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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.