Flyhunter Origins is the tale of Zak, a bumbling alien janitor, and his quest to recover lost cargo and crew from Earth. His ship set out to capture valuable flies from Earth for his company and their investors, and while beginning their return trip Zak may have, sort of, accidentally… jettisoned everyone and everything from the ship. Starting out alone, he is sent to recover the lost cargo, and manages to reunite with the captain of the ship, Ara, while being assisted and ridiculed by the sarcastic commentary of the ships AI.
The game plays primarily as a side-scrolling platformer as your miniature alien traverses the planet Earth, having to avoid dangers such as giant frogs, ravenous spiders, mosquitoes and other aggressive insects, as well as threats from the space police. Flyhunting is kind of illegal where these aliens are from, it seems. Along the way to recover your lost cargo, you can also collect insect eggs which are valuable on the black market, and is the games method of currency spent to upgrade your gear, such as your high tech flyswatter and stun blaster. You also have a jetpack which is used mostly in short bursts for double jumping and other times in a flight mode for chasing down the escaped flies you are hunting.
Death comes quickly in the game, as you are snatched up by huge insects, drown in water, blasted by robots or burned alive, but thankfully there are generous cloning stations that are used as checkpoints throughout the game’s levels. I found the game to be tough but fair; other than when I was trying to find secrets, there were thankfully few leaps of faith that sometimes plague platformers.
The graphics are very well done. Steel Wool’s animation team is led by Pixar professionals and the quality shows. The story that plays out through the cut scenes is packed with humor and well worth watching. Background environments are very detailed and immersive from varieties of plant life and human junk creating the landscape
on the planet to the high tech environment of an alien spacecraft.
Voiceovers provided by the ships AI are delivered well, with the alien characters speaking in a subtitled gibberish. Why the AI spoke English I’m not quite sure, but you roll with it. Since the AI is the tutorial and otherwise the source of information for the game it works out. In-game audio and music is well crafted. Other than some instances where I was stuck on a particularly hard stage for a while, I enjoyed the various tracks without it becoming overplayed.
The game is responsive to both touchscreen and my bluetooth gamepad. There is a bit of a learning curve on the range of motion using the touchscreen, as being a platformer, you need to be very precise in your speed when approaching a ledge or the edge of the water. For instance, during a water stage you can gently step onto the water’s surface and walk across it as long as you don’t break the tension. If you drop off a leaf too quickly, you break it and drown. Sometimes moving towards the edge of the leaf to cause it to lower gently would result in running towards the edge and coming down too hard, but overall I was satisfied with the controls for jumping and maneuvering.
The game is spread over 21 levels, and for $0.99 is well worth the cost. While I didn’t see anything groundbreaking to the genre, the quality of the game is top-notch. A must-buy for anyone who loves platformers, animated comedies, and mobile gaming.
Great animation and funny story shine here with a solid platforming experience.