Archetype (iPhone) – Review
We’ve had our fair share of shooters on the iPhone, such as the highly successful N.O.V.A. and Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies, which both execute the FPS formula exceptionally on the mobile platform, but now a new futuristic shooter, has entered the fray, offering ‘iPwnage’ for just £1.79. Does Archetype live up to the motto of a cheap shooter with fantastic play, or is it just another thumb fiddler riddled with issues?
Archetype is a strictly online multiplayer only shooter, and when I first heard this detail, I thought that I would need a solid connection to be able to cope and shoot something. Surprisingly, this is not the case, as Archetype offers one of the most lag free online experiences I’ve ever played on iPhone, and my connection is definitely not the best. When it comes to a smooth tone of play, the game delivers more in this aspect that most multiplayer experience on the platform. Unfortunately the restrictions continue, as there is only one game mode to play online, Team Deathmatch, with the exception of training, where you go and kill wooden targets for practice. TDM splits two teams of five against each other, in a battle to the death for first team to 22 kills. After a while this does become repetitive, but will keep you entertained for a considerable amount of time. With a fairly low kill limit, it’s surprising that the timer usually runs out before the maximum kills are reached, so games are short but fast paced.
There is no character customization or classes in the shooter and all the weapons can be used from the start, and in a classic Halo fashion, picked up at various points on the battlefield. The variety of weapons isn’t wide, but this is corresponding to the map sizes. There are five maps in the game, some being very confined and great for fraggers, whilst others wide and open for you to go completely nuts in blind fire. It’s a shame that the maps tend to stay on a similar theme of bland interiors, I believe that more colourful outdoor environments such as jungles would make the game more enjoyable overall, instead of being confined to the dark corridors. A veto option is included in pre-game lobbies to skip maps which you don’t like, and you will quickly establish a favourite based on your playing style. Spawning in maps could be largely improved, as you find yourself regularly spawning near enemies or in the same spot constantly, making it irritating when an enemy camps up on a porch and sits there waiting for you to spawn. Weapons vary from Machine Guns to the deadly one hit Battle Axe, which is friendly to ‘Magnum + Tactical Knife + Marathon’ types. Frags are a pain in the butt, with two equipped as standard on spawn causing for some regular frag spamming. That set aside, weaponry is balanced and rarely does a particular weapon dominate the battle.
There is only one control method available, the two analogue sticks for aiming and movement, with shooting controlled automatically when the cursor is moved over an enemy target, except if you tap the right analogue stick twice, which is a bit unnecessarily inconvenient. A variety of controls methods need to be introduced, I would recommend the analogue/shoot pads with swipes of the screen to look around, or the effective tilt control method from CoD Zombies. The interface is clear, with ammo displayed, changing weapons is quick and easy and health/shields are bold and clear. Melee is executed by tapping the radar, which can sometimes get irritant due to its close proximity to the analogue sticks. Luckily, the standard controls work effectively and cause few problems, only for fussy types that will refuse to try different methods.
The ranking system is experience based; earning XP through kills and medals, based on your own performance rather than your team in general, but only badges are earned through this process. Reading the user reviews for this game, aside from the regular moaners that appear on every application on the store saying ‘IT WON’T START UP WORST APP EVUR’, a single player campaign is heavily demanded. For Villain, the developers behind Archetype, to execute a single player campaign effectively, they would need to expand the variety of environments to perhaps more exotic and exterior locations, add narrative and take inspiration from N.O.V.A., so that Archetype can live up to its beautiful visuals that are simply spectacular on the display. Keeping in mind the cheap price though, I would not be surprised if Villain decided to release a single player campaign as paid downloadable content.
Overall however, Archetype does provide great fun for the price tag, with a smooth online experience and ranking system, but essential and optional improvements need to be made to the shooter in order for it to be the best it can be.