Category: Game Reviews

Video Review: Archibald’s Adventures Update

Strategy games that promote thinking rather than key mashing seem to be few and far between on mobile platforms, but Archibald’s Adventures delivers a platform game that combines old school graphics with strategy elements. The publisher, Rake in Grass Games recently released a re-vamped version of Archibald’s Adventures after years of silence, but is this recent update worth checking out? Let’s find out.

PREMISE
The game opens with an introduction to Archibald, the survivor of a crazed grandfather who is stuck in
his lab. The player’s job is to rescue gramps by using various gadgets distributed throughout the lab.

There are 12 areas consisting of up to 16 different levels. The first few levels are actually tutorials that give the player a feel for the controls and get increasingly harder. Once you reach level 4, the real fun begins. You use your skateboard to dash across platforms and avoid spikes and foes. As you progress, you’ll unlock a mystery goo–a pink bubble that sticks to various items and can transport boxes, bombs, push buttons, and get to places Archibald can’t. Be careful though, because touching a picky spike or enemy will cause the bubble to pop. Some levels rely fully on the bubble.

Later on, you’ll obtain the transporter, which will allow you to zip across levels and attach to metal objects. It takes some getting used to, but it’s really fun. In one level, the gravity is changed which gives a new take on the gameplay and forces you to come up with a creative solution to finishing the level.

Once you’ve completed all of the levels you can go back and play them again. There are a few Easter Eggs in the game that give it a good replay value. The updated version of the game gives us a bigger touchscreen control pad, faster bubble travel speed, full-screen mobile device support and richer and sharper graphics. The ability to erase your data and start a new game has also been added.

CONTROL
The controls in the initial update were far too tiny to use, but after users voiced their concerns, the developers promptly took action. I liked the touch-screen controls; when you need to use your only sub-item (a sticky bubble), you simply hit the bubble icon. If you happen to be in an area where you can’t use the bubble the translucent button is not visible. This applies to when you can’t navigate up or down as well, with the exception that the “up” and “down” arrows are about 25% more translucent. The controls can be fully customized to suit your preference.

GRAHPICS
Graphics are bright and colourful with plenty of eye candy to analyze while playing. The game now fully supports retina-display graphics. One tiny imperfection (only a 2D nerd would care about) is that the bubble uses dithering instead of alpha blending. We know how tricky alpha-blending can be, but come on! It’s a secondary character.

GAMEPLAY
Difficulty ranges from very easy to very hard. I found myself completing some levels in one shot, and other took days to figure out. One bug to watch out for: Level 3-11 seems to be missing collision detection on the far-right. You could wind up going right through the side of the wall and crashing the game.

MUSIC
The sound effects are amazing. When you get close to a certain object, you hear stereotypical computer sounds along with (what sounds like) a dot-matrix printer firing off a page. When Archibald crashes his vehicle, you hear a loud sound of glass smashing. The music although repetitive, is excellent and matches the gameplay. There are a handful of tracks that are selected randomly and played throughout the levels. This also contributes replayability to the game.

SUMMARY
All in all, the game is excellent. The great graphics combined with the catchy soundtrack and replayability make this game well worth the purchase. Will RakeInGrass make a sequal? Only time will tell.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review: Unsurpsingly Boring

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is another diluted installment in the long running and ill-fated Zelda franchise. Although the game rings a fair bell to the earlier 2D-based NES games, this one couldn’t be further from its roots. All of the hype for the Switch has caused a massive amount of fanfare, however the game just does not deliver.

The beast that Nintendo has created is a unencompassing out-of-body experience where you find yourself in a crappy 3D universe. The game takes forever to start – you wake up as link who has been sleeping for a 100 years. And it feels like it. Way too many cinematics and not enough gameplay. I felt as though the game tried to make the old man in the black cape was going to give me some sort of flying device, but he forced 3 more orbs out of me. Bait and “switch”, I guess you could say.

As the game finally started to ramp up you hear some of the awful voice acting, dubbed as “quirky”. It’s not cute or funny. The small overworld is blocked by a few bricks and whatnot, as per usual. The storyline, which is to save Hyrule by defating Ganon and saving Princess Zelda is one we’ve all heard before. Why is Nintendo re-hashing a formula that never really worked? Innovation anyone?

The music is a series of lutes and farts, with no clear focus or sense of the world around it.

After a few hours of playing the game, I beat it. The end credits rolled, and I was like whaaat? Let’s hope the switch comes out with some better games, and soon!

Score: 2/10

Archibald’s Adventures 2

Strategy games similar to Abe’s Oddessy seem to be few and far between on iOS, but Archibald’s Adventures brings the strategic adventure platform us 2D fans love.

I liked the touch-screen controls; when you need to use your only sub-item (a sticky bubble), you simply hit the bubble icon. If you happen to be in an area where you can’t use the bubble the translucent button is not visible.

This applies to when you can’t navigate up or down as well, with the exception that the “up” and “down” arrows are about 25% more translucent. The bubble can carry boxes, bombs, push buttons, and get to places Archibald can’t. Be careful though, because touching a picky spike or enemy will cause the bubble to pop.

Graphics are bright and colourful with plenty of eye candy to analyze while playing. I’d have liked to see sharp retina-display graphics, but that will have to wait until Archibald Adventures 2 (yes the project has been revived). One tiny imperfection (only a 2D nerd would care about) is that the bubble uses dithering instead of alpha blending. We know how tricky alpha-blending can be, but come on! It’s a secondary character.

Difficulty ranges from very easy to very hard. The first few levels are designed like a tutorial with a few helpful hints on mini-computer screens. One bug to watch out for: Level 3-11 seems to be missing collision detection on the far-right. You could wind up going right through the side of the wall and crashing the game.

Sound effects are pure awesomeness. When you get close to a certain machine, you hear stereotypical computer sounds along with (what sounds like) a dot-matrix printer firing off a page. When Archibald crashes his vehicle, you hear a loud sound of glass smashing. The music, although repetitive, is excellent and matches the gameplay.

All in all, I love this game…if anyone knows a similar game, post it in the comments!

Oh..and hurry up and finish the sequal RakeInGrass!