Fly’n Review

Fly’n is a pretty game with great music. That’s about all the good that can be said about it, however, because it fails at what it strives to do across the board. Not only is playing the game incredibly dull and repetitive at times, but its controls are disgracefully bad, so embarrassingly lacking that actually maneuvering your character through any of the tight areas you’re forced to maneuver through comes down to luck more often than skill.

That’s really the game in a nutshell

This review will probably be a bit on the short side because of how little can be said of the game; platformer games are rarely complex enough to warrant endless paragraphs that pick apart the minutiae of the mechanics. Really, games that revolve around platforming have a short checklist of things that are critical to get right: originality to help them stand out from the pack, creativity in level design that never devolves into boring repetition, and responsive controls that allow the player to develop a “feel” for how characters handle.

It has one of those things

It’s not possible to say that Fly’n lacks originality or creativity, because it’s obvious just looking at pictures and videos of the game that there’s abounding creativity at play. The graphics are incredibly pretty and detailed, the music is great throughout, the characters are all interesting-looking, and the idea of playing as several different characters with varying skills is a nice touch. The problem is the execution, which is so incredibly lacking that it’s embarrassing.

The “character pop” animation makes this look fairer than it is.

There’s no excuse for poor hit detection anymore

Hit detection used to sometimes be a problem in platformers, but as the industry and technology moved on, hit detection all but stopped being an issue. Despite very few games actually having this problem anymore, it’s one that Fly’n frequently suffers from. In the video above, you’ll see me hit the red stuff and “pop.” However, I went through the video and took a screengrab of the frame immediately before that popping animation began:

Fly'n

Yeaaaaaaaaaaaah, no.

Granted, I was moving to the right before I popped, but the frames leading up to that one made it clear that my momentum was nowhere near great enough to reach the red stuff in a single frame. It’s simply not possible.

The controls are also a serious issue

As if poor hit detection isn’t bad enough, the actual controls are incredibly clunky and inconsistent. Running along the ground sends you flying off at breakneck speed, while jumping inexplicably slows your momentum down to a more realistic speed. It all feels poorly designed and inconsistent. In fact, sometimes a mere tap of the keyboard/gamepad can fling you off of a ledge:

If you’re wondering why I hurl myself into the red stuff at :23, I had lightly tapped left to try to gently fall off the ledge.

These are huge problems

If the game were a leisurely stroll through pretty worlds, poor hit detection would probably be a bearable flaw. I’ve certainly played through older games that have sub-par hit detection and even enjoyed them, after all. Even the awkward controls would likely be tolerable in such a scenario. Problem is, many stages (somewhere between a third and a half of them) have this constantly-rising red tide of stuff that instantly kills you, turning stages into races to the finish. Suddenly losing that race because of poor hit detection or a jump that went bad because of clumsy controls is more frustrating than you can imagine.

That’s not even the worst part

Timed stages are bad enough, but later on you have to use a character who can turn into a ball and bounce. This is by far the most awkwardly-controlled character that I’ve ever had the misfortune of playing as; controlling it not only feels like trying to control the direction of a stampede, but it also destroys certain blocks when bouncing. Naturally, the timed stages then introduce these blocks as the only stepping (or to be more accurate, bouncing) stone to higher ground. What this means is that if you accidentally run into the block on the side, it’ll be destroyed, condemning you to sit around and wait for the red stuff to kill you:

And then it taunts you

Then, when you’re at the brink of madness, irritated beyond belief at how bad the game’s controls are and how poor your judgment is as a consumer, the game has the audacity to pop up a screen that calls your efforts “rubbish” and patronizingly offers to turn off the constantly-rising tide of death. Never mind that this would effectively strand you if you accidentally destroy that block again—the game actually taunts you when its piss-poor mechanics screw you over enough times.

It can be boring at times

A large part of the gameplay in the non-timed stages revolves around looking around for glowing orb things. These can be “used” by singing (when you’re the blue creature) in order to open up the way forward. At first, this is a fairly pleasant experience. Later on, however, this transforms into a mind-numbing tedium; orbs are often hidden in hard-to-see areas, meaning that the charm is quickly strangled and replaced with mindless repetition as you become stuck and have to go backward to hunt for ones you missed.

Graphics, music, and a message to the devs

The graphics are beautiful, really, and the music is equally memorable and interesting. If you can pick up the game for less than a dollar, you should do so for the joy of those two things alone. Pay no more, however, because this kind of failure doesn’t deserve any more money than that.

If there are any of the game’s developers reading this, pay close attention: give the graphics and music people a raise, and fire literally everyone else for turning your game into a public embarrassment.

Here’s what you should do:

Fly'n

Fly'n Screenshots

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