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Ark of Sinners Advance

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad
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Forgive it, players, for it has sinned

Product: Ark of Sinners Advance | Developer: Anima Game Studio | Publisher: Bulkypix | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Platform | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0
Ark of Sinners Advance iPhone, thumbnail 1
Sitting down to review Ark of Sinners Advance as a male, I wasn't sure I could fully understand the main character's plight.

You see, the game's female protagonist, Celia, wakes up in a strange, abandoned city wearing the merest suggestion of an outfit, and struggles to piece together her memories as she searches for her friend Nemo.

Never questioning why she has a roll of gauze in place of, say, a shirt, Celia grabs her trusty sword and swears to get to the bottom of the mysterious city.

If I was in Celia's thigh-high boots, I'd probably try to find something to cover up with first. But, hey.

Arking at the moon

Ark of Sinners Advance is a port of the dark and moody WiiWare title Anima: Ark of Sinners, which is itself a spin-off of the JRPG-inspired Anima franchise.

Players needn't be familiar with the world of Anima to enjoy Ark of Sinners Advance, mind, for you start off with a blank slate and are filled in on the storyline as you go. In terms of gameplay, Ark of Sinners Advance is a pretty straight-up Metroidvania action-platformer with some RPG elements sprinkled on top for good measure.

Ark of Sinners Advance's controls are easy to pick up: there's a virtual button for jump; one for a basic attack, another for a strong attack; and arrows for moving around and dodging.

Where the maker of Ark of Sinners Advance really stumbles, however, is with the game's difficulty. Even considering the intricacy of the developer's 'build your own combo' approach to fighting, Ark of Sinners Advance plays out very much like Code of Princess.

This means that you'll quickly learn how to launch enemies up in the air, juggle them, and then punish them with a devastating finishing move. The combat in this game, then, is simple and straightforward. If only the platforming followed suit.

All Ark, no bite

When setting a game in a dark city like Ark, a game designer should ensure that platforms are lit properly so that they stand out from the lush and artistic textures of the game's backgrounds.

Unfortunately, this isn't the case in Ark of Sinners Advance. Because of this, you'll often find that a routine jump sends Celia sailing majestically into a bottomless pit on account of your thinking a shadow is hiding a platform that wasn't really there.

If you can train your eyes to compensate for the dark environments, you'll still face problems with the platforming parts since the jumping isn't as responsive as you'd like it to be.

Worse still, controlling Celia's momentum during a jump becomes a challenge in and of itself, as the jittery heroine seems compelled to fling herself off of narrow ledges.

Ark, the herald

Despite the sticky jump mechanics and Celia's baffling lack of clothing, Ark of Sinners Advance is an enjoyable platformer. Anima delivers a compelling story (with a few occasional typos), along with a solid 16-bit challenge that will remind some of the older hands of gaming on a Sega Genesis.

It's hard to care about Celia as a protagonist at first - mostly because of her grating combat vocalisations (KEE-YAH!) - but if you can come to terms with her voice, and the control flaws you'll encounter in the game, you'll find that Ark of Sinners Advance offers up a surprisingly rich, sprawling world for you to explore.
Ark of Sinners Advance
Reviewer photo
Matthew Diener | 23 April 2013
Ark of Sinners Advance stumbles towards greatness. It's not the easiest game to pick up, but it is a difficult game to put down
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