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TUAW's Daily App: Archetype


Well now, this one's interesting. Archetype is a brand new title on the App Store that's aiming to put what seems like a big budget experience on Apple's small screen. The game is made by MunkyFun (a company led by ex-LucasArts developer Nick Pavis) and published by Villian, "an independent producer and publisher of portable game titles" that seems to have a history in mobile gaming, but not much of a website. Basically, Archetype is purporting to be Eliminate without Ngmoco -- a full-featured multiplayer FPS without any of the microtransactions or other nonsense.

And it lives up to the hype. The controls will take some getting used to, even if you're a WASD veteran. In just 30 seconds on Wi-Fi, I was loaded up and playing a 5v5 deathmatch FPS game. Even on an Edge connection, I was able to play smoothly, and even pull off a kill -- I don't know what kind of code witchery makes that possible, but it works.

The graphics don't really compare to modern console shooters, but I think the multiplayer gameplay easily beats Metroid: Prime Hunters and the current crop of iPhone shooters. Of course, the game still has to deal with the issues of the genre -- if you're not a twitch gamer, you'll likely get murdered very quickly, and while there are plenty of high-ping people to play with now, it's not clear what will happen if the servers get overloaded or, conversely, if the crowd thins out. You're still playing a FPS on an iPhone, and I'd much rather play a shooter on my PC or a console than this.

But given the limitations of the genre and the device, Archetype is certainly an impressive title. You're still kind of going in blind at US$2.99 -- Archetype doesn't have a free version to try yet. But if you can expect to put three bucks of your time into playing this surprisingly solid multiplayer FPS, by all means, jump on in.