Developer: Pavel Tovarys
Price: $3.99 Download on the App Store
As a child of the eighties (I was born in '81), I spent countless hours of my childhood playing the Super Mario Brothers games. I know them, I love them, and I won't lie, sometimes I miss them. So Archibald's Adventures, developed by Rake in Grass, is a very welcome addition to my iPhone.
The concept behind Archibald's Adventures is pretty simple; you're Archie, a young boy on a skateboard, and you've been trapped inside the mansion of the local mad scientist (doesn't every town have one?). The game is a cross between an adventure game and a puzzle game. In order to successfully clear each level, there's a fair amount of logic and strategy required...but there's also enough running (actually, skateboarding) and jumping to keep things lively and fun.
With 114 levels (the free Archibald's Adventures Lite offers 32 levels), the game provides hours of entertainment. I've been playing it quite a bit since I downloaded it, and I'm only on Level 20. The levels get gradually more difficult as you progress through Achibald's Adventures, naturally. Luckily, there are tons of little information kiosks throughout the early levels that give you tips and tricks, and introduce new abilities and obstacles as they're encountered. For example, eventually you get the ability to create floating bubbles that can hit far-off switches or pick up needed objects.
As much as I've been having the time of my (iPhone-game-playing) life with Archibald's Adventures, there is one downside I've found. Most of the movement in the game is controlled by a four-directional arrow pad onscreen, similar to those on the controllers for most regular game consoles. Generally, the controls work very well. However, sometimes when there are particularly delicate, quick or tricky moves to make (particularly with the aforementioned bubbles), it's really difficult to maneuver properly without a physical button beneath your fingers. Many times I found that my thumb had slipped a bit and wasn't properly touching the arrow, which was irritating.
That being said, I don't have any suggestions for how the controls could be improved, so it's probably just something users have to learn to live with. Possibly with more practice, it'll become less of an issue.
Despite that complaint, Archibald's Adventures is far and away my favorite game that I've downloaded for the iPhone. But be warned — this might not be a good one to play in a quiet waiting room. If you're anything like me, there may be a bit of cursing involved. But it's all in extremely good fun!