A few weeks back, we covered the announcement of Archie: Betty or Veronica, a new mobile game for iOS in which everyone's favorite crosshatch-haired teen was tasked with rebuilding his hometown, piece by piece and tap by tap. Last week, the game was finally released, and now, I've had some time to play around with it.

The verdict? It's definitely one of those mobile games where you send people off to do tasks for hours on end and then come back later when it's done unless you want to pay to speed things up... but it's also one that does a pretty great job of capturing what's great about Archie Comics.


The premise of the game -- told in comic book form by actual Archie creative teams, as are most of the game's cutscenes -- is that while the Archies were off playing a gig, the corrupt Mayor of Riverdale ransacked the town and made off with the entire treasury. Personally, I would question the wisdom of keeping the wealth of an entire town -- particularly one with at least one bona-fide millionaire Captain of Industry like Hiram Lodge -- in some kind of form that could be easily stuffed into two briefcases and hauled off by one person, but that's Riverdale for you. Now, the town is in dire straits, and it's up to Archie and the gang to fix it up.




The mechanic that's hinted at in the title of the game comes into play every time you level up, when you have to make a choice between helping Betty or helping Veronica with the tasks they want you to do. Usually, Betty wants you to help other people while Veronica is a bit more self-interested. You end up doing all the tasks, of course, but deciding what to do first (and which characters to pair up for long, lonely hours fixing broken windows down at Pop Tate's) determines how the relationships progress, and what benefits you get down the line.

Like a lot of games like this, there's a way to speed up the process of "send Archie to the post office for five hours," and this time, it's kisses. You get around 15 of them to start and playing consistently for a few days gives you the chance to spin a slot machine mini-game for more, but naturally, the easiest way to get a bunch of them is to spend real money on them. It's a little frustrating if you're trying to keep from spending a ton of money on extras like new characters..




...but it's hard to really grouse about it when that's the model that makes these games profitable.

Regardless, the real selling point here is the tone.Betty or Veronica does one thing that I wish more comic book-inspired games would do, and includes a ton of comics for you to read. Accessing the Comic Book Store gives you the chance to read all the "cutscene" strips, as well as the first appearances of the major characters like Archie, Betty, Veronica and Moose right off the bat, and progressing through the game unlocks other full comics as you go.

Plus, there's a mission in here that cracked me up:




It's definitely a time waster, but if you're as much of an Archie obsessive as I am, it's definitely worth checking out.

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