Oh boy, this is one of those “how do I explain this concept?”-kind of games, but for the love of TL;DR’s I will try: 2.5D platforming, with a great story and very enjoyable gameplay and tons of bugs: the living kind, not the Assassin’s Creed Unity kind. (Hey, that wasn’t too bad!) On the surface, Flyhunter Origins is a well-crafted platformer…well, that’s all it is on the inside, too, but that’s not bad (even if the English-guy inside of me is let down): Flyhunter Origins doesn’t try to convey itself as the answer to everything, but instead as a family-friendly platforming game complete with a great cast of characters and an intriguing story.
As with any good platforming game, there is great level design. The levels really flow: if you don’t go looking for all the secrets and eggs (which function as the game’s currency), then you have a very flowy, easy-to-follow level that seems to present a multitude of directions you could take. Initially, I went searching for all the secrets and such, but by the end I had gone back to being a lazy bum and just jumping through the levels. To be honest, I was reminded of games like Mirror’s Edge: that’s how fluid these levels are. If you time your jumps and swat attacks or zap attacks right, you could do most every level without stopping. Of course, I have a tendency to not learn from my mistakes for a while before it sinks in, so I was never able to achieve it. It does seem doable, though, for all you speedrunners out there. Combat is composed of either your melee weapon–a flyswatter–or your ranged weapon–a zapper, which stuns the baddies. And there are many baddies: spiders, ants, explodey bugs, non-explodey bugs, rolly-pollies, etc. Plenty of danger for the ambitious flyhunter! After you play some platofmring, you get to fly after the boss and beat the crud out of him with your swatter in a 3D aerial chase–sounds fun, right? It is!
For, I think, the first time in any review I’ve written, I want to bring up the story and characters: they’re great! I mean, they’re not going to win any awards for pure originality–the main character, Zak, is the classic bumbling-idiot hero, after all–but they certainly earn some points for being outstandingly fun. Cliches exist for a reason, and this is a great example of an old trope with new tricks. Zak is a classic, lovable klutz of a janitor with a friend-who-is-a-female (just how far that relationship extends is up for you to find out…) who is much smarter and capable than him. This is shown in the cutscene in which Zak, in a fit of martial arts with a broom, accidentally empties the cargo hold of all the trapped flies and of his girly friend. As the last one on the ship, he must rescue her and recapture all the flies. Note: flyhunting is illegal in this universe…this becomes relevant.
The cutscenes here deserve some attention: they’re hilarious. To be fair, the entire game is clearly a project of passion and thought, and humor comes from every orifice imaginable.
I mean, even the graphics of this game stand out. They’re rich, detailed, and create a very enjoyable atmosphere. The animations are full of character (pun intended) and further contribute to the enveloping feeling of Flyhunter Origin‘s playful universe. Sound design is nice, with one flaw (below). The game ran very smoothly on my rig without a hitch.
I guess I should complain some now. Er…Well, when you pause the game, music no longer plays. Also, a real one here, the sound of your character walking shifts to the side opposite your direction of motion, a design choice which definitely confused me. Additionally, the walking sounds were too loud and sounded somewhat gross and annoying. Just revise those a bit, guys? And, last thing here, the hitboxes seem a tad off. Spiders can catch me easier than I can hit them, and in random situations we lose to each other in highly unexpected ways.
All in all, this is a great game, albeit targeted towards the younger crowd. No matter; I’ll be sure to show this to all my friends, regardless of the fact that they’re all legal adults. It’s that good.
Flyhunter Origins is developed by Steel Wool Games and is available on Steam here.