Doodle Devil: 3volution – Review
Follow Genre: Alchemical puzzle combination
Developer: JoyBits
Publisher: JoyBits
Platform: Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Tested on: Switch

Doodle Devil: 3volution – Review

Site Score
Good: A solid game mechanic
Bad: Somehow has less than the original release
User Score
(4 votes)
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Rating: 1.5/10 (4 votes cast)

First hitting the scene in 2010, the Doodle games have been a color and innovative puzzle series. Influenced by combination puzzle games such as Alchemy by Popcap Games, JoyBits Ltd took the premise to create Doodle God, a game with a minor narrative and engaging mechanics that allowed the player to recreate the world around them. The success of this game allowed the series to expand from an online Flash game into a multiplatform saga across different worlds and eras, with many DLCs as well. With everything they have achieved over more than 10 years of the series, is Doodle Devil: 3volution the next step in this successful lineage?


In the beginning there was light! And then God mixed it with earth and made life! Then they mixed earth and life to make worms! And so on… But while God was busy doodling with the elements, the Devil thought that they too could doodle a few things into existence. A few… sinful things. And so is the plot of Doodle Devil: 3volution; a simple and comical hook to dive into the puzzle of what mixes with what. While not a particularly mind-blowing story by any measure, it’s a standard trademark of the series to play a short cinematic to describe the theme of your creations and to just let the player go for it. As a genre that doesn’t require bogging down with unnecessary details, the idea is a good one, and the player can get started on what they came there to do: Doodling.


The graphics of the Doodle series have always been a simplistic and pleasing affair, that they have managed to build up over the years. Initially, it was a book with pages of elements to drag on top of each other, each a colorful icon in a minimalistic, hand-drawn cartoon style. Then they added additional features such as a world that grew to accommodate your new elements as you discovered them. This was an added level of satisfaction for the player as they could search for the new changes in scenery as their encyclopedia of elements grew. This time around, however, there seem to have been a few steps back. Beyond the pages of elements, there is nothing more to behold. There are bo backgrounds, nothing significantly animated, and nothing that stands out. There isn’t anything wrong with it per se, but after previous installments (and Doodle Devil being available since 2017) a little more was hoped for.


The sounds are produced well, creating swirling effects and melodic chimes when combining items, all while having light unobtrusive background music. However, this is all rendered moot because of the dialogue. With a script of a dozen lines in a haughty “Satanic” voice that makes a comment with every single combination, regardless of success or failure, it gets hard to listen to. To put it bluntly, it became irritating beyond belief, and we had to turn it off.


JoyBits strived to create a combination puzzle game, which they certainly succeeded at. But there is almost nothing more to be said about Doodle Devil: 3volution. What used to be a fun and engaging puzzle of what could work, what makes sense, and how many possible combinations would result in ash before you found something different, is now just a rather flat affair. Now, it’s only a matter of click, drag, drop, repeat. Having played many of the previous installments of the series, including back when it could be played on Newgrounds and Kongregate, the game just didn’t hold the same engagement. There no longer seems to be particularly funny combinations, or there is frustration at combinations that should make sense but don’t work (for example, if mushroom and bomb make nuke, then radiation and bomb should too!!!). Eventually it seems like you have to resort to just testing every possible combination methodically instead of intuitively. And once you start taking this route, as well as use the in-game currency to purchase an upgrade that stops you activating the same combinations,  the main game can be easily completed in about an hour.

There is also a slot machine mini-game, where you can gamble your in-game gold. While you start with 10,000 and don’t seem to need to earn more, you can potentially increase your wealth and purchase hints to speed up the process of this already short game. Though the novelty of these slots wore off, after spending some of this gold on a “devil’s luck bonus” to improve your odds, we proceeded to spin over 20 times without a single win.

Then we found out that there was in fact an end game mini-game; Demon battles! This is basically getting the demons you unlocked through combinations to fight your way through increasingly challenging opponents, for more gold. But just finding them isn’t enough, you have to use demon gate keys to unlock their use. Which cost… Gold! Grind for gold, to unlock things that give you more gold. While that premise is a basic point for many games, the reason is usually to improve at something satisfactory. Demon battles are in fact amazingly boring. Pick your demon with fixed stats, pick your battle, press play. Two static images of the demons appear and send little “whooshes” every 5 seconds at each other until the other dies. The fixed stats usually mean you can only win by also using the 3 elements at the bottom of the screen, which, when combined, will either stun, heal or damage, if you have enough mana, which is another fixed stat. We managed to suffer through two battles before we decided that we had had enough.


When Doodle Devil came out almost 4 years ago, we would have said the game was fun, a little amusing, and a nice pop of color. Now Doodle Devil: 3volution can only be described as incredibly disappointing. It somehow felt like it was two steps back on an incredibly simple game system with no imagination and no replay-ability from a game that we hadn’t even looked at in 4 years. It was frustrating, repetitive, and dull. We completed the game in an hour, and only managed to do so by muting it and just hoping something new would come up. At the end of the day, it’s cheaper on Steam to get Doodle Devil and it feels like you get more.

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Rating: 1.5/10 (4 votes cast)
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Doodle Devil: 3volution - Review, 1.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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