Armillo review: a good example of Nintendo's growing presence in the indie game market

£5.50; Fuzzy Wuzzy Games; Wii U

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The Independent Tech

Developed by Fuzzy Wuzzy Games, Armillo is a 3D platform-puzzler fortified with plenty of action. From the central premise of rolling at speed through to the frequent freeing of small creatures from their prisons, it's unmistakably inspired by the early Sonic games, fused with elements from Super Monkey Ball.

An invasion of his homeworld sees our hero set off across galaxies to set the universe to rights, and controlling Armillo on this journey feels refreshingly natural from the outset. Rolling through courses, smashing obstacles and collecting blue orbs will be comfortingly familiar for any gamer, and while following the collectibles and speed arrows will usually show you the path to the level's end, there are a commendable number of extras planted on each world that keep things captivating for multiple playthroughs.

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Collecting more orbs allows you to spend them in the game's shop, acquiring added health segments and extra lives that become necessary as the difficulty curves upwards on later planets.

There are clever plays on perspective throughout, and welcome twists on classic platforming tropes such as the inevitable fire/ice levels. Some levels revert to two dimensions, where the game's slightly imprecise jumping mechanism does become problematic. In addition to this, the game also suffers from frame rate drops, mainly when the screen gets busy. Hopefully these issues can be patched in the future.

It's interesting to see the Wii U scoring a timed exclusive with Armillo, a move that emphasises Nintendo's growing presence in the indie game market - a good example of how small developers can use an effective digital distribution model to bring their titles to greater attention. Armillo typifies a lot of what is best about indie development, but perhaps retains some of the flaws inherent in its retro inspirations.

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