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Publisher: Rake in Grass    Genre: Arcade
Min OS X: 10.4    CPU: G3 @ 1000 MHz

Archibald's Adventures
October 22, 2008 | Jack Shiels

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The lip monster attacks
For a very long time the Mac gaming community has been devoid of a good, solid 2D adventure game. Classics like Boom and Bubble Trouble were commonplace back in the '90's, but, unfortunately, the recent advancements in computer technologies have placed a great amount of focus on 3D graphics and fancy effects. Gameplay has been pushed aside in favor of new rendering techniques or HD audio. This is not to say that it has been a bad thing, but sometimes we need to return to our roots.

Archibald's Adventures does just that and more. Not only does it provide hours of play time, but it shows how a puzzle platformer should really be done.

Archibald finds himself stuck in the basement of a mad scientist and yes, you guessed it, all his weird creatures and creations have escaped. It's your job to guide Archibald out of the subterranean environment and get out before the monsters get him.

As you would have guessed by now, Archibald's Adventures is a side-scroller. The premise is pretty much the same as any other; reach the end of the level by taking the correct route. Thankfully, it manages to spice things up a little by providing extras that really extend the play value. For example, Archibald soon acquires a blob of bubble gum he can use to inflate bubbles and hit switches on the ceiling. This really helps it to venture into the "puzzle" side of platforming and present some very challenging levels to the player.

There are so many different gameplay elements that it's no wonder the developers decided to include 114 levels in the full game. I was generally very impressed with the mechanics of the gameplay, though I was a bit disappointed with Archibald's inability to jump manually. Instead, you must make sure you have three spaces in front of you and ride across them. This will cause him to auto-jump off whichever ledge is in front. It feels a little restricted, but it works quite well as a gameplay mechanic as I soon came to realize.

Overall it all felt just about right. There were no visible quirks whatsoever to mar the experience and I enjoyed playing the game a lot.

The graphics sport a cool "every pixel counts" style that pays homage to the old days when every image was a blocky GIF file. This doesn't mean it looks poor in quality, but rather it feels very solid. All graphics stay actual size, no matter what resolution you choose, so it manages to stay sharp and focused, a blessing to those with larger monitors. As well as this, it favors a widescreen aspect ratio, a feature that few casual game developers bother to incorporate. The enemies are imaginative and at times, rather hilarious. My favorite was the "lip-monster", though unfortunately this beast wasn't in for the kissing.

Music is limited to several tracks that fit the levels quite well. Sound effects are sparse, but it doesn't matter too much in a game that requires more puzzle solving than mindless roaming. All in all the presentation was very good and impressed me for such a cheap game.

Levels can take anywhere from 1-5 minutes. Sure, it's short, but when you count in the 114 included, it doesn't seem so bad after all. As well as this, there are plenty of gameplay changes as you progress, like vehicle upgrades in certain level sets or the introduction of different strategic objects. I would have much appreciated a level editor, as is common with these games. It's a real pity they missed out on this one.

At just under 15 dollars Archibald's Adventures is ludicrously cheap and the average platforming fan would be mad to miss out. It truly impressed me in the graphics and gameplay areas - though the sound didn't seem to keep up with the same quality level.

Overall it plays very well and provides a challenging puzzle experience to boot - a very well made game that I would highly recommend.

• Slick graphics
• Plenty of levels
• Plays fairly well

• Sound isn't perfect

Archibald's Adventures
Publisher: Rake in Grass
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