps, you move the cannon up and down and tap where you want to shoot. The fired food packet will then follow that trajectory until it collides with an object. If it hits a wall or a blue bumper, it will bounce at the appropriate angle until it either hits the invisible wall or a “bomb wall.”

This is where the puzzle solving comes into play as bomb walls will incinerate the food, reducing your score for that level. The idea is to bounce the packet off the blue bumpers while avoiding the red bomb walls. Simple, right?

Well, at first it’s pretty easy, but new challenges are introduced one by one. Eventually, enemy cannons will begin firing bombs that must be avoided; or perhaps they’ll fire bumper cannonballs to change your food packet’s orientation. Also, some levels have glass boxes that must be shattered (by being hit), but will change the food packet’s trajectory, while still others will have portals that teleport the food packet to new regions. Oh, and occasionally the levels have doors that must be opened by shooting a lever… which might only be reachable by a portal, behind a moving object, while a cannon shoots at it and glass is in the way.

As you can see, things get difficult very quickly. Thankfully, there is no set number of lives. Each level and shot fired has a maximum potential score. For each bounce the food packet makes, that score is reduced by one. This makes the real goal to shoot for that high score.

This, of course, is where the light social elements come into play. Integrated within the OpenFeint social-mobile gaming network, players can participate in both leaderboards and sharable achievements and multiple versions of the game that are tied into the same profile.

The full version costs money, but an ad-driven Lite version is available for both devices with an achievement for completing the Lite version’s puzzles. There are good puzzles to solve in the free version that definitely entice one to want the full rendition.

Doodle Food Expedition is an addictively fun game, and if nothing else, the Lite version is worth a try. If you’re a puzzle game fan, the full version is worth the price tag and works great on either the iPad or iPhone.

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