Flat heroes doesn’t really have a story, it’s all up for interpretation, in my opinion. The developers posted on Twitter about people giving their Flat Heroes their very own backstory. I came up with a little story for them: In Flat World, there are sides to every story. Here comes a new Hero and the quest is simple. To unite the 4 sides of the forgotten square table, and awaken the mightiest of bosses with minimal damage to itself. This square and 3 of its friends take this quest without hesitation. For they are the only ones who can save the world. That’s pretty epic don’t you think? Anyway, I don’t think the game needs a story, in all honesty, just needs engaging gameplay. Thankfully it has it in spades!
Flat Heroes gameplay is a minimalistic intense platforming experience, that I’ve not experienced in such a unique way before. Your character is a little square with little tendrils that appear while jumping and moving about.
Let’s start on what’s on offer in this delightful package. We have 3 modes: Campaign, Survival and Versus, In Campaign mode there are 10 Worlds with over 300 handcrafted levels. Each world has 15 levels and boss battles at the end. When you start playing you will appear in a contained area in which you will have a full range of movement. You can move left to right with the left analogue stick. You can jump with the B button, but by pressing it while you’re in the air can give you an air dash which is very useful. If you press the Y button you do an area of effect attack around your character, this is great to destroy or rebound enemies away from you in the heat of the battle. You also have the ability to stick to walls, and believe me when I say that this is a very useful technique!
Each level has you trying to survive till the time runs out at the top right hand corner. You face a large number of different projectiles and intelligent enemies around the playing field. Your main goal is to clear each level in all the worlds. By using your abilities and survival instincts, you will get to face that world’s boss and hopefully defeat it so you can move on to the next. It sounds simple at first, but enemies have a range of different powers themselves, some will home in on you, others fire straight at you or purposely navigate on a collision course to kill you. Others can look pretty harmless like bubbles, but beware, everything can kill you in one hit which makes this game intoxicatingly addictive and tows the line between frustration and that one more go feeling to perfection. Even the most harmless of enemies can get you when your least expecting it. Others can set up lines of sight and dart around trying to hit you, it can all escalate pretty quickly especially when there are multiple enemies on screen all using their own skills all at the same time. Thankfully the controls are spot on and work precisely so you can navigate out of the tightest situations.
After you get to level 15, you face one of the 10 boss battles, these are another highlight. As each one has to be killed in a different manner and they will use differing strategies. I don’t want to spoil too much on the boss battles, but they’re really good fun. If you get stuck, you can simply pass the level you’re having difficulties with. But you’re missing out because if you manage to get through all of them, you unlock different colour palettes that you can swap with the L trigger, which is a neat feature. Not only can you can play the game in single player, but every mode can be played with 4 players, which is a crazy good time. I played with my family and there was a lot of shouting and bragging rights being thrown about!
There is the Survival mode too, and this is really well accomplished in my opinion. There are 8 modes to play, most are locked when you first start and you need to progress in the main Campaign before it unlocks itself. However, this mode is really enjoyable. You have an SP system in place. Every time you play one of the 8 modes you receive SP points that build up in the top right hand corner. These can accumulate over time and help you unlock more modes. As most are locked behind a certain required SP count. For example, the first mode Vertical is locked away and you need 1000 SP points to unlock it. So all you need to do is replay Mix mode and last as long as you can. At which point your given SP points which can be spent on unlocking these other modes.
Each of these modes can be played with 1-4 players too. There’s also a Daily Challenger mode, which you can play and rank up in world online leaderboards. Each mode in survival mode has online leaderboards and they are a great addition for people who like chasing top spot and who are competitive beasts. Daily Challenger mode, however, requires 25 SP points to play even if you died and want to play again, you will have to pay up. The game also tracks your best times and they appear next to each of the titles, so you know what place you’re currently sitting in. Then you got Versus mode, which can again be played by yourself with CPUs, fantastic love that, or with up to 4 friends.
There are 4 choices Zones, Battle, Runner and Catch. Zones is little like capture the objective, but you have to stay in each zone as the time expires if you’re in it, when it does you receive points. Sounds easy but it’s actually quite tough though, as it gets super hectic with all your friends or CPU characters bouncing about, smashing you out of the way. So far, I’ve only unlocked Zones in Versus mode, so I guess that after playing a little more on the other modes it will become available. This game is full to the brim with stuff to do in single and in multiplayer. It’s a simple concept that’s executed perfectly. Controls are intuitive, you’ve got a drop in and drop out co-op which is super simple and accessible. There are those 10 epic boss battles to look forward too. Not to mention 300 levels. Different difficulties, Daily challenges, Online leaderboards, you can play everything single or up to 4 players so it’s almost all here. the only thing missing is the ability to play online with friends.
The audio is nice and funky and fits the gameplay style really well. The sound effects are nice and simple and I have no complaints about the audio at all.
Visuals & Performance
I am calling Parallel Circles praises right now, and so should you. The game runs great and needs to when precise platforming is required. The UI is clear and the styling gives off a really smooth interface and makes the overall package even better. So the graphics in flat heroes has a very minimalist style. Clear and crisp with a variety of colours which makes the game just pop. The performance was perfect no drops in frame rate and everything ran really smoothly. Which is needed in a title that is as fast pace as Flat Heroes. Yes, it looks simple but it’s a style that fits this budget title perfectly.
At 8.99 its a steal in my book. I’ve actually got nothing negative to say about Flat Heroes. Yes, the game could have had online play but it’s the first time I’d say it doesn’t really need it. You’ve got single player content and multiplayer content shared perfectly with added daily challenges, extra Survival modes plus Versus mode, unlockable colour palettes, 300 levels, drop in and out co-op plus epic boss battles. I’ve played a lot more for a lot less, this has got it all. There is a lot of value here for your money and whats more the addictiveness just doesn’t seem to wane.
Single, multiplayer on everything.
Intense, heart pounding action.