Overall Score 74%
I am grinning as I type this. I have just played another game of Androkids, the children's version of our previous review Android.
Phelios, the people behind this simple yet addictive platform-and-ladders game, have produced the game for (they say) children aged three to seven. I have mental images of bored children standing by the computer saying "Dad, is it my turn yet?" Older players are, however, told to try the original version of this game, Android.
The aim is simple - rescue the princess. To do this you guide your little Androkid around each level, climbing ladders and swinging across vines, collecting all the gold coins. This will open the magical door and take you (in a swirl of stars) to the next level. Along the way, watch out for King Scribble's guards.
The first thing that hits you about Androkids is the graphics. The premise of the game is that it looks like a child's doodles on paper, with a little computer magic that makes them move. Even the characters in the game are named in this fashion, such as the evil King Scribble. All the elements, from the little men to the gold coins that you are out to collect, have been inspired by actual children's drawings, and they animate smoothly.
The game makes considerable use of vocal messages, which makes sense when aimed at such a young audience as they may have difficulty reading any written text. This is particularly clear in the tutorial, where the Magical Elf from Notebook City tells the player how the various objects in the game work. The background music is light and cheery, encouraging the player to have fun. And that's what the game is all about - fun. The controls are simple and, very importantly for smaller children, do not require great precision. None of the early levels present too much of a challenge, which gives you plenty of time to get used to them. There is no emphasis on score or lives - smiley faces show how you're doing.
Many features are aimed at parents, who can set time limits on play and password locks (so they can leave children to play without supervision). But the best news for parents is that this is a game without guns. There is a confetti bomb, which can blow open floors to trap the guards for a while, or provide an escape route - something of a relief now that every adventure seems to involve shooting everything that moves.
In fairness, I am considerably beyond seven years old. Children can be fickle, and any computer game runs the risk of being played once for five minutes and never looked at again. The graphics are a particular unknown when showing them to children. While adults are willing to see what the game is like beyond the graphics, many children might not bother to look further.
This is a game with great appeal, especially to parents, but it will be up to the parents to sell it to their children.
Keywords: androkids review, phelios reviews, phelios games, androkids scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.