Back in summer 2009, before Rovio's animated heroes even contemplated crossing wing with snout, another mobile game was storming the App Store. It enjoyed incredible success on the iPhone, and versions quickly sprung up for the larger-screened iPad, plus Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Symbian and Xbox 360 - too quickly, you might suggest, since developer Lima Sky has now taken the original iOS version and properly optimised it for Android, replacing that offered by GameHouse. It's now available for free, we might add. See Best Android Apps.
Of course we're talking about Doodle Jump, a delightfully hand-drawn jumping game that takes a simple sheet of graph paper as its stage. You play Doodler, an odd-looking creature who uses his long nose to shoot monsters when you tap the screen. The phone's accelerometer lets you move between platforms, dodging black holes, UFOs and broken or disappearing platforms to get as high as possible, at no point falling below the visible screen area. You'll notice lines sketched in the margins to mark your earlier achievements. See Android Advisor.
Power-ups are offered by springs and trampolines, propeller hats and jetpacks, which change their appearance in accordance with the selected theme. Easter, for example, might see you strap a pair of carrots to your back and blast up the page, whereas Space seats you in a rocket. There are 10 themes in all, including Jungle, Soccer, Underwater, Snow, Halloween and Ice, which help to keep the otherwise repetitive game fresh.
But while Doodle Jump is repetitive, it's also insanely addictive. The tilt controls worked faultlessly on our Sony Xperia P, making one-handed gameplay on the commute to the office an absolute doddle, and leaving us concerned only with reaching that next platform.
A global scoreboard lets you challenge other Doodle Jumpers on a daily, weekly or all-time basis, although you'll need to know your friends' handles to directly compete with them. Facebook or Twitter integration may have been useful here, although the ability to challenge the best-ever Doodle Jumper may make more sense if you're the most competitive player within your circle of friends.
With the best score of all time (at least on Android) currently sitting at 539,137, attempting to reach the top of the Doodle Jump leaderboard could easily become a source of frustration. There are also 20 achievements to complete, from jumping on three springs in a row to surviving a UFO abduction; combined with the various themes, Doodle Jump is the game you just can't put down.
We have only two gripes: one concerns the game's lengthy loading time, and the other the necessary evil that is ads displayed at the end of each game. Skipping some of these made our screen go blank, and we had to switch off and on the display to access the Play again button. If you can't put up with these, pay 99p to remove the ads.