Indie Heroes: Doodle World draws you in to its sketchbook surroundings

The Evercade’s “Indie Heroes” cartridge plays host to a variety of brand new games for classic platforms — and even if you don’t have an Evercade, you can try most of these for yourself in one way or another! Let’s explore them in detail!


Of all the games in the Indie Heroes collection for Evercade, Doodle World probably has the most charming origin story; it exists because primarily because creator Nate Peters thought that some of the drawings his young daughter had produced looked interesting, and thus he decided to expand their concepts into a full-scale game. His reasons for this were twofold: firstly, to provide himself with a distraction during difficult times in his life, and secondly, to allow others to enjoy that experience also.

Consequently, what we’ve ended up with is a simple, straightforward platform game in the classic Super Mario Bros. style, featuring a charming 8-bit sketchbook-style aesthetic, some catchy music and some satisfying gameplay. And it’s a title I suspect many players of the Indie Heroes cartridge for Evercade will end up returning to quite frequently, as it’s one of those games that just feels comfy and cosy to engage with; it’s not something you necessarily want to play to “get good” at, but rather it’s simply a game that is enjoyable to play for a few minutes at a time.

Doodle World for Evercade

In Doodle World you take control of a strange little creature called Doodle whose task is to battle the evil King Eraser and his office supply minions, with the ultimate aim of recovering the crayon that created the world. As with most 8 bit-era platformers, however, this plot doesn’t matter in the slightest beyond providing a loose justification for what comes next — a whole lot of running, and a whole lot of jumping.

Doodle can walk, run and jump in true Super Mario Bros. style — and he’s also able to defeat some enemies by jumping on their heads. You have to be a bit careful, though; any enemies with pointy bits on top (such as pencils or thumbtacks) will kill Doodle if he lands on them arse-first, so these are best avoided. Alternatively, you can collect the frequently appearing flashing crayons for temporary invincibility and use this brief period of safety to get your own back.

Doodle World for Evercade

As you progress through the stages, you can collect floating crayons; in traditional platformer tradition, nabbing a hundred of these nets you an extra life, and you get plenty of opportunities to obtain this bonus. Locating a “sketchbook” page in the middle of a level takes you to a single-screen bonus area filled with crayons; here, so long as you don’t fall off the bottom of the screen or accidentally leap through the exit sketchbook, you can add veritable armfuls of the precious drawing implements to your collection.

Doodle World is split into several distinct worlds, each with their own visual theme. While they all have the distinctive “8-bit sketchbook” look about them, some clever but minimal use of colour and a few stylistic elements here and there mean that each managed to be visually distinct without compromising the game’s overall consistency. It takes a keen eye to take a deliberately scrappy look and feel and make it feel like a coherent aesthetic, but Nate and his daughter have succeeded admirably in this regard — and the catchy music from teenage chiptune artist Takumi Grainger complements the game’s visuals well.

Doodle World for Evercade

At the end of each “world” in Doodle World, you face off against a boss; none of these are especially difficult to defeat, but they’re all designed with a delightful degree of creativity. The first features a pink eraser piloting a mech, for example, while subsequent foes include what appears to be a sentient lunchbox (supported by more erasers flinging spotty rags at you, presumably in an attempt to “rub you out”) and a giant bearded, kilt-wearing rubber hurling logs at you. While generally easy to get through, the boss fights act as a nice bookend to each world, making progression consistently satisfying.

There are a couple of little faults in Doodle World — most notably an inconsistently occurring bug that sometimes means if you pass by a crayon and then attempt to collect it, it won’t register — but this is not a game-breaking issue by any means, plus both Nate and the Evercade team are investigating and attempting to fix the issue once and for all as we speak. On the whole, though, it’s a slick and polished production — much more so than you might assume from a game with such a simple aesthetic.

Doodle World for Evercade

Doodle World probably won’t take you a long time to get through — particularly if you make use of save states like some sort of crazy modern person — but it’s an enjoyable ride while it lasts, and one you’ll doubtless find yourself returning to time and time again. It’s a great game to play when you just fancy a bit of quiet chilling out with a game you don’t need to think too hard about — and its consistent charm factor is sure to put a smile on your face after a rough day. Sometimes that’s exactly what you want from your gaming time!


Doodle World is available as part of the Indie Heroes Collection 1 cartridge for Evercade, or by itself as an NES ROM for use in emulators via itch.io.

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