It's a no-brainer that fans of 1940s-vintage cartoon character Archie Andrews will have to download this app by Gogii Games, but whether they can tolerate slow-growing city games is another issue altogether.
Like any other city-building game, Archie: Betty Or Veronica? starts out with Archie and the gang returning to Riverdale to find their town completely trashed. Of course, this is where you come in _ you can rebuild and redecorate the very neighbourhood you grew up reading about any way you like. The concept is nothing new, but a few new gimmicks mean that a little more strategic planning is required of the player than the usual passive pressing of buttons.
To complete some tasks more than one character is needed, so you must manage your cast efficiently. Relationship-building will also determine whether Archie ends up with Betty Cooper or Veronica Lodge _ his fate lies at tips of your fingers!
The graphics aren't exactly top-notch, though. It's a weird limbo between 2D and 3D. And because the graphics are both minimal and miniscule in size, turning off the sound effects means things couldn't possibly get any duller. The generic background music doesn't make you feel like you're playing an Archie game; the soundtrack could just as well be for any of the unoriginal "freemium" games out there flooding the networks.
However, despite these letdowns, the new comics that pop up for you to read every once in a while are lots of fun, and anyway, it's always intriguing to see your favourite 2D childhood heroes moving around as if they were alive. As you unlock higher levels and more characters, comics _ even some vintage editions _ are added to the store in town. They can be read for free and this is probably the real highlight of the game.
With such a strong brand and identity, much more could have been achieved, so let's hope the Archie movie, which Warner Brothers supposedly has in the works, will turn out to be a much better and more distinctive celebration of this iconic American teenager.
Archie: Betty Or Veronica? is available free for iPhone and iPad users from the iOS app store.