ReviewsReview: Arkan: The Dog Adventurer

Review: Arkan: The Dog Adventurer

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Do you like an addictive challenge that slowly grows on you? Are indie games with an old-school vibe your thing? Will I stop asking questions and get on with this? If the answer to all three questions is yes, then you’ll love Arkan: The Dog Adventurer, and I can get on with this review!

Developed by Taverna Game Studio and published by Sometimes You, this is an Arkanoid platform game with a retro twist. You control a dog who is hell-bent on destroying everything and everyone he sees. He is a dog like no other and has special powers and a badass attitude.

So many foes for one dog.

Arkan: The Dog Adventurer is simple but addictive.

Like the great arcade games from the past, Arkan: The Dog Adventurer has a very simple concept. You must control the doggy hero as he throws a ball at the destructible scenery. Like Arkanoid, you must annihilate every block. If you don’t, the scenery will act as a defensive wall for the monsters. Failure to kill them all will prevent you from collecting your stars and progressing.

There are three worlds to visit, each comprising twenty stages. You aim to collect each of the stars, kill the monsters, and survive. This is easier said than done as your enemies become more aggressive and increase in size. You must plan how to eliminate the blocks, aim your throws, and dodge projectiles.

During the early stage, this is relatively easy, but it quickly becomes problematic. You will fall down pits, be struck by bullets, and fail levels. It’s infuriating, annoying, but it adds to the addictive fun and demands you have just one more try.

Arkan: The Dog Adventurer is no ordinary dog, he has special powers.

It wouldn’t be much of a platform game if the hero had no special powers. Luckily, Arkan: The Dog Adventurer is loaded with game-changing skills. He can; jump, double jump, power up his magical ball, and teleport to slow time.

These skills take time to get used to and they add a tactical element to an otherwise simple premise. Worried about facing a barrage of bullets? No problem, teleport out of the way. Are all your foes hidden behind blocks? Don’t worry, leap like a gazelle and take them down. Is the action going too quickly for you? Slow it down and give yourself time.

Dodge those projectiles.

A game of luck, patience, and some skill.

Like Arkanoid, there is some skill needed to be successful. But mostly you’ll need luck on your side and a heavy dose of patience. The ball will bounce around the right-hand side of the screen and there is nothing you can do about it. An invisible force field stops you from entering and you simply must wait for the ball to return to you.

This was pretty tiresome and I wish the developers had used an option to reset the ball. There were moments where you stared blindly at the screen as you became a voyeur in your game. It wasn’t necessary, and it impacted the enjoyment factor.

A classic indie old-school look.

There is very little that’ll surprise you about this. The fixed screen perspective leaves nothing to the imagination. The pixelated graphics are good but lacked originality. I liked what I saw, especially the different backdrops for each world and the unique monsters. However, I would have liked to see something unusual that matches the weird combination of genres.

The audio is similar, and it has a pleasant array of songs to listen to. Each matched the look and help to build the manic atmosphere. It was a shame that it sounds like many retro indie games on the market. I was disappointed as I hoped for more from this bizarre title. 

Don’t let the freezing cold stop you.

Practice makes perfect.

When the controls are simple, you’d expect to pick them up quickly. Strangely, I struggled with it to begin with. The timing was a key element and if you get this wrong, you floundered in the air and missed the ball repeatedly. Fear not though, practice makes perfect! Once you nail the finer points, it quickly becomes second nature.

With many stages to complete and lots of stars to collect, this will keep you going. Three difficulty modes are available to make the game harder and this increases the longevity vastly. A small achievement list adds some challenge but can be completed in a few hours. It’s inexpensive so you get a lot of value for your money.

Arkan: The Dog Adventurer is challenging, fun, but plateaus.

This is one bizarre title that I’m glad to have played. Never in a million years did I think this would work, but it does. It’s challenging, fun, and addictive, yet the gameplay plateaus quickly. It keeps you interested throughout, so it’s worth giving it a go. I liked it and recommend you to buy it here! Break the blocks, collect the stars, and kill your foes. 

SUMMARY

Arkan: The Dog Adventurer combines two genres to create a fun yet weird platform block breaker. It's addictive but the gameplay sadly plateaus.

+ Nice retro graphics.
+ Comfortable and expected audio.
+ Addictive gameplay.
+ Variety in stage design.
+ A good amount of replay value.
- Controls can be fiddly.
- Delivers what was expected and nothing more.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series. Also available on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]

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