Jun 29, 2011
It’s fair to say that if some Swedish mega-genius hadn’t decided to include Snake on Nokia’s early mobile phones, we might not be in the position that we are today. That simple act turned mobile phones into more than just phones that were mobile, and paved the way for the jack-of-all-trades multimedia devices we carry around with us today.
It seems fitting then that things have come round almost full circle. Doodle Grub is an attempt to recapture the glory days of 2D mobile phone gaming, with a bit of up-to-date polish and some rather more modern ideas about control than Nokia were able to implement in their clone of a clone. The question is, is this nostalgia gone mad or a welcome blast from the past?
First things first, Doodle Grub’s main difference from the original Snake, other than the way it looks, is the way it handles. You’re not pushing buttons or sliding your thumb around on an imaginary D-pad; instead you’re moving your snake, or grub, around using the accelerometer in your phone. In other words, to make the snake go left, you tilt your phone left.
It’s a system that almost works, but it’s not quite subtle enough to deal with the quick changes in speed and direction that the game calls for. Whilst you no longer have to dodge your own tail, there are plenty of other obstacles getting between you and the tasty apples you crave, including giant bugs, and the tilt controls just aren’t good enough when you need them most. It’s a shame, because the game’s other ideas all work really well. Some of the fruit you go after is rotten, and will lose you points if you eat it, and ladybugs act as Pacman style power pills, turning you into a spiky, bug killing machine.
Doodle Bug is a nice try to do something new with an old favourite. Sadly, it doesn’t quite pull it off, but it’s still worth a look if you fancy reliving the good old days when phone games were simple and sating the hunger of a four pixel wide snake was the only thing that mattered.