Do you remember the Jim Carrey movie ‘The Truman Show’ about a guy whose whole life is actually a TV show being watched by millions? Well, American Arcadia takes that idea and builds upon it massively, with a whole CITY and all of its inhabitants being watched by those around the globe. Some of those citizens just so happen to have a lot of admiration from the show’s viewers too, but what happens to those who have no viewers at all? You’ll have to play American Arcadia to find out.
Check out some screenshots down below:
American Arcadia puts players in the role of Trevor, an inhabitant of the city that seems to have everything going for him with his little life of luxury. The only problem is that he has zero interest from the audience watching the titular show, so as a means to save money, the show bosses decide to axe him… literally. Yep, you don’t get written off, but instead find yourself killed by the head honchos. Luckily for Trevor, a disgruntled employee of the show known as Angela manages to warn him of the impending danger and looks to help guide him out of the confines of the much-viewed city to safety.
I absolutely loved the narrative of the game. The blend of the over-the-top reality show and a dystopian future where a company could get away with making something like it is tantalising stuff, whilst each revelation that is revealed as you uncover the depths of the city will keep players enthralled in Trevor’s journey. You’ll even learn more about the trials-and-tribulations that Angela faces along the way, with players getting to see everything unfold from each perspective set in and outside of the city. It’s all very clever, whilst some excellent writing and voice work ensures players will be wholly invested until the very end.
When it comes to the gameplay, American Arcadia blends two styes of play together to ensure the experience never runs out of ideas. When playing as Trevor, players will venture through 2.5D platforming levels where they’ll run, jump, and climb around, all whilst scurrying through the inner depths of the city and avoiding the staff out to get you. There are plenty of dramatic set pieces to survive through and even a few puzzles to solve, with plenty going on to keep the action interesting.
“It’s just really tightly designed, and whilst I don’t want to give anything away in this review, its constant surprises and demand for careful co-ordination between Trevor and Angela make for plenty of brilliant moments in-game.”
When playing as Angela, things change to a first-person perspective, with players exploring their surroundings and using the objects around them to find ways to make Trevor’s escape run smoothly. Whilst computers are her forte (which involves hacking and so forth), it’s surprising just how much she’s capable of as she adapts to each situation that she finds herself in. It adds an even stronger emphasis on puzzle-solving, whilst there’s even room for a bit of espionage as you ensure you aren’t caught along the way. Angela still works for American Arcadia, after all, so she’ll have to make sure her employers don’t catch on to what’s going on…
It might not sound like much, but there are so many clever ideas showcased across the platforming and puzzling that it’s hard not to find yourself fully engrossed in the adventure. Whilst I’ll admit that I found Angela’s gameplay sections more varied, creative, and tense, the platforming action with Trevor was still entertaining and brought with it plenty of challenges where you really had to be on the ball. And when you have to have both characters work together cohesively to survive? It can be really thrilling.
Creative scenarios are continually introduced right until the very end to ensure players are always doing something different, and whilst there are a couple of puzzles that could frustrate and the pace of the platforming could slow down a little too much in some areas, it was a captivating experience. It’s just really tightly designed, and whilst I don’t want to give anything away in this review, its constant surprises and demand for careful co-ordination between Trevor and Angela make for plenty of brilliant moments in-game.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Visually, American Arcadia looks great… for the most part. When playing as Trevor and admiring the colourful 70s-inspired décor of the city, you’ll almost wish you were right there with him. It manages to feel both unique and familiar at the same time, whilst the simple yet stylish visual style worked wonderfully from the 2.5D perspective. However, Angela’s world is a lot gloomier on the outside of American Arcadia, whilst you can see some of the shortcomings of the visual stylings and character models when looking up close from a first-person perspective. Don’t get me wrong, nothing ever looks bad at all in the game, but Trevor’s sections were definitely more visually appealing. It might be an unfair criticism because the disparity between both actually plays into the theming of the game, but aesthetically speaking, I definitely preferred the 2.5D take on the world.
American Arcadia Review
I loved American Arcadia, with the zany narrative and clever blend of 2.5D platforming and first-person puzzling making for a unique and memorable experience. There are plenty of twists in the comical narrative to keep players wholly invested in Trevor and Angela’s plight, whilst you’re constantly put into creative scenarios that’ll test both your platforming and puzzling skills. You’ve got to be on the ball if you want to succeed in your journey, and whilst there were a few puzzles that fell short of the mark, I found it hard to put the controller down when playing.
American Arcadia is just really, REALLY good and definitely stands out as one of the best platforming-puzzlers that I’ve played this year.
Developer: Out of the Blue Games
Publisher: Raw Fury
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed)