App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
The golden era of NES and SNES gaming was full of all sorts of budding genres, many of which are still around today in some form or another. My personal favorite was the Adventure Game. Metroid, Castlevania, heck even Mega Man to a degree, are still some of my most beloved games. Arlo’s Adventure seems to draw some inspiration from all three of these and more, but it doesn’t quite push itself as far as it could have.
When a little wizard named Arlo wakes up to discover that his magical powers are missing, he’s understandably distressed. Distressed enough to wander out into the big scary world and try to get them all back, no matter the cost. It’s an arduous journey that will bring him face-to-face with giant spiders, orcs, rogues, and all sorts of other nasty things that want to kill him dead, dead, dead. It will also bring him face-to-face with his missing powers, each of which can have an interesting application to a number of different situations.
Arlo sports a number of interesting abilities ranging from freezing balls of ice to forceful blasts of wind, neither of which involves bodily functions like their descriptions imply. These powers aren’t just necessary for Arlo’s survival, either. They’re also instrumental in reaching hidden items or simply getting to the end of a given level. A gust of wind can be used to knock down an otherwise unreachable crate or knock magic-shooting mages into a bottomless pit. Enemies can be frozen and used as platforms to reach otherwise inaccessible areas before they thaw. Virtually all of the tiny wizard’s powers can be a boon in combat, too.
And yet, as much as I’ve been enjoying Arlo’s Adventure the experience has been marred by the very physics system meant to make it more than the average adventure. Pushing a crate along a flat surface will sometimes cause it to bounce around uncontrollably. Arlo himself will sometimes get caught on corners, making platforming segments tricky at times. Those same hang-ups have also resulted in some unintended falls when he outright failed to jump in the first place, instead sliding gracefully off the tiny platform and into the abyss. Switching between powers can also be a problem as there’s only a single icon to tap in order to toggle between them. I feel like some kind of action-pausing (or at least slowing) power selection menu could be in order.
Arlo’s Adventure may not be the glorious homage to classic adventure games that I was hoping for, but it has been a fun ride for the most part. It’s certainly not running short on potential. Plus it’s fun to utilize Arlo’s powers in unique and interesting ways.