I’m usually not the guy who reviews long, in depth adventure games for Arcade Sushi but one new game had a hook that seemed right up my alley. I love music games so anything music related should work for me, plus this one has a ton of mini-games throughout it. So it’s really a more casual game, only you play the mini-games to collect objects for quests. Find out what new adventure game got me hooked on its rhythm.
Arranger is going to remind you of 8-bit NES games, and the first one you’re going to think of is The Legend of Zelda, but I’m going to go back even further. It’s really an Atari 2600 game with a few iOS twists. Remember Adventure? You were just a dot on the screen but Arranger is a little more sophisticated than that because it has actual shapes. I think the old Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. games for Atari looked like this.
So Arranger wanders the land trying to collect 8 chalices for the king. You move north, south, east and west to different areas of the kingdom, with different themes like letters, numbers, food, partying and many more. Arranger meets people on every screen who need something from another area, and they can help him. You may play mini-games to solve puzzles but the key part of the mission is arranging music for the bosses.
You collect different instruments in your quests and the further along you get, the more different choices you have. For each boss, you pick three instruments depending on what kind of music the boss likes, but Arranger isn’t a music game like TapTap or Guitar Hero. You hear music, beautiful music actually, which is where the game far exceeds any bloops and beeps of the retro games on which it is based. But once you pick your instruments, you enter a side scrolling game where you have to fire your music at the center of the boss’s brain. The boss’s mind will throw things in your way to deter you, so you have to pick the right instruments to fire shots at his brain before the music runs out.
I love Arranger. I’m hooked on the simple quests, like a hybrid of the old Sierra games but not as convoluted, so you won’t forget what object you need to get for which character. With the retro graphics, it is hard to tell what your objects are, but there’s a house you can bring them to where this guy will tell you what the object is and where you need to bring it. That’s very helpful for me once I’ve collected a few colored squares that I can’t tell apart. You can only carry one object at a time, but your trusty dog can fetch anything you’ve left throughout the levels and bring it home. That really helps you organize your inventory.
The worlds of Arranger are beautiful. I love the simplicity of numbers, letters and any little thing that would make an 8-bit world distinct. It’s rather poetic too. The world of letters is at war with the world of numbers so you have to bring peace. The mini-games recall everything from Atari Boxing and Pong to classic arcade games like Frogger and Burger Time, to midway games like ring toss and target galleries. The language is hilarious too. Farmers call their crops turpatoes instead of potatoes, and animals get fleaks instead of fleas.
Arranger has two options for controls, touch and D-pad. Touch is a mistake because often you’ll have to navigate spaces so small, you’ll get stuck on your own iPhone screen. Maybe if they ever release it for the iPad it’ll be easier. You can switch to D-pad controls mid-game by holding your finger on Arranger until the menu comes up. D-pad has its kinks too but you can basically touch anywhere on your screen and bring up four arrow keys. You may end up switching controls back and forth for different minigames as you need you! I could still beat the bosses with touch controls, but the Numerica boss was maddening with his mathematical symbols that turned Arranger invisible. The controls are the only drawback I can think of though, in a way that kind of simulates those Atari 2600 joysticks that would always get stuck on you.
The graphics, as I’ve described, are joyfully simple and retro yet beautiful with the subtle distinctions they make between different worlds of the kingdom. The music is so good I want the soundtrack. There’s doo wop, power ballads and all sorts of classic rock genres, complete with lyrics and everything. It’s awesome.
Arranger is easy to pick up with its minigames and simple quests, but it’ll suck you in for the long haul. Eight chalices is a long quest and with all the mini quests and mini-games you might not notice the hours go by. You’ll be rewarded though with beautiful music and worlds far richer than their simple graphics might suggest.
App Store Link: Arranger for iPhone | By Ayopa Games LLC | Price: $0.99 | Version: 1.0 | 49.3 MB | Rating 4+