In the beginning, there was nothing. Then, some things were created by an all-benevolent superbeing-type god. A not-so-benevolent deity also has a job to do, though, and once the world exists, his task is to cause a little mayhem. The original Doodle God, available in both an iPhone version and a Flash browser game, focused on creating the universe by mixing basic elements one after the other. Doodle Devil, on the other hand, is about crafting the darker side of life, blending rudimentary concepts together to create chaos.
The mechanics in Doodle Devil are identical to Doodle God, so if you know how to play the original, you've got a good start for this game. Simply tap one of the element groups to open it up, then tap a second group to open those elements on the facing side of the screen. Touch an element, then touch another to try combining them. Things start off rather symbolically with just a human and an apple to combine. Mix them and you get sin and knowledge, soon to become a dozen or so basic elements ripe for the mixing.
If you get stuck, and you will get stuck on many, many occasions, there are two types of hints available in Doodle Devil. The single lightbulb gives you a possible creation and lets you guess which elements combine to make it. The dual lightbulbs hint opens two element categories with the promise that at least one match can be made with the shown icons. Hints are on a recharge timer, so even if you're really stumped, it's just a matter of time before you'll find your way.
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Analysis: More Doodle God is never a bad thing, and even though Doodle Devil doesn't reinvent the alchemical wheel, there's still plenty to love. The series distills a very basic element found at the core of all video games: exploration and discovery. Who doesn't love turning over another stone to see if there's treasure? Doodle Devil does the same thing, only instead of finding coins inside of a ceramic pot, you roll the dice and try mixing fire with apples to see what will happen.
At first, many of the combinations you try will work, simply because you only have a handful of things to mix and an entire world of things to create. With each new match you make, Doodle Devil treats you to a quote related to your discovery, sometimes a poignant one, sometimes a funny one, sometimes a simple proverb. It's a nice bit of flavor text either way, and it adds to the element of discovery.
Just like its predecessor, Doodle Devil suffers the same trial-and-error pitfall late in the game. It's wildly entertaining when most things you try to combine produce something new. But later on, when you've got precious few things to create and dozens of elements you can combine, you realize it's just a matter of trying to mix everything with everything else. Not very challenging, but it doesn't ruin an otherwise entertaining game.
Doodle Devil only expands the series' number of elements by 80 or so, as many of the game's 107 elements are recycled from Doodle God. Still, with the great-looking artwork and simple but rewarding gameplay, it's tough to find a more engaging experience in a casual game.