EA SCOUT the last line of defense for buying on Steam's Early Access
by William Thompson
previewed on PC
We had the chance to have play around with Armed With Wings: Rearmed at PAX AUS late last year and even then it looked largely complete. The wonderful Limbo-esque art style worked marvellously well with the minimalism that is portrayed throughout the game. With the game in Early Access on Steam and nearing a launch date, we thought we would take a look to see how it has been progressing.
It is clear that Sun Studios have been hard at work putting the finishing touches to their game. For those who haven't heard of the game, Armed with Wings is a hack-and-slash platformer that has you taking on the role of a ninja-like character from the almost defeated Rebel Army. The tyrant king Vandheer rules with an iron fist and punishes anyone who stands in his way. It is up to you to set the realm free. Armed initially with only an largely ineffectual sword, our hero must make her way through the dangers set before her in order to eventually meet up with her nemesis. Throughout the journey, our hero is shadowed by a companion eagle. This bird does not perform any combat manoeuvres, but is instead used to help solve the array of puzzles that confront the hero.
The puzzles are fairly simple, requiring the player to switch back and forth between the character and the flying companion in order to open doors, move platforms and to reach areas that are out of the character's reach. Puzzles in the later levels do ramp up the complexity somewhat, but are easy enough to work out before any head scratching begins.
The combat too is fairly simple with only two attacks and one defensive manoeuvre to learn. As mentioned, you start the game with a sword that requires a number of hits before even a low level enemy can be killed. But as you level up (through points scored for performance), access to better weapons can be gained. The improved weapons allow our avatar to cut a swath through the lower level enemies with minimal effort. Enemies on later levels will still require a series of attacks to destroy, but the improved weapons will help things along.
Speaking of enemies, there are a number of different enemy types, including the standard warrior, a warrior that spins a staff like a helicopter, a fast moving ninja and even Venus flytrap style plants that shoot out bouncing fireballs. Each require a different combat strategy, but once you get the first hit in, it's just a matter of continually swing your sword until they are dead. Gamers will only have three lives with which to complete the levels, and the enemies as well as the environmental dangers - spikes and revolving pointed cogs - can easily account for those who aren't careful.
There are actually two modes - the Story Mode (as previously discussed) and the Survival mode. As you would expect, the survival mode places the character within a particular setting and sends wave after wave of enemies at you until you run out of health. Armed with Wings does lend itself to having a speedrun mode though, as a timer indicated the time taken to complete the game, so after destroying Vandheer, I went back to try and beat my own time.
Boss battles do require some skill though, as players will need to recognise the patterns in their attacks. I did enjoy the fact that one of the bosses required the use of the little used power attack that requires the gamer to build up strength before unleashing a powerful hit. Having a few more enemies that required this type of manoeuvre would give the game a little freshness rather than wildly swinging throughout the levels. I did find that the main antagonist, Vandheer was actually rather easy, although there is an update being planned that will require a number of phases to defeat him.
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The black and white Limbo style visuals work wonderfully, setting a dark undertone in the 30 level (currently) story mode and although the combat and puzzle elements are reasonably simple, it encourages a free flowing game. Armed with Wings: Rearmed is looking and playing great, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the final stages in the development bring to the game.
There are no guarantees - but we'd bet our own money on this one. If you're going to take a chance with yours, odds are good this one will deliver.