Elf Review: Fails to Beat Out the Doodle

Elf.  Matmi. Doodle Jump.  What a perfect combination right?  After the genius release of Monster Pinball, my hopes were high for their next game Elf, but alas, these expectations were far from met.  Simple and pick-up-and-play games have been some of the best selling games on the iPhone, but Matmi doesn’t seem to be ready to enter that part of the market just yet.

Elf is a simple game.  Tilt your phone or iPod sideways and collects stars and little spiral galaxies to boost your elf forward through the air, and there are around 5 or so different boosters.  There are only boosters, and are exempt from the jet packs, monsters, and different, fake platforms we see in Doodle Jump.

Let’s just face it.  Doodle Jump is updated all the time, and is just too far for most of its competition.  At it’s low, delectable price, it’s even harder to beat.  Elf tried, Matmi tried, but ultimately, owners of these type of games should most likely look elsewhere.


Graphics: Graphics aren’t good.  Graphics aren’t bad.  They’re just right.  They were appealing enough for me, and while the platforms weren’t very detailed, the elf was.  Graphics aren’t top-notch like Gameloft, or low like Enviro-Bear, but they should suffice for the average gamer.

Play Again: Elf successfully recreates that “play again” atmosphere by providing multiple ways to access the game, and without any obstructions to stray you away from the path.  If you fall to the ground, all you have to do is tap to start again, and if you check the highscores, all you have to do is press play from the menu.  I found it extremely easy to start up a game, and accessing the game was more than good, they’re great (cliche, yes I know).


Variations: It’s basically the same thing for the whole journey from North Pole to the north pole of the moon.  There aren’t many platforms and boosters to depend on, and powerups are little to none.  Sure there are boost powerups and candy canes, but other than that, it’s basically tilting back and forth.

Features, Content: Doodle Jump has a jet pack.  A jet pack!  There’s nothing that can truly beat that, and I wasn’t exactly expecting that in Elf.  But still, there needs to be something more than just one game mode with a little bit of platforms here and there.  In this day and age, there needs to be more than just online highscores and one game mode, and fierce competition should have led Matmi to improve upon Doodle Jump.  Instead, it decides to go back to the PapiJump days, providing a little too simple of a game plan.

Monster Pinball was good.  Elf was not.  Matmi will be remembered more for their pinball games, and I suggest for them to stick with pinball.  Their first attempt at simple for the iPhone was way too simple, invoking memories of the horrid Scarecrow from ezone.com into my mind.  It’s almost the exact game except with different backgrounds and characters, and I couldn’t help but feel how shallow this game really is.  Other simple pick-up-and-play games actually did a great job with shielding their true shallowness, but Elf shows it off bluntly as if it were a gift.  And to tell you the truth Mr. Elf, too simple is far from gift-worthy.


Elf was developed by Matmi, and I played through version 1.1 on my iPhone 3GS.  The price is $0.99.



About Daniel

I have been an iPhone game addict ever since the NES emulator came out on the 1.1.4 iPhone 2G. After 2.0 and the App Store came out, my iPhone homescreen has never been the same. Other than writing reviews for App Store games, I play soccer/football, American football, volleyball, and golf. I love going to the beach and fishing on the pier. Some games not available on iPhone/iPod Touch that I truly love are the Call of Duty series, Guitar Hero III, Madden NFL 09, and PGR: Gotham Racing.

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