Ballooning to the top

Flight Doodle is a simple, fun, and extremely polished casual flying game in which you pilot a hot-air balloon through endless hazards to ever-increasing heights.

Flight Doodle is a simple, fun, and extremely polished casual flying game in which you pilot a hot-air balloon through endless hazards to ever-increasing heights.

The interface is simple: you use tilt controls (tilting your device left and right, with adjustable sensitivity) to steer a hot-air balloon up an infinitely scrolling vertical skyscape; you can use touch-screen buttons on the left to slow down, speed up, or get a temporary boost. You face an inexhaustible supply of enemies that threaten to pop your balloon and end your game--including rock-throwing cloud men and pointy thumbtacks that materialize at the edge of the screen just as they're about to fall. Occasional stars (and rainbow stars) shoot you farther up the screen (racking up more score), and obstacles like whirlwinds try to throw you off track. You can also grab power-ups dropped by passing planes, which you activate with touch-screen buttons on the right to do things like put up a shield, fire rockets, or momentarily shrink.

In keeping with its sketchbook aesthetic, Flight Doodle gives you literally limitless customization options, as you can change your balloon into something else using preset options (like a guy with a jetpack, or a floating snowglobe) or by importing your own pictures, which you can then use simple drawing tools to further modify. You can also change your enemies (from thumbtacks to, say, curved daggers or rockets) and pick from five different music tracks. Flight Doodle also has achievements, easy tools for challenging friends (via Facebook, Twitter, OpenFeint, or e-mail), and a visual log of past progress (which you can see ghosted back in the background as you float up, seeing where other fearless flyers met their demise).

Flight Doodle shows all the signs of what was once a simple, addictive game that's gotten better and better with every iteration. If you can find it for free, it's a must download--but even the paid version can provide a lot of replay value to fans of casual games (and kids, too, thanks to the game's simple controls and premise).

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