Monday, 13 January 2014

Review - Artibeus (PC)

Artibeus is a simple indie game for the PC which tasks you with collecting fruits around a spooky castle. Oh, and you are a bat. A fruit bat maybe? (ho ho). Terrible jokes aside, the game is a 2D game that requires nothing more from you than using the arrow keys to move said bat around the single screen stages, nabbing all the fruit and avoiding the instant death enemies that float randomly around.

The visuals go straight for the retro look, with a pixellated style that sits somewhere between the 8 and 16-bit style. In fact, I would say it most reminds me of the PD (public domain) games for the Commodore Amiga that used to come free on magazine cover disks. It's charming and colourful, despite the gloomy setting, with some bright fruit and enemy sprites lending the air of a cutesy platformer. 

Gameplay is incredibly simple, yet also enjoyable and relatively engaging. Collecting all the fruit opens the exit door, allowing you to progress to the next level - of a total of 25(?). Enemies float aimlessly around the screen, and include such haunted house staples as skeletons, possessed swords, and floating eyeballs, with their speed increasing as your progress. There are collectables that both help and hinder you. The bomb causes a small explosion which will cause any adversaries in range to explode in a satisfying display of coloured pixels, while the candlestick will flick the screen into darkness, with only your bat and enemy sprites visible. Your bat also increases in speed as you go through the stages, but will go back to a slow pace should you die. Upon reaching the final stage, you must do battle with a final boss. I say battle, but what this really entails is simply collecting a large number of spawning fruits whilst avoiding his evil hands and minions.

Artibeus is the height of simplicity - it would be extremely well suited to a touch screen device - but it also manages to offer some enjoyment and mild challenge. It won't take long to finish it, but you will have fun while it lasts. At the end of the day, it's a short burst of fun for free. You won't give it a second thought after finishing it, but it is certainly worth taking for a spin.

Title : Artibeus
Developer : Stanislav Kostka 
Year : 2013
System : PC
Price : Free

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