No wonder these games are going extinct.
There’s something strange about the Dodo. It is known mostly for only one thing. The flightless bird is extinct. Most likely due to humans devouring the creatures over the centuries. According to many sources Dodos also didn’t stand much of a chance with regards to evolution. Due to their inability to fly, and humans introducing new animals to their ecosystem that fed on the birds and eggs led to their untimely demise. Dodo Peak sees you controlling a dodo protecting its kin in a series of puzzle challenges. Even though their extinction is still inevitable, there is some joy to be had by trying to save these funny looking creatures.
The gameplay of Dodo Peak is best described as a combination of frogger and Qbert. As the main dodo you climb down the mountain in rhythmic movements in order to collect coins, rubies, and dodo eggs. Once you collect a dodo egg, it hatches and a little dodo follows your movements. This requires you to time your movements correctly, because even though you might avoid the attacks of an enemy, your children might not be so lucky. Once you make your way back to the top of the stage, you are rated on a three-star scale, where secondary objectives like the amount of coins collected or secrets found influence your score. It’s clear that Dodo Peak was originally launched as a mobile title (specifically for Apple Arcade), and now is being transitioned onto other platforms like the Switch.
The biggest I’ve had was that the inherent design of Dodo Peak is more favorable to a mobile phone instead of a gaming console. It is great to pick up and play a level or two while waiting for the train, but I don’t think many Switch users use the console like that. I felt that actively sitting down to play Dodo Peak just made me quickly lose interest. Like many mobile phone titles, its design encourages you not to play through the game in one sitting, but take it slowly one level at a time. That makes me hesitant to advise you to pick up this specific version of the game.
Still it doesn’t take away from this game being a fun time and containing some clever puzzles. New gimmicks, in the positive sense, are introduced often and make you carefully consider what the best approach is to certain stages. The game runs well on the switch, though the controls can be a bit finicky while making your way down the mountain. I found that replays were really encouraged by the game itself. I often replayed stages in order to achieve a faster time or collect all the hidden rubies. You can even spend the coins you find along the way on costumes that influence the movement of your dodo, with some allowing you to speed up movement. The artstyle is also very pleasing, with bright colors and lots of character to both the dodos and enemies.
Dodo Peak does feel dated in the sense that you have probably played games like this before during the heyday of mobile games at the tail end of the 2000’s. That doesn’t make Dodo Peak a bad game, but there is a sense that there are other platforms that are much more suited to its approach in game design. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this Switch version and there is still enjoyment to be had. But after you’ve completed the 50 or so levels, there is very little to go back to. Much like the dodos themselves, there is a reason this type of gameplay has gone extinct on non-mobile platforms.