Review: Armillo

Is Fuzzy Wuzzy Games’ debut title worth the wait?

By Anthony Vigna. Posted 07/07/2014 09:00 4 Comments     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Inclusion of 3D and 2D levels; Great level design; Every collectable has a unique purpose.
Poison Mushroom for...
Easy boss battles; Dull aesthetics; Extremely poor frame rate.

In an era where 3D platformers are practically nonexistent without Mario, Armillo is truly a godsend. It feels refreshing to play a 3D platformer with a new mascot, as this red space armadillo utilizes some cool gameplay ideas. The planet-based levels are clearly inspired by Mario Galaxy, but Armillo makes itself unique through the structure of the levels themselves. For instance, each level contains portals to an alternate dimension with air that Armillo can’t breathe, forcing him to find an exit before time runs out. Each planet is also full of puzzles to solve and hidden pathways with important collectable items, adding an element of exploration that is typically rare in point A to point B platformers.

You’ll want to collect everything too because every single item has a significant purpose within the game. The most common item in Armillo are blue orbs, which are scattered around levels like coins in Super Mario Bros. Yet, they are pretty useful because they can be used as currency at an in-game shop to improve your abilities in an RPG-like fashion. Armillo can also save his trapped critter friends in each level, which help him back in return by boosting his score, extending the amount of time that you spend in that level’s special stage, and opening hidden, locked capsules that contain secret 2D levels!

There are roughly the same amount of 2D levels as there are 3D ones in Armillo and they are all very well designed. They frequently introduce new mechanics, such as gravity and character size manipulation, to establish variety and keep things exciting. The fast, timed nature of these levels coupled with the 2D perspective offers a great change of pace from the 3D levels. Plus, they are just as fun to play!

But even though I love so many things about Armillo, I can’t help but think that the game feels unfinished in some vital areas. I found myself baffled at the fact that the bosses are so ridiculously easy to beat, as they all follow really simple patterns that lack any kind of challenge. Hell, the game even tells you how to beat the final boss through dialogue! For a game that offers such an interesting world to explore, it’s jarring to be halted by boring boss fights that have obvious weaknesses. I’m also not a big fan of some of the game’s aesthetics since some of the textures can look extremely dull and unappealing.

The lack of polish also becomes abundantly clear once you notice how often the frame rate drops during gameplay. Unfortunately, Armillo rarely runs at a smooth frame rate during 3D levels. The only time the game runs well is during the 2D levels due to their simplicity, but even then, it doesn’t change the fact that the other half of the game consistently runs poorly. Platforming through each level at such a slow pace ruined my appreciation for the clever level design, making the game a chore to play at times.

It took Armillo three and a half years of development to be completed. After playing through the game in its entirety, it’s easy to see that a lot of hard work and love were put into creating it, but I wish that Fuzzy Wuzzy Games waited longer to release it. I really enjoyed the gameplay mechanics that Armillo has to offer, but they’re held back by issues that could have been fixed with more development time. This should be one of the best platformers on Wii U, but it unfortunately remains as a flawed gem in its current state.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

4 Responses to “Review: Armillo

  • 1288 points
    Robert Marrujo says...

    Man, disappointing to hear the devs dropped the ball a little, on this one. Still, a B- minus ain’t bad; will be downloading!

  • 819 points
    Toadlord says...

    Open question to anyone who has downloaded this:

    How would this be perceived if it was released during the N64/PS1 era of mascot games? Would it stand out against these titles?

    I’m on the fence on whether to download this currently.

  • 180 points
    Anthony Vigna says...

    It’s still a good game! If you’re willing to look past the technical limitations, I’d give it a shot! It’s definitely one of the most creative platformers I’ve played in a while.

    Or, if that bothers you, wait for Fuzzy Wuzzy Games to release the upcoming patch! It’s interesting to note that the developers didn’t notice the frame rate issues on their dev kit, so they are working hard to fix this issue:

  • 849 points
    ejamer says...

    Armillo is on sale this week – just $4! Is anyone buying? I’m strongly thinking about it (hence digging out old reviews).

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