Dodo Master in Review – Don’t Be A Dodo And Miss This One
3D certainly has its place in the world of gaming, and there’s no question that some of the 3D content available on the iOS platform looks pretty slick. Personally, though, I’d just assume have a nicely drawn 2D game any day of the week, and Dodo Master is just such a game. It’s a lot more than eye candy, however. It’s the perfect example of how to make a fun platform game for iOS that has pretty basic mechanics and derives its challenge from excellent level design rather than shoddy controls. And, you get can hats for your dodo. Who doesn’t love a dodo wearing hats?
If you haven’t caught on yet, you play a dodo in Dodo Master. For some reason that’s not really explained you’ve been tossed in a dungeon, and all of your eggs have been captured (which, based on what I’ve played so far, means you’ve been a VERY busy dodo). You finally decide you can’t take it and escape from your cell, so now you have to figure out how to get out of this odd yet beautifully constructed dungeon. There are 20 levels to master, each comprised of 4 different sections. You can complete the levels in any order, but once you choose a level you must finish it in order to earn a key to unlock another level. Even the level selection screen is a level that you can walk through, though thankfully there are no traps to harm you as you navigate from door to door. Those come only once you’ve entered one of the doors.
Speaking of which, there are plenty of traps littered throughout the levels in Dodo Master. Spiked implements of death are prevalent, as well as pits of fire, collapsing platforms and perilously small ledges that are easy to accidentally step off of or completely miss when you’re jumping towards them. There is also a bestiary comprised of rats (both the regular and N.I.H.M. kind), spiders that have clearly been feed too much and weird half-creature skeletons that hover around and sometimes hurl flaming blue balls at you. If you actually ponder it for a minute the variety of different obstacles is not that great, yet the developers have managed to make each level feel fresh and exciting. The other thing that strikes me about the level design is that while some parts can be challenging and infrequently even get frustrating, in the end everything always seems fair. Unlike many platform games that go for the cheap kill, this one feels like the developers had the players in mind.
The controls are pretty standard platforming fare: left and right arrows for movement, a button to jump / double jump and a button to perform a slam after you’ve jumped. The slam is useful for breaking eggs or hearts out of containers as well as removing some unsturdy flooring to reach levels below, but remember that all creatures can be dispatched with a regular jump, so don’t use the slam if you don’t need to. The controls work pretty decent, though occasionally I find myself accidentally hitting the opposite direction of how I actually want to move. You can actually position the controls wherever you’d like, but on my iPad 2 I haven’t quite found the position yet that alleviates my problem and feels comfortable. You do have two chances on each section before you have to start over, unless you start the section with only one heart. Thankfully there are enough hearts scattered throughout the levels that you can usually recoup your life without too much trouble. And, if you happen to complete a level with only one heart, there are even a couple scattered throughout the menu level.
To finish the game you simply have to conquer all 20 levels. There wouldn’t be much challenge in that though, now, would there? If you truly want to complete the game you need to get all the eggs on each level. Fortunately, if you happen to miss one or two the first time around you can always play a level again to get the remaining eggs. The game is even nice enough to color code the eggs so you know which ones you’ve already collected and can simply risk your lives for the remaining ones. Plus, for every level you gather all of the eggs on you’ll earn a new hat. And trust me, some of these hats are pretty cool. I just wish there were some indication of how many eggs you had left to gather on a level. Right now you only know you’ve got them all when it counts them up at the completion of the level. Additionally there are 21 achievements to earn, and while they are “hidden” before completion when you look in Game Center, 20 correspond to getting all the eggs on each level. I would suppose the last is for completing the entire game.
Dodo Master is a gorgeous game, which is the reason I started this review with my comments on 2D vs 3D. The levels are beautifully drawn and nicely detailed. From the time you step into a room with the gust of air accentuating your entrance to all the details like light streaming through the windows and the fire of candles and torches flickering everywhere, the artists did a wonderful job of making this a living, breathing world. They were even kind enough to provide little red sparkles around the less obvious dangerous areas. The audio elements are also extremely well done. The creaks and groans of the equipment really add to the atmosphere of the dungeon, and things like the crackle of the flames enhance the feeling of a dynamic world. I did find the choice of making the smaller rounds sound like squeaky toys when being squished a bit odd. The music is nicely written and sets a great mood for your quest, but I was particularly impressed with the tracks for the last couple of rooms. They really stepped it up a notch on those two and got the adrenaline pumping for the end of the game.
At a time when there seems to be a trend towards infinite runners and third person perspectives, it is nice to still see some developers put out good old fashioned Mario style platform games. Sure they might not be as nail biting as the old Mega Man fare or as intricate as a Metroid or Mario, but in a world constantly on the go they suit me just fine. Dodo Master is a fine example of such a game, and I hope their promise of more to come holds true. I’d love to see these guys tackle a set of levels that takes place outdoors to challenge both the designers’ abilities at devising puzzles and the artists’ capabilities of bringing a 2D world to life.
|Title:||Dodo Master||Developer:||semir Saleh|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.11||Min OS Req:||iOS 7.0|