Arcadia: Colony review

by on May 16, 2024
Reviewed On
Release Date

May 16, 2024.


In an already saturated market, it takes something a little special or out of the ordinary to stand out as a Metroidvania-style platformer. With its whimsical, anime stylings and unique character-switching mechanics, Arcadia: Colony wants to make a significant enough impact to be worth picking up as it lands on the Nintendo Switch, but the results are mixed.

The crux of the explorative gameplay is established early on. There are three protagonists, anthropomorphic animals tasked by a scientist to help save your Citadel from some evil monsters. You begin as a super-cute mole called Tazpo, who as well as the standard running and jumping, is able to lift and move any items within the environment that can be moved. This comes into play in puzzles where crates need to be placed on top of switches to open doors, or manoeuvring jump-boosting trampolines into position to leap up into out of reach areas. Being a mole, Tazpo is also able to burrow through certain areas, as one would expect from the creature synonymous with ruining many a lawn with their incessant tunnel-digging.

Arcadia: Colony

Quickly the second of the trio for Arcadia: Colony is introduced: white bunny rabbit Airi who when called into play in real-time with a simple button press can launch into a double jump to reach those out of reach platforms and traverse large chasms. Rounding out Dr Noah’s team is porcupine Enji, who is able to attach herself to specified bright green areas of the playfield, or make like Samus Aran and roll into a ball to fit through tunnels, as well as taking the role of tech expert and employing gadgets such as projectiles that can be used to take out environmental obstacles with a well-placed shot. Interestingly, talking to the many NPCs will also elicit different responses depending on which of the heroes you have chosen, which helps drive the story and characterisation along nicely.

Switching between three characters is something that reminded me a tad of old school classic The Lost Vikings, although in execution Arcadia: Colony is a little more obtuse and initially it can be quite tricky to work out exactly what needs to be done in order to progress or beat some of the platforming puzzles. The actual inertia of the jumping feels a bit floaty and off, and although if you take a fall and die you are instantly respawned back to a recent checkpoint similarly to how things work in Super Meat Boy. One early section where Airi has to jump over some ominous electrified feathers on a slowly descending diagonal platform took me far longer than it should have done.

Arcadia: Colony

Visually the Citadel looks crisp without ever looking spectacular. There is a distinct anime influence, with repeating kanji and cherry blossom motifs and nods to Japanese culture. Sometimes it can be hard to differentiate between hazards and decorative details – a fine example being the fact that actually-harmless overhanging spikes look exactly the same as the death-dealing ones which lurk at the bottom of pitfalls, making me question whether or not I could touch them or not.

There is a handy map which usefully shows with colour coding the areas that relate to the specific abilities of the three protagonists, such as showing places where mole-man can dig, or the green sections that will act as glue for the porcupine spines. The map is huge, however it is also fairly barren; do not come into this one expecting reams of enemies or dynamic combat, as the bread and butter of the game is in the puzzle solving, and combining the unique abilities of the three animals to explore and unveil hidden secrets.

Arcadia: Colony

There are some rather unique bosses, however. When they arrive, these behemoths are actually extremely menacing and ominous, given that they take the form of creepy mechanical birds with lifeless glowing eyes. Each boss is a puzzle in itself and you will need to use your brain, as well as all three sets of abilities at your disposal to take them down. The boss encounters were the most fun aspect of the game.

Arcadia: Colony does not do anything particularly new or reinvigorate the genre in any way, but what it does present is a mostly extremely competent platformer with a significant degree of challenge and a seamless character switching mechanic which works very well. It is let down slightly by the sometimes odd-feeling, floaty physics, but it doesn’t take long to get to grips with how the jumps need to be executed, and the rewind on death feature takes the sting out of things somewhat. If you are a diehard fan of this kind of game then it is well worth a look, and is ideal fodder for the Switch if you want a bit of fun platforming on the move: just don’t expect a Metroid or a Cave Story level experience.


Good 3-character gimmick
Looks nice, cracking soundtrack


Physics feel a bit off
Can be a tad dull in places

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

If you're a diehard fan of this kind of game then Arcadia: Colony is worth a look, just don’t expect a Metroid or Cave Story level experience.