Yes, rising balloons and falling thumbtacks should tip you off to the fact that there's plenty of whimsy in Flight Doodle HD
. It's a game with a simple premise, but it delivers good, solid fun. OpenFeint integration means you can share online status, high scores, and other tidbits with friends that also belong to the OpenFeint network. You can also do neat things like view your scores on a map of others in your area that have also done well in the game. This helps you build your friend list for future challenges in Flight Doodle HD
or other games on the network, as does the option to tie Flight Doodle HD
to your Facebook or Twitter account. The OpenFeint dashboard also shows you special achievement earned in Flight Doodle HD
, some with hilarious names like "Reindeer Thug," awarded mostly for new high scores. These games are very much about social networking, something you can share with friends in a social space even if you aren't doing any true multiplayer gameplay. The idea of leaving a challenge for a friend to pick up later is a bragging-rights thing, and of course it's fun to see what kind of customization friends do with their balloons. This so-called "Customize Your Craft" mode is a hoot, especially because of how simple it becomes to import and edit images. There are a few stock balloons available for the design-challenged, but the editor makes even those with two left thumbs seem coordinated.
The actual playtime in Flight Doodle HD is spent tilting the iPad from left to right, avoiding obstacles (or "enemies" as they're referred to in the game) as they fall from the sky. By default these take the form of thumbtacks, but can be customized. The net result, regardless of any customization, is that these falling items will leave you feeling deflated. Okay, they'll pop your balloon... It's a grisly way to meet your end in an otherwise cheery game, right? Objects not falling are generally just making your life more difficult, slowing you down or obstructing your progress. One dude even drops rocks on you before jumping to his own demise, which is somehow good for a laugh amidst the tense action. "Tense," because this isn't really a game you'll play casually; it requires some moderate twitch reflexes to master. As you progress up the screen, you'll get drops from a friendly plane, providing on-demand resources for avoiding or deflecting enemies. These are great in theory, but they require yet another point of control to coordinate during the action.