‘Freedoom’ app review: play id Software’s classic on mobile

Id Software’s iconic ‘DOOM’ franchise has been around since the 1990’s, remaining one of the most iconic video games ever made, and it could be argued that it is the most influential, with gaming afterwards constantly being stuffed with doom-clones, eventually getting to modern shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield. DOOM and DOOM 2 have been around so long that they can run perfectly on tons of pieces of hardware, and Freedoom, avaliable on the Google Play Store, lets you play them on the phone.  

Originally releasing for computers in 2003, being updated frequently and finally being released on Android, the gist of what Freedoom is, is that it is an open source program that lets you run .WADS, which are files that consist of levels/campaigns for doom. You can play through the entire first two games, and play through tons of all the custom maps and mods ever released.

Playing around with the app, it really seemed to be well made. I could play any of the maps I wanted, and I tested out Brutal Doom, a mod that upscales the entire game’s weapons and gore, and even that ran well.

Looking at the gameplay, 20 plus years of DOOM still holds up, and Freedoom doesn’t take away any of that. Especially with mods being easy to acquire, killing all manner of Cacodemons, Imps and other hellspawn types is still a satisfying, cathartic experience.  Some mods, such as the aforementioned Brutal Doom, expand the arsenal to include things like an auto shotgun, an Uzi or letting you dual wield guns. But even at the bare minimum, DOOM is still a fun game that stands the test of time.

What’s also nice about Freedoom is that it is free. No loot boxes or time limits that want you to spend money, just a platform to play a game. You are given the tools to play other maps, but in order to play the base DOOM 1 & 2 files, you need to get those .WAD files, either buying it from Steam, GOG or getting it from another source.

My only real problems with the app are the freedoom assets themselves, and the inevitable control issue that every mobile game has. Freedoom’s sprites and other visual elements, while free, really doesn’t hold a candle to the originals’ overall art, but this is really a nitpick considering the lack of a price tag and the convenience.  App controls are such a common complaint that it could be a non-issue, but it is still there. You are given plenty of options of switching things around, but touch controls will never hold a candle to a keyboard and mouse, or a gamepad. It also isn’t avaliable on ios, which definitely alienates some from experiencing it.

Overall, Freedoom does exactly what it is intended to, offering tons of gameplay that never gets old. I highly recommend using this as a platform to explore the many mods available, and to just play the original DOOM if you haven’t already.