This armadillo is an armadeal-o.
What’s orange, rolls around, and is an eShop game most likely worth your bucks? That’d be Armillo, a 3D puzzle/action platformer that spans over multiple planetary systems (and dimensions) in outer space and features a cute armadillo tasked with saving his home planet. While the premise is mostly entertaining, Armillo excels best when it just focuses on its gameplay mechanics. Fusing the core genres into a superb, unique blend that gets more interesting with each new element makes Armillo stand out in its own sort of special way.
Your primary action is rolling around as the titular armadillo is curled up into a ball. Maneuvering around bumper, bomb, and obstacle-filled environments (as well as simply being a platformer) makes it necessary to have good controls. For the most part, the controls were fine, making it easy to boost around and collect as many currency-like orbs as possible. The simplistic two-button control scheme makes it a breeze to jump right in. Whether it’s the high-sky paths or solving a puzzle in the dark dimension, rolling as a means of travel simply felt good and smooth--and the boosting definitely helps.
Unfortunately, the 2D levels (or Secret Levels as they’re called) did not feel quite as fluid as the 3D levels. For some reason, I had a hard time jumping to where I wanted to at times. The timer felt a smidge too fast as well, making these Secret Levels more difficult than the main levels. At the same time, the diversity of each 2D level still makes them worth trying, as they each have their own engaging ruse, especially with the fantastic music. The soundtrack throughout the whole game is great to groove to, but the 8-bit songs for the Secret Levels captivated me most of all.
As for abilities, it seems as if developed Fuzzy Wuzzy Games had a good ol’ time with those as well. From growing in size, to boost-bashing, to shooting your newly-acquired Critter friends out of the ever-helpful Critter gun, Armillo’s abilities all felt like they belonged in the playful (but dark) world. None were too frequently used, nor too sporadic. But I think I do have to favor the Critter gun, which lets you demolish what’s in your way, leaving vibes of proud badassery.
However, it's times like those, where a lot is going on, that makes it look as if the frame rate drops for a second or two due to the game loading some things on the fly. While this happens rarely, there are a couple times where it appears choppy enough to note, even though it runs at a smooth 60 frames per second throughout. It's not a major detractor by all means, but is unsightly when it occurs.
Using the orbs you collect in each level, you can also buy upgrades and more from an in-game store. The upgrades include extra health, starting lives, extra time, and more, and almost all of them are worth buying. Armillo makes you work for them, though. I often came up short for the upgrade I wanted to buy, forcing me to collect more orbs by either continuing the story or further perfecting a run in already beaten levels. Either way, this is more or less a change of pace from your average title, as a surplus of currency is usually the trend. The challenge is nice.
In the end, I finished the game at a mere 58 percent. Revisiting levels is rewarding, especially since there is a lot left to unlock and discover in each one even when you finish the main story, which is a fun romp by itself. Basically, I’d say there is no reason to not at least check out this neat, novel game. It’s an easy-to-pick-up, fun title that just about anyone can enjoy.