GAME NAME: Armillo
DEVELOPER(S): Fuzzy Wuzzy Games
PUBLISHER(S): Fuzzy Wuzzy Games
PLATFORM(S): Nintendo Wii U
GENRE(S): 3D & 2D Platforming
RELEASE DATE(S): July 3rd, 2014
Caught up in the midst of an impressive streak of great indie titles on the Nintendo Wii U comes one of the first games announced that I was super excited about, Armillo. I was truly ecstatic to download this title and tried my hardest not to over hype myself for what I felt was going to be a great game. Well at this point I’m sure you are wondering if Armillo lives up to the hype or if it just misses the mark like the Sonic titles that it aims to be like.
Armillo tells the story of a space Armadillo, named (yep you guessed it) Armillo as he tries to defend the galaxy from the invasion of the darkbots. It’s a pretty simple story, and even though there are some pretty cool twists and turns, the story isn’t the focal point of this title it is the excellent gameplay. Armillo is a wonderful character and I hope Fuzzy Wuzzy Games takes this IP and runs with it. I’d love to see some of the characters from indie titles such as Armillo or Shovel Knight in Samsh Bros. as they just feel like Nintendo properties with the love and polish in these titles.
Right off the bat the first things that you will think of when you see Armillo is Super Mario Galaxy, Sonic and Super Monkey Ball and you wouldn’t be to far off from any of those games as Armillo captures the essence of each franchise but at the same time makes a name for itself. You control Armillo with the left thumb stick, as he rolls into a ball and moves about the level. It feels similar to Super Monkey Ball, but a whole lot tighter. You can also control Armillo with the gyroscopes in the gamepad, but I’d leave that to a second play through, as it is tough to master.
You also have other moves as Armillo to help you collect blue little critters and solve some of the puzzles litter across the planets. Armillo has a short dash burst, that helps blast through blocks and also a jump move to help navigate through some platforming areas. If the camera ever feels off (which it rarely ever does) the L button will get it back on track. There is also a gun mount that you will get later on that can be controlled with the X to fire your blue furry friends or can be shot using the right thumbstick a la Geometry Wars style. There are 4 levels to each world with every fourth level is a boss fight, which are cleverly done and not just your normal hit the boss three time affairs.
One of the cool features of Armillo is the 2 distinct differences in levels. The first is the 3D orb type gameplay. In these levels you roll around on a round planet, which look similar to the orbs in the Mario Galaxy series. The high detail in the graphics are amazing. You can see the time and effort put into these stages. There are planets that have a grass feel, to a volcanic feel and others that use such great color tones that it really feels like you never touch the same planet twice. Levels will also have multiple planets that you bounce around to. There are also levels in which you have a timer in that you must rush through to find the exit, kind of like a dark world. Depending on the level of difficulty you choose, you will either start with 2 or 3 hearts and 3 lives to finish each level. If you lose all your lives you will have to start that particular level over again.
During and after you complete each level, you will earn money that can be spent in a store that will earn you more hearts, lives or other helpful additions that will help you along your quest to stop the darkbots. In addition to the store you can unlock 2D levels to play. These levels feel like old school sonic only a little bit slower and with more platforming aspects. These are a welcome addition to break up the 3D levels, making each level always feel fresh and giving you variety.
Graphically, Armillo is hands down the best indie eShop title I have seen to date. I would go as far to say that it would even rival the Mario Galaxy games in some aspects. The soundtrack is spot on amazing. I just can’t express how much I enjoy it. It feels right at home next to some of the music Sega or Nintendo would produce, but at the same time is completely original to Armillo. The game is plagued by some really y bad framerate issues, but they aren’t really a dealbreaker, just annoyances. Fuzzy Wuzzy Games has also mentioned that a patch is on it’s way to fix the issue, so I wouldn’t be too worried.
Armillo did not only meet the hype I created for it, but blew right by it. The 2D levels were good, and the 3D levels even better. Armillo is the complete package in terms of gameplay, praphics and sound and at the introductory price of 6 bucks, you’d be foolish not to pick this game up. This is the Sonic game that Team Sonic can’t figure out how to make.