We never thought of the thief of Sherwood Forest as the Schwarzenegger type, but in Robin Hood – Archer of the Woods, he goes outright commando on an entire army. The Merry Men are nowhere to be found, so it’s up to you and you alone to pelt the invaders with as many arrows as you can as they attempt to burn down your village.
This being a high score game, the deck is stacked against you, but you’ll go down flinging. As in most castle defense games, Robin Hood is posted on the far left side of the screen, and the baddies enter in waves from the right. To shoot an arrow, just put your finger anywhere on the screen, slide it to the left to determine its distance and trajectory, and let go. The game’s physics are solid, so the arrow will generally fly where you’re aiming once you get the hang of it.
What, no camera-on-the-arrow view?
At first it’s just a bunch of unarmored doofuses coming at you, and they can each be taken down with a single arrow. Next up are guys decked out in plate mail, who require either two hits or a well-aimed headshot to topple. Soon you’ll encounter enemies on wooden Segways, flying cow-dragons, and even a Trojen Horse-like contraption. The bad guys are where you’ll find the creativity and charm in this game.
Not only do the enemies grow stronger and faster as you progress, but more houses pop up that Robin Hood needs to defend. Each house has a health meter, and it topples when it reaches zero. When all the houses are turned to dust, the game is over, and you can check out your score on the Crystal leaderboards. Game Center is also incorporated.
With such a powerful and endless force coming at you, it’s a good thing you can grab the powerups that randomly appear. To get them, just hit them with an arrow. You’ll find health packs that bring your houses back up to full strength, explosives that give your arrows more bang for their buck, and multiple-arrow powerups that let you shoot several bolts at once.
It’s a trap!
Really, we only have a couple of issues with this game. One is that it takes a while for the challenge to build up, so experienced players might find themselves bored wading through the early waves of enemies. The other issue is with regards to the controls on the iPhone version of the game. To put a good deal of power into your shots, you’ll have to drag your finger nearly across the entire screen, but if you tap too far to the right, you’ll pan the camera instead of starting your shot. When things get hectic, this can mess up your rhythm to disastrous results. We didn’t have that problem on the iPad because of its bigger screen.
Robin Hood – Archer of the Woods isn’t the most ambitious game, but what it attempts it pulls off very well. The price is right, and it’s a universal app, which is great for iPad owners. If you like arrow-shooting or castle defense games, this one is packed with polish and charm.