I prefer the good old days of 8-bit platformers.
Arlo is having the kind of morning I usually have until I have had a strong cup of coffee. No power, and no go. In the case of Arlo however a cup of coffee isn’t enough, as someone has stolen his powers. Now he has to put on his most adventurous hat, and set off on a hunt for revenge.
Arlo’s Adventure is an old-school platformer where you have to fight enemies, solve simple puzzles and jump over chasms. This is definitely a genre that is overpopulated in the App Store, and there are some really great games to be found. To me this is one of those genres where you have to execute a great idea flawlessly. Sadly Arlo’s Adventure is far from flawless, and actually it is at times ridden with game breaking level design.
For one the physics is off making Arlo feel like he is a man on the moon. Boxes have the same weight when pushed no matter if you are pushing one, or a row of five. Having wonky physics also limits the difficulty when it comes to jumping across platforms, as Arlo can transcend almost all gaps with ease.
Another huge issue with the game is the level design, and how easy it is to get stuck. Often you have to use boxes as stepping stones to reach higher platforms. If you mess up, and for example rattle a bunch of boxes that you need to have in their original stack you can’t continue. You might also push a box off a cliff by mistake, and then you are stuck again. This makes me distrust the game, and I proceed with caution not to mess up the level.
Exploration is limited due to both that when Arlo dies you have to restart the level completely, and the game is quite zoomed in making it hard to see where you can actually go. This is a shame since exploration is usually a fun part of platformers.
The presentation is done in an old-school 8-bit style that is meant to feel young, and fresh. I don’t really get that vibe, but rather it feels old. Arlo himself has a lack of personality beyond having a beard, and a funny hat.
Arlo’s Adventure is an attempt to create an homage to the glory days of the 8-bit platformers. Sadly it just feels damp, and old much like my old C64 in the attic.
Arlo’s Adventure $0.99 Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod