Dodo Peak is “a throwback to the classic arcade platformers of the past,” but it comes up short in addictiveness.

At first glance, the game is reminiscent of Q*bert. But after I started playing, it reminded me a good deal of Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll. Kudos, if you remember that NES hidden gem from Rare. But Dodo Peak can’t emulate these classics, even with modern touches like online leaderboards.

As you hop about to rescue the eggs, you’ll discover the emphasis on quickness. Besides leaderboards, the levels often have goals like finishing under a certain number of seconds. You’ll also need speed to outrun chasing monkeys, as an early example. Elements like this weaken Dodo Peak’s “handcrafted levels” as you race about with little time to truly appreciate them. Because it isn’t enough for you to be out of harm’s way, as you must ensure your trailing babies safely reach the exit too.

I feel these levels had the makings for exploration. Indeed, some of the goals encourage that, like collecting a ruby, for instance. But this depends on your desire to replay and master each one. I haven’t been motivated to do so, beyond the early levels where I recognized some of the leaderboard names. The designs in Dodo Peak frankly aren’t interesting enough, failing to reach their full potential.

So before long, I was merely collecting eggs to advance, while ignoring the optional goals. Dodo Peak soon gets an increased difficulty, but the challenge comes more from aggressive enemies than smart level construction. I felt the enemy placement was haphazard, and upon replaying levels, I realized it was random. That comes off as cheaper, discouraging replay to gain level mastery. It also leads to occasional slowdown. I can easily see children growing frustrated playing the same level repeatedly and eventually giving up out of monotony.

There are over 50 levels in Dodo Peak, but after 20 or so, I had my fill. I did replay some earlier ones to improve my times, and also to collect coins needed for unlocking new birds beyond the dodo. Unlockables are commendable, as is the measure (albeit a very conservative one) of non-linearity. Weekly challenges are another boost, one that might have me checking back in. The game also has a nicely done overall look, with two camera angles to pick between; one better highlighting the look, the other more practical for gameplay.

Despite many positive elements that Dodo Peak has to make it satisfying, I must admit that I genuinely didn’t have much fun playing it. It’s challenging, but not in a way that held my interest beyond a few minutes at a time. Further, the familiar three-star setup is weakened by an emphasis on speed and random enemy placement. This Dodo might not take flight on the Nintendo Switch.

It is the first game from Moving Pieces Interactive though, so hopefully, their next Switch game will connect with me more.