Review by Osimov

"A challenging but not frustrating WiiWare gem with exceptional 2.5D graphics"

Finally bought the full version. Bad things first: When I first played through the game it crashed 5 times(!) and only turning off the console helped. I've rarely seen a game crash that often. But that may be coincidence and I think the game is not therefore bad. (Note: The US-version was updated and has a few improvements but the European version not! [As at September 29th 2012.])

Contrary to what some reviewers say, the controls are not broken. It did not take long for me to get used to them and have fun with it. It's not overly complicated, you only use a two button control scheme for jumping and attacking (plus another button for rage mode). And there are a few easy to memorize combos that can be performed. Classic Controller is supported.

You will die a lot in this game during combat but due to how great it is to explore the stunning areas, it never becomes frustrating. There are no confusing mazes where you can get lost for hours and the very few puzzles are easy to figure out. Even finding the eighteen monoliths that tell you the story of Ark, the place where the game takes place, is not hard. (There is only one monolith that is tricky because you need a special move to get over to it.)

Another reason why this game is not frustrating is, whenever you lose one of your unlimited lifes, you start again at a checkpoint nearby. You never repeat long difficult paths and there are more than enough save points where you can save your game to one of the six slots. There are also breakable statues scattered all around the game to replenish your health. And most enemies leave energy orbs behind after defeating them. You can never get in distress for long. I often thought that it's almost too easy at times.

The final boss section isn't too challenging either. Though the game throws merciless waves of enemies at you, this isn't too much of problem. If you die, you don't have to repeat the whole section but only the last wave you reached. If you reach the final boss and die, you can try the boss as long as you wish without having to deal with the mob ever again. Nevertheless, I must admit that the last boss is not exactly easy (it took me a dozen attempts). But with enough tries you can and will finally bring him down.

It's a beautiful looking game, which is reminiscent of Castlevania, with amazing artwork, exploration, small puzzles, an interesting story and cutscenes and a lot to love about it. In the graphics department it can easily compete with the great names in WiiWare history like Chronos Twins DX, Lost Winds, NyxQuest, Dive: The Medes Islands Secret & Co. It may even surpass some of them.

The music is also nice. Although played in short loops, it fits perfectly to the mood of the game. Think of the Latin choirs in Goth metal bands like Tristania or Sirenia and you have an idea.

If I had bought this as retail title for the Gamecube, I would not regret the purchase. It's astounding what some developers can squeeze into 304 Blocks. Ark of Sinners is something that I would rather expect on a CD than as a downloadable title. Despite the doomsayers, for me one of the best WiiWare titles I've ever downloaded and I'm glad that I was not deterred by some reviews.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 10/01/12, Updated 10/03/12

Game Release: Anima: Ark of Sinners (EU, 07/07/11)

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