Aztec Antics for Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone has been slow to pick up some of mobile gaming’s heavy hitters – though the promise of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas coming next week is certainly a big step in the right direction. Still, many of the most unique and interesting mobile games come from smaller developers instead of the big guys. Windows Phone is making great progress with indie game makers, as evidenced by the developers we interviewed at Casual Connect who are preparing to dip their toes into Microsoft’s mobile waters.

Yesterday we reviewed BigBot Audio Drop, and today we bring news of another just-released indie game for Windows Phone 8: Aztec Antics from Bouncing Ball Limited. Not only does Aztec Antics sport some terrific retro-style pixel art, it also features MOGA controller support! That makes six MOGA-enhanced games on Windows Phone 8 and counting.

Head past the break for our Aztec Antics hands-on video and the developer’s video guide for setting up a MOGA controller with Windows Phone 8!

We’re looking for treasure

Aztec Antics for Windows Phone 8

Aztec Antics is a classic arcade-style game in which players control a treasure hunter as he grabs coins and avoids danger. The levels are basically single-screen, but they scroll vertically a bit on Windows Phone. It reminds me a lot of the original arcade Mario Bros, except you don’t attack enemies from below in this one.

Enemies constantly spawn from the top of the screen and descend toward the bottom. Our hero can jump on their heads to defeat them and score some points, but it’s tough because they move so quickly. At first you’ll only have to fight off enraged boars, but other types appear as the level goes on: the Aztec mummy, Nagual the jaguar, and Quetzalcoatl the god of death.

The main goal other than staying alive is to grab as much treasure as possible. Coins randomly appear throughout the level, but only one coin at a time. Thus you’ll grab a coin and then scramble to get the next one, and so on, until an enemy catches you or you fall into the pit at the bottom of the screen. Aztec Antics only gives players one life to work with.

Aztec Antics for Windows Phone 8

Other than hunting high scores, collecting coins plays another important purpose. At the start of the game, only one level is unlocked. To gain access to the remaining four levels, you’ll need lots of coins. Every fifty coins collected will open up a new level. You can’t track how many coins you have from the main menu, and the level select doesn’t have a visual indicator of which levels are locked or not. But when the game ends, it at least displays how many coins the player needs to get a new level.

The Windows Phone version currently lacks online leaderboards – an important component for any score-based game. Thankfully Bouncing Ball plans to add them very soon in an update.

Controlling the antics

To move around in Aztec Antics, players can swipe left or right (basically an invisible virtual d-pad) on the left side of the screen. Tapping the right side of the screen jumps.

Gamers who don’t like virtual controls have another option as well: MOGA controller support! What better way to recreate the classic gaming experience than with a physical control pad and buttons? Developer Gary Ritches has even made a video demonstrating how to set up your controller to work with the game.

On iOS, Aztec Antics supports 4-person competitive multiplayer by using allowing each individual to control a character with an extra iPhone or physical controller. Bouncing Ball really wants to bring the same support to Windows Phone.

Unfortunately, MOGA controllers don’t support the simultaneous use of two controllers with the same device. As such, the game’s substantial local multiplayer component can’t work with Windows Phone just yet. If MOGA ever updates their software to support multiple controllers, the game will be updated to take advantage of that.

Future expeditions

Aztec Antics II preview
Aztec Antics II features a new art style reminiscent of Another World/Out of this World

Luckily, Aztec Antics is coming to Windows 8 and RT within the next week or two. Windows 8 supports the use of multiple controllers, so crowding around a PC or Surface (along with a USB hub) and a few controllers will allow for a great multiplayer experience. We’ll be sure to let you know when the Windows 8 version arrives.

Bouncing Ball is also hard at work on a sequel: Aztec Antics II that will come to mobile Windows platforms and even consoles like the Wii U! Hopefully that includes the Xbox One as well.

Enter the jungle

Aztec Antics works with all Windows Phone 8 devices. It even runs at 60 frames per second on the Lumia 520. If you enjoy classic arcade games and/or retro graphics, give these antics a shot.

  • Aztec Antics – Windows Phone 8 – 9 MB – $1.29 – Store Link

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