David Gilson reviews a retro title from the Ovi Store in our Ovi Gaming review of Treasure Arm. With all the bells, whistles and game modes of a modern title, Treasure Arm only really disappoints because of a lazy display and control system. Still arcade puzzlers might still want to give this a try.
Have you ever wanted to control a robotic arm? Treasure Arm might be the game for you. This is a puzzle game, where the objective is to use your articulated robot arm to pick up keys that will open locks, picking up all manner of power-ups along the way.
The game has three modes: "Main", "Survival" and "Time Attack". In main mode, there are a set number of locks to open that you must complete within a time limit, every move of the arm uses its limited energy, and it's game over if you run out. After completing each level, you get bonus points for remaining time and left-over energy. During levels, you can spend points to upgrade the total amount of energy your robot-arm can store.
Each level has blocks that you need to avoid, as contact will sap your energy. To make things even trickier, some blocks move around. Fortunately, there are power-ups to help out. These include an energy boost for the arm, a time bonus, a points bonus, a speed buff and temporary invulnerability. There are also de-buffs to the moving objects to slow them down and temporarily freeze them. In addition to blocks, there are nasty mines which if touched will destroy the arm and end the game. The invulnerability buff comes in very handy for detonating the pesky things! One last hazard are magnets which take the form of circular fields that slow the arm down as it passes through.
There are 39 levels in main mode that get increasingly complex. As you progress, the other game modes become available, in which there are an unending number of locks to open, and this turns Treasure Arm into an endurance game. The first unlock is Survival Mode, in which you have to keep going without running out of energy, without a time limit. This is tougher than it sounds and requires you to plan your moves with the utmost efficiency. The other game mode is Time Attack. Here, you are against the clock, and have to keep finding time-extension power-ups as well as keeping your arm charged up.
Treasure Arm has something of a retro feel, with fairly basic graphics and an unashamedly 8-Bit-like soundtrack. It is available for S60 3rd and 5th edition phones. Mind you, Tequila Mobile have failed to make the most of the larger touch screens. The 3rd Edition version has the 'upper arm' controlled by left and right on the d-pad, and the 'lower arm' is controlled by up and down on the d-pad. The touch version of Treasure Arm exactly replicates this by using the extra screen area area to show four arrows, up, down, left and right, which do exactly the same as the 3rd edition d-pad, and it only plays in portrait mode.
Given that the 5th Edition version replaces d-pad controls with graphical buttons, I think it was just lazy of them to use the same directional arrow design, rather than replacing them with curved arrows to indicate clockwise and anti-clockwise rotation for each arm section. Furthermore, landscape gaming could have been made possible with the controls for each arm segment at opposite ends of the screen, for a more comfortable two-handed experience.
As it stands, the game mechanics are still highly absorbing. Without stopping to think, it isn't always obvious which set of moves will be the most efficient as you try to plan ahead. It's even harder when you're working against the clock and trying to avoid moving obstacles.
David Gilson for Ovi Gaming, 22nd June 2010.