Aztec Antics review: Grab some controllers, unleash local multiplayer!

If you picked up the recently released MOGA Ace Power Controller for iPhone, you probably want games to play with it. Well, Aztec Antics from UK indie developer Bouncing Ball Limited is a classic arcade-style platformer that packs impressive controller support on both iPhone and iPad. With both a selection of single-player levels with which to chase high scores and an assortment of competitive multiplayer levels, this one should appeal to fans of retro games and/or local multiplayer.

We’re looking for treasure

Aztec Antics for iPad

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 single-screen on iPad, but they scroll vertically a bit on iPhone. The style 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.

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.

Online leaderboards are an important component in any score-based game. Aztec Antics does not drop the bouncing ball there – it includes Game Center leaderboards and Achievements.

Controller antics

Aztec Antics iPhone Joypad

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.

That’s the basic control scheme, but Aztec Antics offers so many more control options.:

It’s great that players who prefer the classic gaming experience that physical controllers and buttons bring have so many ways to enjoy this one.

Multiplayer mayhem

Aztec Antics for iPad

Just as the original Mario Bros. truly comes to life in multiplayer, so does Aztec Antics. You’ll need a couple of physical controllers or devices running Joypad to take advantage of it, though. The game supports up to 6 simultaneous players on iOS using any combination of supported controllers.

In multiplayer mode, players race to reach the target score before everyone else. Jumping on another player’s head will stun him or her, annoying your opponent and hopefully bringing you closer to that precious gold. Aztec Antics includes 10 Multiplayer-specific maps on top of the five single-player levels.

Upcoming expedition

Aztec Antics II preview

Bouncing Ball is also hard at work on a sequel: Aztec Antics II that will come to iOS and even consoles like the Wii U. The art style has changed, but still retains a classic vibe. We’ll have more Aztec Antics II details in the future.

Enter the jungle

Aztec Antics for iPad

Aztec Antics is a unique little platformer. Colorful and cute pixel art, great chiptunes music (which reminds me of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”), and great control and multiplayer features all make this one worth a look.

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is gaming editor for Windows Phone Central, though from time-to-time he's been known to pick up any platform with great games on it.

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There are 4 comments. Add yours.

Becjr says:

This is cool. I can't wait to try it out whit mah frens.

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zdn1042 says:

This seems like a really nifty idea. Using an iPad for the display then iPhones as controllers. I also like the use of the old school retro graphics.

asuperstarr says:

Interesting game. Great review as well!

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J Loopin says:

Prefer the new style they are doing. Allot more atmospheric than the mario style clone.
Great idea though using a device everyone will have. No buying £40 controllers!
Was looking forward to giving this a go with the family but just broke the ipad >_<
Any recommendations of what to look for in a repairer??? Mate mentioned he had used www.123ipadspecialist.co.uk but never heard of before.

Cant wait to try out the game with the family :)