Inkee Doodle is what you might call a “fusion” game. Part incremental clicker, part Scribblenauts, part piñata, it would be in danger seeming hodgepodge if it weren’t for the indestructible gameplay loop that drives it forward.
The game breaks down into three parts, the first being the drawing stage. Using the game’s simple but fairly effective drawing tool, you use your finger to create an image on the screen.
Those expecting Photoshop levels of sophistication will be disappointed, but Inkee Doodle’s visual editor just about does the job. There’s a slider for changing the size of the brush, another for changing the amount of shade and tint, and a color wheel for choosing your paint color.
The smallest thickness of line is still fairly thick, which rules out photorealistic drawings, and makes high quality ones pretty unrealistic unless you have serious fingertip drawing skills, but with practice you’ll refine your technique.
Crucially, you can import images as well as drawing them, and these make for the most satisfying creations. Imagine that dancing elf app, but you can assault the elf.
Drawn and Quartered
Which takes us neatly onto stage two. Once you’re happy with your creation you can convert it into a floppy, malleable, destructible object, and this is where the gameplay kicks in. You need to stab, jab, prod, and tear at your little creation to make it shed candies, pausing intermittently to collect the candies you’ve spilled before they disappear.
This is an open-ended process. As you abuse your drawing it gets more and more ragged and disintegrated, yielding fewer and fewer candies as it loses all semblance of its former identity. You can generally still extract more, though. The round only ends when you hold your finger down on the cross.
The destruction phase of the game is satisfying, but imperfect. Not every swipe on the screen is registered, as if the app can only process a couple in quick succession before taking a time out, and swipes rarely feel entirely accurate.
Fortunately, this doesn’t detract much from the fun of just swiping with a claw-like hand (Inkee Doodle registers multiple inputs) and watching the candies erupt across the screen.
The third stage of Inkee Doodle involves spending your candies on upgrades. These fall into a few different categories: increasing your max speed combo, increasing the value of the candies, prolonging the time that candies linger on the screen, and automatically generating candies in the background.
These upgrades all have the effect of increasing the amount of candy you harvest, which in turn increases the amount you have to spend in the shop on yet more upgrades. It’s a compulsion loop as old as time, and it works well here.
In fact, it’s only once you get into the loop that the drawing really comes into its own. Rather than just creating something pretty, you start experimenting with ways to yield the most candy in the most satisfying ways.
I Want Candy
Eventually you’ll be able to purchase more sophisticated upgrades and tools. The apple, for instance, lets you switch gravity on, allowing you to shake your phone to duff your drawing up. Pins, meanwhile, let you stick your creation down at a particular point – though they tend not to be very effective, with objects sliding around beneath them.
Then there are the weapons – sticks, baseball bats, swords, lasers, grenades – that allow you to smash your pictures up more quickly and effectively.
At its core, Inkee Doodle is an incremental clicker with a neat drawing feature that lets you create your own pictures or import them, and then save and share your work.
The drawing genuinely enhances the clicker gameplay, but Inkee Doodle feels a little unfinished. It would benefit from a more sophisticated image editor and a technical finessing of the game so that inputs feel more direct and consistent. You can check out Inkee Doodle for yourself on Google Play.
A concept that draws you in
Inkee Doodle feels a little like a proof of concept at this stage, and the concept shines more than the execution. We’re keen to see where Atomic takes it next.