LifeisXbox’s Arkan: The Dog Adventurer review | If you by some total coincidence happen to be looking for a game that mixes both the platformer and the Arkanoid genre, then I’ve got some great news for you. Madao Studio recently released their game Arkan: The Dog Adventurer, and this promises to be a unique explosive mixture of exactly those two genres. Aren’t you a lucky dog? If you’re ready to jump, break bricks, teleport, and defeat some enemies, let’s get started!
ℹ️ | Maui played Arkan: The Dog Adventurer for 4 hours on Xbox Series X. This game is also available on PC – Nintendo Switch – PlayStation.
What we liked!
- Decent gameplay | You’ll get the hang of this game quite fast, I’m sure. It’s one of those ‘easy to play, hard to master’ types of games, I’d say. You take charge of Arkan, a cool looking dog. The game offers 60 levels (spread over three worlds), and each level has a few blocks, enemies, platforms, and three stars. The levels are basically made up out of two parts: on the left side of the screen, you can move around with Arkan and it’s made up out of platforms you can jump on. Then there is an invisible blue forcefield that appears when you stumble upon it. On the other side of the field are the blocks, monsters, and stars. In order to beat a level, you need to kill all enemies. Some enemies hide behind blocks (made out of grass, stone, ice, and so on) so you’ll have to tackle those first. Now, Arkan throws a ball in whatever direction you want, and it will bounce around until it leaves the screen on the left or downside of the screen. The longer you keep a ball active, the stronger it becomes. Of course, Arkan has some other tricks up his sleeve like basic jumping, extra high jumping, and teleporting so time slows down for a short amount of time. You’ll soon discover that using these special skills is highly important as the amount of enemies increases quickly, and the difficulty ramps up big time.
- Graphics and sound | I mean, if a game has a dog, you immediatey get some extra love and attention. Put the word ‘dog’ in your title, and you totally have my attention, you know. Arkan is a simple yet cute doggy and the level design is okay. If you can appreciate these kinds of graphics, it’s a nice addition, but honestly, the focus is on the challenging gameplay rather than what the game looks like, so the graphics are excellent the way they are. The sound is pretty good as well, with some happy tunes at the level select, and some more upbeat tunes when the actual challenge starts. All in all, the graphics and sound didn’t have any wow-factor or anyting, but they were enjoyable.
- Difficulty | If you love solid complexity and have stamina – this game is for you. If these points are not about you, the game provides an easy mode. You can read this in the description of the game, and yes, Arkan: The Dog Adventurer offers an easy, normal, and hard mode. However, the game remains incredibly difficult, and will not be suited for everyone. I personally am not very good at these kinds of games and the ramping difficulty wasn’t a pace I could keep up with. If you like a challenge, I’m sure you’re going to love the gameplay here, but be aware of this. I also didn’t really feel any big differences between normal and easy mode when I switched between them. So even if you’re really bad at this game, you’re probably still going to suck at it in easy mode, sorry!
- Controls | Accuracy is so very important in this game, especially when there are a bunch of enemies all shooting at you at the same time. It’s essential that you move correctly to avoid getting hit. You see, Arkan can only take five hits before he dies and you have to start over the level. You’d expect a game like this to have very accurate controls, but unfortunately, this wasn’t the case here. Sometimes my controller listened to me, but other times, it felt like Arkan was living by his own rules. This happened mostly when trying to aim. Often, you’ll be jumping while avoiding attacks and also trying to aim your ball, but this just didn’t feel as smooth as I hoped it would feel.
- Levels felt the same | There are only three worlds, giving you a total of 60 levels, but I still felt like every level was the same in a way. Yes, the gameplay difficulty increased, but other than that, I didn’t feel a lot of differences between the levels. Besides this, you’ll be spending a lot of time waiting for the ball to bounce around on blocks, platforms, etc. It got a little tedious at times, if I’m being honest. Yeah, of course, you still have to watch out for enemy attacks while that power ball does its thing, but still, endless waiting for that ball to return or for a new one to respawn eventually wasn’t very fun.
What we disliked
- No explanation | I feel like a lot was left unexplained in Arkan: The Dog Adventurer. Sure, I like going on an adventure with a little bit of mystery, but I just got annoyed by the lack of information here. There are several things happening during the gameplay that are not explained. For example, the more you hit the ball, the stronger it becomes. This is not explained, but you can guess this by seeing that the ball turns red, and actually becomes stronger. What’s worse is that there is a rage indicator on the bottom right of your screen that simply says ‘Rage: x’ (x changing into numbers). Again, the game does not explain the meaning of this. And what really got me was the following. So, there are three worlds each consisting of 20 levels. It’s pretty clear that to get unlock the second world, you need at least 40 stars, and to get to the third world, you need to have gathered 80 stars. However, in the menu, every world is made up out of four rows each having five levels. In order to advance to the next row, you need at least one star in every level. I did not know this, and thought it was a bug when I finished level 10 (about 6 times) and couldn’t continue to level 11. Luckily, the developers quickly helped me out here and explaind that I needed to get at least one star in level 8 and 9 (in which I previously had 0 stars). Anyway, I thought this was really confusing, and was nowhere indicated that you HAVE to get one star per level to continue.
How long to beat the story | 2 to 5 hours, depending on how good you are
How long to achieve 1000G | 5 to 7 hours
Similar with | Arkanoid
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂