Armed With Wings 3
After nearly two years of waiting, Sun Studios have finally released Armed With Wings 3 and it's AWESOME! In this platform action adventure game, evil has no chance as you take the Blackmist form of a young hero named Leo and his Eagle, to puzzle and fight your way through various worlds, eliminating henchmen and completing boss battles to overcome the evil that threatens to annihilate your village.
Almost as soon as the game begins, it becomes clear why Sun Studios took time to release the latest installment. It seems the developers took on board the feedback received from Armed With Wings and Armed With Wings 2, as you soon realize that this game is not only a little simpler to play in terms of controls, but there is also so much more depth. In Story Mode, you'll be instantly struck by the phenomenal soundtrack and striking silhouette graphics which while similar to the previous games, now include the subtle use of color to differentiate between worlds. There's also a Survival Mode where you can fight endless battles and post your score to a leaderboard, and bonus content includes concept art, cinematics and access to music that's unlocked during the game.
The Eagle was absent from the sequel, but returns for this latest title, giving you two characters to control. As Leo, use your [arrow] keys to move and jump, and [WASD] keys to perform actions. The [A] key is your fighting with fists control while the [S] key will have you pulling some extraordinary sword fighting moves. [D] activates your special ability and [W] switches between characters. As Leo's Eagle, the [arrow] keys are also for navigation while the [A] key grasps items, such as keys and pulley handles, and the [S] key secures the Eagle in position to assist Leo in performing other actions while [W] calls the bird back after completing a task. By moving and interacting with each other, Leo and his Eagle will have to navigate through a variety of worlds, solve puzzles, collect orbs to replenish life status, find treasures, and of course undertake many battles along the way.
Analysis: Armed With Wings 3 is comprised of a series of chapters, which are a number of worlds to be traversed, with a tutorial incorporated into the gameplay. The platforming varies in each, as difficulty increases gradually, and Leo learns to navigate in new ways through interacting with his Eagle and each environment. As the game progresses, more and more puzzles are introduced and must be solved before Leo can reach the portal that awaits at the end of each level. The beauty of having the Eagle is the ability to scout ahead and check out what's in store for Leo. The Eagle will also be required to go ahead and access tiny passages, grasp pulley-handles or find keys to aid Leo's journey. Initially, switching between the two characters can be a little disorienting, but it doesn't take long to adjust to.
The story in Armed With Wings is complex and involves interacting with other characters such as The Blacksmith and Leo's Mother. Between each level, Leo must consult with both the Blacksmith and his Mother to access upgrades in both abilities and weaponry. The game is stunning in so many ways and it's actually quite difficult to pinpoint any flaws. One would be the sluggishness of the controls, but that's likely due to the high level of animation in the characters. The other would be the unavoidable visits to the Blacksmith and Leo's Mother, as there is some unnecessary and repetitive navigating to undertake each time. But these flaws are almost entirely blitzed by the sheer brilliance of the game.
The developers at Sun Studios have obviously invested so much time and work into this, their latest creation and it truly shows. They've taken the beauty of the last two games and if anything they've improved on it. They've also improved the controls, which while a little sluggish, are actually quite easy to learn and use. What also stands apart from the previous two games is the introduction of puzzles and the platform element of the game actually has a purpose. The first few levels indicate a deceptively simple game, which even Leo himself remarks upon early on. You may find yourself feeling as over-confident as he does. But the game quickly gets tricky, and you'll be needing to rely on your platforming skills as much as Leo relies on his bird. If you're a novice level platformer like me, you'll still progress quite easily through the game and there's so much about the gameplay experience that you'll want to persist.
There's still a lot that I feel has been left unsaid about this gorgeous game, but why spoil the fun? This is a game that holds a lot to be explored and discovered. And anyway I haven't quite made it to the finale yet. So if you're familiar with the Armed With Wings games, you'll definitely appreciate the extraordinary lengths Sun Studios have gone to in creating this game. If this is your first Armed With Wings experience, you're in for a real treat. I have to go now. I've got to get back to this game...!