Armadillo Gold Rush (iOS) Review

By Lex Firth 06.05.2015 1

Review for Armadillo Gold Rush on iOS

Most would be forgiven for not having heard of Armadillo Gold Rush. While absent in the rest of the world, the game has seen quiet success on Latin American mobile phones since its release in 2006 and now developer AppAbove is hoping to achieve similar results with a wider launch on newer devices. Does the simplistic puzzle gameplay transition easily to Apple devices? Cubed3 takes the armadillo for a spin.

Armadillo Gold Rush's premise couldn't be simpler: the player swipes the screen to roll an armadillo around the playing field, collecting coins while interacting with obstacles and avoiding deadly creatures like snakes and scorpions - but when the armadillo gets going, it doesn't stop until it hits a wall, meaning even navigating from one side of the map to the other can turn out to be a several-step process. Basic it may be, but it's how AppAbove uses this gameplay to create a challenging, intelligently designed, and constantly changing game that's interesting.

There are 76 levels in all, and while these start off almost laughably easy, the difficulty soon ramps up, leading to some genuinely taxing stages that will undoubtedly take a long time to fathom - or even have some players reaching for the nearest walkthrough. The introduction of timed switches, boxes to push, and one-way doors, are all well-paced and provide the opportunity for more and more complicated puzzles.

76 puzzles may sound fairly limited in an era when a single 79p purchase can potentially net hundreds of puzzles with the promise of free updates, which Armadillo Gold Rush lacks. Luckily, there is replay value to be found in the form of nine stars to be collected in each level: three for finishing in a specific amount of time, three for using a limited number of moves, and three for obtaining a high score. However, it should be noted that these star rankings can be incredibly difficult to obtain at times and, sometimes, increasing the score sufficiently can mean having to wait around for randomly spawning pieces of point-boosting fruit to appear. It's tedious and completionists may find it more frustrating than fun.

Screenshot for Armadillo Gold Rush on iOS

There is, of course, a reason that there are only 76 puzzles: this game is a carbon copy of its feature phone precursor. Each one is the same, all of the music is unchanged, and even the title screen is just a higher-quality version of the original.

Normally this wouldn't necessarily be a problem, since games are unlikely to lose their lustre over the course of just nine years, yet Armadillo Gold Rush is an incredibly simple feature phone title and, as a result, it's overshadowed somewhat by its fellow AppStore hits, failing to take advantage of the more advanced hardware it's been given.

Its feature phone roots are no more apparent than within the game's presentation. The soundtrack is almost nonexistent, with the only tune in the entire game being a banjo riff that plays on the title screen and menus. Regular gameplay is silent, aside from the repetitive rolling sound of the armadillo and the various bangs and clanks of the obstacles. That's not to say a full soundtrack would necessarily have improved the overall experience - the bland, irritating title screen music suggests that sound design was perhaps not at the top of AppAbove's list. The graphics are also not particularly well-polished and lack the high-quality animation and inspired designs that might be found in iOS games such as Angry Birds.

Overall, Armadillo Gold Rush is an interesting export that relies a little too heavily on its aged design. Those looking for something a little more old-school will find plenty to love, but don't arrive expecting something entirely fresh.

Screenshot for Armadillo Gold Rush on iOS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Armadillo Gold Rush may be new to the vast majority of its audience, but its 2006 feature phone roots certainly show. Despite the fact that AppAbove's release may well be dated in design, anyone who loves a good puzzle effort and can look past the aged veneer will be in for one shell of a good time. What was a quiet success on Latin American mobile phones is now set to make many a new friend in the wider world.


AppAbove Games


AppAbove Games





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


I tried this out the other day and it's definitely fun - maybe a bit frustrating, but the sort that keeps you coming back for more. It'd be intriguing to see how the concept could be revamped and expanded for other formats, or even a sequel on mobiles. Surely over the years the team has come up with fresh ideas...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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