Achievement Unlocked 2: A Game You Can't Lose--With Elephants
At a Glance
You are a small blue elephant, with a penchant for running, jumping, and earning achievements. Okay, maybe not in real life, but that's who you are in Achievement Unlocked 2, a Flash-based platformer (and a sequel to Achievement Unlocked) where almost every action counts for something.
Achievement Unlocked 2 keeps the graphics simple. There are no color gradients, and there are very few shapes other than rectangles. But don't let the simple looks fool you: This is a game with a great deal of detail and depth. It takes the concept of achievements to its extreme logical conclusion, where just about anything you do is an achievement. In fact, even things you don't do are achievements: Inactive for ten seconds? Hurray, you've just unlocked the Inactivity achievement! Managed to stay alive for 20 seconds? You've just earned the Survival achievement! Did you die? No problem, you respawn instantly, and get a "See Ya" achievement for your trouble. And if you die repeatedly, over and over again… you guessed it--more achievements! You can unlock every achievement just once, but there are 250 different ones.
The game is built as a series of levels (I won't tell you how many, because finding out is part of the game). Each level of Achievement Unlocked 2 takes up one screen, and levels are lined up one over the next, like a tower. Initially, your way to the second levels is blocked, but it is fairly easy to unlock.
Achievement Unlocked 2 is not a puzzle game. You play it by frantically running around, jumping, getting killed over and over again, and generally making a ruckus. There is a long list of achievement running down the side of the screen, with cryptic names such as "Subtle Movement" and "West Side." As you make your way around the screen and do random things, many of these achievements will quickly be unlocked. Whenever this happens, a brief explanation appears next to the achievement, so you know how you unlocked it ("Subtle Movement" is when you move a tiny amount across the screen).
There are no penalties and no moving enemies in Achievement Unlocked 2 (only spikes that kill you if you touch them). There are coins all over the screen, which you may want to collect. You also gain coins by unlocking achievements. With these coins you can go to the Marketplace and buy new levels. The store itself is part of the game, and each level gets its own tongue-in-cheek movie poster with slogans like "They should have bundled this content with the game to begin with."
Achievement Unlocked 2 can be played in three modes. My favorite is Free Play, which lets you explore the game without any limitations. Achievements are very easy to unlock at first, but eventually get tricky to find, requiring a lot of exploration (or reading the walkthrough--nobody has to know you did it). Next comes Time Trial mode, where you get four minutes to unlock as many achievements as you can. This is nice for a quick coffee break, and to keep yourself from playing too long. Finally, there is a Multiplayer mode which lets you play with up to four friends at the same time--each gets their own little elephant.
Achievement Unlocked 2 celebrates the triumph of spirit over pixels, and the general concept of… achieving things. And being an elephant. Congratulations: You've just unlocked the Educated Gamer achievement by reading this review. Now go play it!
Note: The Download button takes you to the vendor's site, where you can play this game in a Flash-enabled Web browser.