Entertainment Reviews

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Armillo on a roll with slice of mascot nostalgia

Published 22/08/2014 | 10:46

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Armillo for Wii U
Armillo for Wii U

WE NEED new mascots. Anyone old enough to remember the heady days of Mario versus Sonic or Lara vs Samus will undoubtedly have aligned with a side that says something about themselves.

ARMILLO, Wii U download, Rating: 8/10, AGE: 3+

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Nowadays the choice is often narrowed to picking between two types of beefy space marine – which is no choice at all.

Armillo won’t redress the balance but he’s a throwback to the joyful cartoon worlds of the 80s and 90s that seem so rare now. What he lacks in innate personality, he makes up for with his retro platforming antics reminiscent of Sonic and Mario, with a smidgin of Super Monkey Ball and Pac-Man for good measure.

Initial impressions suggest a darkened take on Super Mario Galaxy, spherical worlds teeming with yokes to be collected and enemies to be bopped on the head. Genre staples such as a dash attack and boost pads are present and correct. But Armillo piles on the variety with patches of ice, rolling fog and roving spikes all standing in the way of the mission to rescue pals and vanquish the evil boss, yadda, yadda.

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Sandwiched between many of the 3D levels lurk refreshingly different 2D missions requiring a mastery of gravity and precision jumping. Not so successful are the boss stages, which offer little in the way of challenge other than the classic dodge-and-shoot.

Viewed through the lens of 2014 sophistication, Armillo may play like an anachronism dating to the early days of PlayStation. But as a low-priced download for the game-starved Wii U, it’s a welcome blast from the past.

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