Armadillo Gold Rush in Review – Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’…

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When I first saw the press release for Armadillo Gold Rush I thought maybe I had missed something, because I was sure I had already played this game.  Well, it turns out I had – 7 years ago when I reviewed it for the PocketPC!  Back then I gave the game a 9 out of 10, and I have to say my feelings towards it haven’t changed much.  Things certainly don’t always age well, but this little armadillo is definitely no worse for the wear.

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Why he needs it I don’t know, but your goal is to help the armadillo gather all the gold coins that are scattered around the 75+ levels the game contains.  The problem is that this little guy likes to roll, and once he gets started there’s no stopping him unless something gets in the way.  If it’s a rock or hedge it’s no big deal, but things like spiked balls, water and lava are certainly not his friends.  Thankfully you can find plenty of miscellaneous objects like crates, non-spiked balls and more to both protect you from aggressive obstacles and help you cross over the more passive ones.  There are also things like sticky pads to stop your roll when there’s not a solid surface in sight.

With this many levels you’re bound to run across some that you don’t like, and others can be just plain evil because you keep dying or getting stuck.  For the most part, however, the level designs are extremely well done.  It’s very rarely a straight zip through the park, either.  You might have to go around a level several times to get everything you need, or criss-cross back and forth to flip levers so you can open gates or turn off bothersome devices.  Some levels even require you to perform mini-games like “playing golf” or pushing a ball across the entire level.  You can tell that a lot of thought went into the level design, and that’s a big part of what makes the game so enjoyable.

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Upon level completion you’ll be awarded with up to three stars in three different categories: time, number of moves and overall score.  The funny thing is that you can do really poorly on the first two and still earn three stars on the score, but thankfully you can revisit a level at any time to recover any stars you missed the first time around.  You also don’t have to finish an entire level set to unlock the next one, and once a level set is unlocked you can play any level in that set.  The game offers five leaderboards ranging from total overall score to the sum of the least moves taken for each level.  There are also a whopping 42 achievements to earn.  That’s just in case getting all 9 stars in each level isn’t quite enough satisfaction for you!

I really like the visuals.  While they may not be the most advanced and they certainly aren’t 3D, there’s a nice “modern old school” charm about them.  Everything is nicely detailed and there are little bits of animation where necessarily to keep things from feeling completely static.  The sound effects aren’t that great, however, and while there’s a nifty banjo track that plays during menus and such, there’s no actual in-game music.  Ironically, it’s not just the good things about the game that haven’t changed over the last seven years!

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Armadillo Gold Rush may have it’s origins as a seven+ year old PocketPC game, but it certainly holds up well enough today.  At a time when the App Store is overrun with just about every time of action / puzzle game there is, this one still feels like a breath of fresh air.  There are plenty of levels to keep you busy, numerous achievements to earn, and multiple three star ratings per level to aspire to.  The audio department could use a bit of a lift, but otherwise this is a top notch puzzle game worthy of your time and effort.

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App Summary
Title: Armadillo Gold Rush Developer: AppAbove Games LLC
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.9 Min OS Req:  iOS 4.3
Price: $2.99 App Size: 85.09MB
  • Easy to learn
  • Plenty of well designed levels
  • Lots of achievements and 5 leaderboards
  • Great visuals
  • Lackluster sound effects
  • No music during the levels

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