Archvale: In-Depth Review & Strategy Guide (Nintendo Switch)
After finishing the final dungeon and sinking around twenty hours into the campaign, here’s my in-depth review and strategy guide for the brilliant bullet-hell hybrid, Archvale. If you’d like to know more about Archvale’s development process and my initial thoughts, feel free to check out my first impressions article here.
Combat & Game Feel
For me, Archvale’s biggest overall strength is the combat. It’s just really fun from moment to moment, with a heavy use of twitchy mechanics like dashing, hiding behind cover, dodging projectiles and of course using the large and very creative selection of weapons on offer. The gameplay always feels super responsive, the weapons have a satisfying and addictive punch, and the movement of both the main character and the enemies has been refined to near perfection.
There’s a huge variety of enemies too, each with their own approach to combat and their own types of projectiles. While some projectiles get absorbed by cover and allow for a classic duck ’n’ cover play-style, later in the game it’s common to find enemies whose projectiles completely ignore cover, requiring you to adapt to a more evasive play style and really master the dodge mechanic. The diverse types of enemies found in the overworld include everything from hordes of slimes to stomping yetis and even walking trees that engulf you with their sprawling root systems.
With so much going on, staying alive in the maelstrom of projectiles requires an almost meditative level of focus. I’ve often found with bullet-hells that the secret to success lies in keeping your eyes centred on your character as much as possible, while trying to watch your enemies only in your peripheral vision. This approach goes against what we practice with almost all other combat-focused games, where your main focus is always on your enemies position.
But in a bullet-hell, evading enemy projectiles is a core part of the gameplay, and so remaining focused on your own character while you fire in the general…