Review: Armillo (Wii U)
What happens when you change Sonic’s species ever so much and paint him red? You get an armadillo game, that’s what. Armillo, is a spin on both the 2D and 3D Sonic games, but throws in a whole puzzle element to it too. Does it at least make it better than the recent Sonic games? Look further fearless reader.
In Armillo, your planet is attacked and your brother is kidnapped. The reasoning is the generic “Alien life form has run out of resources and needs your planet” and so your brother is kidnapped, obviously. Playing as Armillo you need to go through different planets to locate your brother and the enemy and prevent them from destroying your home.
Armillo is a puzzle platformer and has two different modes to it. The main mode is a 3D platformer from a top-down view. In this mode you roll around the rather linear levels collecting orbs and freeing these little fish like beings which are apparently also being attacked. Armillo has two moves in his armour, one is a boost move, and the other is a jump move. Powerful stuff right?
Anyway, using these elaborate abilities Armillo must overcome the different levels filled with traps, enemies and different puzzles. The enemies are more there as an obstacle than anything more sinister while the traps can be a bit tricky to overcome. The puzzle element is easily the best part of the game. None of the puzzles are really that difficult but some will require a bit of thought before you tackle them. They vary from moving across in a very specific pattern to activating switches in a certain order. Nothing out of the ordinary but fun and challenging nonetheless.
Included on every level is an alternative universe section. Here you only have a limited time to solve a quick puzzle, or locate an important item before returning to the main universe. At the end of every level is another add-on with a moon level. On this level you get a limited time to collect as many orbs as you can. The orbs simply assist with buying things in the shop, whether it be health boosts, clock extensions or other abilities to make things a little easier as you go.
The main levels are entertaining if nothing more and definitely keep you busy during the 20 or so levels that found on each of the 5 planets. This includes a boss battle level to end off each planet. The boss levels are rather dull though and mostly consist of hitting the enemy three or four times in a specific pattern before you can progress.
To get to the boss levels though you will need to play through the 2D levels and get a red orb. The 2D sidescroller levels are located in the alternative universe and are unlocked as secret levels. These are more reminiscent of the early Sonic games as you double jump and boost your way to the end of the level to get a red orb. They provide a good break from the 3D levels and do provide a challenge of their own being timed, but most of the levels feel pretty much exactly the same and by the time you reach the 10th one you have seen it all.
That’s about it from Armillo, except that you are graded on every level which seems to be something platformer games love to add these days. Collecting orbs, saving ‘critters’ and doing it in good time result in a gold, silver or bronze medal rating. If you are really desperate you can return to levels and improve your rating, but I am not convinced anyone would truly feel inspired to do so.
To be honest, the graphics and sound are so unremarkable that I very nearly forgot to even mention them. There’s nothing wrong with either aspect, but it’s not something you are going to look at and be blown away by, nor hear and fall in love with the soundtrack. It gets by and is standard for the type of game on offer.
Armillo is a decent outing on the Wii U. It’s actually a bit better than I was expecting it to be considering its appearance and presentation. It’s not original or dynamic in its approach but does offer up some good puzzle elements and an altogether quick play through of something that can be considered a filler game of sorts. I am happy to recommend Armillo as a game to play in between other games, but definitely not something that will keep you busy for days on days.