The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who is on tonight and it’s highly anticipated around the world. Google is celebrating the event with a Doctor Who game and it’s time for a review. I’ve spent a few hours playing it today—yes, I’m sure I could have spent my time in a better way—and have found some good things and bad things about the entertainment.
I’ll start with the graphics. Coming from a computer science and games development background, the graphics aren’t the best. In fact, they’re way behind the technology of today. But it’s cute and adorable and there are plenty of fans who will be happy with the throw-back 1980s style.
My next complaint is the controls. It’s disorientating with the game being on a slight angle. The controls that I would consider to be up are actually left. It took a while to get used to that at the start, but it is something that anyone will get used. It did mean a few deaths and regenerations just on the first level.
Speaking of regenerations, yes, after dying at the hands of a Dalek, you are regenerated into the next Doctor. That regeneration process just goes in a loop though. As a big Doctor Who fan, I was really hoping that Matt Smith’s Doctor would end up being the last one and mean losing the game, but there are people who will choose to start with him. I haven’t tried going through 11 exterminations yet.
With all that in mind, is there anything good in my review of the Doctor Who Google game? Well, yes. First up is the sound. Google has got the sound of the TARDIS and the Daleks just right.
It’s also a relatively simple game. Once you get used to the controls, getting the G in Google is easy. The levels gradually get harder as you go along. It is worth spending a few seconds looking at the level, assessing the speed of the Daleks and their movements and then determining what you have to do before you start moving The Doctor, especially on the later levels.
The Daleks move around in the same pattern, too. I experimented with this, expecting the Daleks to come after The Doctor once he was in sight; something similar to Pac-Man. It’s a downside for the avid gamers; but, for those of us who just like to have some fun to waste a bit of time, it’s perfect.
Surprisingly, the Google Doctor Who game only came about because of an online petition. Four thousand fans signed it to ask for Google to do something special. This was after the TARDIS had been added to the Street View on Google Maps. It was all based on a doodle from Matthew Cruickshank, a British doodler.
For a bit of fun on the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, it’s definitely worth it. There may seem to be a lot of bad in my review, but it just took me some time to get used to the Google Doctor Who game. Now, I love it and have had fun playing the game when I’ve had a chance.
By Alexandria Ingham