I’m not the first person to admit that the professional quality of anything made with the game design software Game Maker can leave something to be desired. That’s not the tools fault, but usually the fault of the one creating the game. Not so with Ark 22, a professional-style RPG created in 2006 for the enjoyment of gamers all across the internet. Combining elements of top-down shooters with the trademark dungeon crawling puzzlers like Zelda, this game was an immediate hit when it was released, and it is sure to be a hit with any gamer as well. This is Ark 22.
While sleeping aboard a space station bound for a colony on a far away planet, refugees go about their business and tend to the ship, living happily in the hope that their new home will be all that they hope for it to be. Until a readout of the ships engine brings about a disaster, a failed engine, and a crash landing on a seemingly deserted planet of ice and snow. Upon arrival, the settlers manage to build a small fort to reside in, and to escape the frightening monsters that plague the planet. But outside the safety of the fort’s metal walls, something sinister is trying to keep the castaways on the planet. Strange howling is heard, and every weapon the refugees scavenged has mysteriously disappeared. It’s up to you to solve the mystery of the planet, and to find a way off of it.
Now, I’ll bore you with details of the not as boring gameplay. First off, your main weapon is a GUN. That’s right, a gun. In an RPG. Deal with it. In fact you will find that about 75% of the puzzles find different and imaginative ways of putting your gun to good use. You do also have a sword, but it’s not nearly as fun to use. Enemies aren’t all that tough to kill, but some have the always evil homing attacks, which do kill you very quickly. To advance in the game you must find a dungeon, solve the puzzles within said dungeon, and kick the behinds of the bosses that are in your way.
The graphics in this game are, in MY opinion (the opinion of a common rodeo clown) very lacking. To others I’m sure they’ll suit the game just fine, but I found them bland and uninteresting. But that’s just MY opinion. The cutscenes are, I will admit, presented in a very neat style. Each cutscene in presented in a penciled black-and-white storyboard of pictures, which all look quite well made, and present the story in a very cool mysterious fashion. This game’s music is almost non-existant, but that’s a good thing because you are exploring a wasteland environment, and music would probably only take away from the experience.
So to conclude, I will completely recommend this game, and I hope you have as much fun as I did beating the bosses and solving the puzzles. For once someone has presented a professional experience with Game Maker, and this game is very worthy to be considered, in my eyes, one of the greatest freeware RPGs of all time. I will give the game a total of 5 carrots. Don’t hesitate to try this game out, because it really is an amazing experience.
Review by: Secret Fawful