It’s no big secret that I love to play various types of games. From shooters to more relaxing games like Forager. Now, I enjoy playing casual games like the ones on Bigfishgames.com. So, when Drageus Games sent me a press release about Archaica and I saw it was based on one of the classic light and mirror puzzles you have to do in those games, it grabbed my attention right away. So, I took the press code I got, and I started working on this first impression/review article of the game that will have 100% my own opinion. Without further ado, let’s see how well Two Mammoths game got ported to the Nintendo Switch. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section down below with your thoughts and/or opinions on the game and/or the content of this article.
The story in this game is pretty relaxed. The story is about you discovering the ancient secrets of an old and long forgotten civilization. Yet, since this is a puzzle game and in most of the puzzle games the story can be a bit… mediocre, the developers focused more on the atmosphere and tying the puzzles into the lore.
This is something they did quite well. The story is being told through various hidden collectables, and it’s a joy to play through a puzzle game that way. The only “ehrm” thing about it, is that it’s a bit ruined by the fact that there is no real “log” of the things you discover. So, if you want to read previous entries, you are out of luck.
Now, the gameplay is quite easy to understand. You have to place mirrors on the right location on the grid and get them in the right orientation for them to bounce the light right into the crystals. The really responsive controls make this game easy to pick up and play.
While this game can be fun in short and longer play sessions, the thing that kept me going was the atmosphere. The lore building storytelling combined with the amazing visual presentation and animation, it’s perfect for a first indie game project. Together with the mysterious Aztec-themed music, the sound design is pretty well done as well.
The difficulty of the game can be a bit frustrating, since it’s the answer is always a bit tricky, but the satisfaction of finally figuring out that level you were stuck on is such a great feeling.
The game autosaves your progress. It’s a joy, since it also saves the collectables you have found in uncompleted levels.
So, I don’t know who is to blame here, but on the official Drageus website, they claim that this game has a unique hint system and that it has dynamic boards.
I’m sorry, but this is a bit of false advertising. Let me begin first about the “dynamic boards”. Since it’s a term that I didn’t find anywhere else, it’s a bit up for whatever we make of it. And that can cause some expectations that aren’t realistic like randomly generated puzzles.
But the publishers aren’t native English speakers, so I can forgive that to an extent. Something I can’t forgive and found quite disappointing is the actual lack of a hint system. I’m sorry, but I was unable to find this “unique hint system”. Now, if they meant with “unique hint system” the fact that you get more explanation about a certain type of mirror when you find the three glowing pedestals hidden in the level, then I don’t call that a hint system but a tutorial.
Sadly enough, there are some other things I can’t let off the hook either. The menu UI, especially the method to return to a previous menu is a bit clunky. You have to hold B to go to a previous menu. But, the annoying thing is that there is no indication of the game registering your input.
Also, the options’ menu is a bit unpolished. You don’t go to the top option when you scrolled down to the bottom, and the game doesn’t tell you that the options autosave when you exit. So image my surprise when my game was suddenly in a different language because I was looking at the different options for this review.
The option to replay the intro is just filler. But the intro is just a few seconds long and has just one text box with a bit of the story.
So yeah, with that said, I think I have said everything I wanted to say about this game. Apart from my conclusion here. What is my actual conclusion? Let’s find out.
This game is a strange beast. While the game is really enjoyable to play, and I had a lot of fun with it… There are some things that just ruin the experience to a degree. From the lack of a promised hint system to unpolished UI.
I’m under the impression that this game tried to be something it isn’t. It could have been so much more when the story was more fleshed out, and you had some sort of log you could read previous entries. Or when you had a hint system and a reason to actually collect those shine glowing orbs.
I really wanted to like this game since the audiovisual design and the gameplay are excellent. Especially the audiovisual design is exceptionally well done for an indie title. But alas, it isn’t meant to be.
I can recommend this game to casual and hardcore fans of the puzzle genre. If the premise of laser and mirror puzzles interests you, I think that this game might be worth your time but don’t expect the next Talos Principle from this game.
I might sound a bit harsh in my conclusion and I do have a reason for that. I find it such a shame that such a beautiful game is pulled down by such simple mistakes. This is something the developers can fix through patches and content updates. So, please. Just polish up the game a bit more, and it can be a real gem. But for now, I think I’ll just enjoy my unpolished rough diamond.
Thank you so much for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope I’ll be able to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.