February 7, 2013 3:00 AM | John Polson
Paul has recently remade and released Archipelagos for mobile devices. While the gameplay and eerie music remain the same, the graphics received an overhaul. The main strategy of the game involves players restoring the chain of islands, the archipelagos, from being corrupt by destroying boulders and obelisks, sometimes connecting land, and avoiding captive hazards along the way.
Paul not only worked on the original in 1989, he also worked on a 1999 remake, entitled Archipelagos 2000, ten years later. He told me that he chose to use Marmalade for developing the 2013 remake so that it would be easy to produce the game across the various platform versions, but it's all a one-man project for now.
The game felt a little clunky to me on the iPad, where it would otherwise benefit from laser-sharp mouse pointing. Tapping that controlled my ability to move, pick up items, and destroy boulders was sometimes misunderstood by the game. Controls issues aside, the game felt like a curious mix I haven't often come across.
I asked for his thoughts on Archipelagos thriving in today's market. "I think that good gameplay is timeless. I know that I can play Archipelagos now and still get enjoyment out of it, and that MUST translate to other people. I have done other games that were better sellers at the time, but which no longer carry any significance and which I would never consider appropriate for a remake."
He says that today's audience is less used to putting time into a game, and therefore he felt he had to lead them by the hand a bit more. "For example the concept of 'connected' land in Achipelagos is a difficult one to explain in words, so I took some time to make it visually obvious in the remake by permanently highlighting it. From the feedback I've had, I think this has helped, but some more tips are needed in the early levels to help ease people into the game, so I'll be making some more tweaks for the first update."