I was taken back slightly when I heard that Flyhunter Origins, the debut game from new independent game studio Steel Wool Games, was created by a team of animators who have worked on such marvels as Disney•Pixar’s, “Brave,” “The Incredibles,” Toy Story, Monsters University, Ratatouille, and many others. So to think of that kind of animation translated over into a game I was all but excited to see what they could come up with. Though Flyhunter is aimed at a younger audience, it’s also a great game for casual gamers or for someone who wants to enjoy a slapstick animated story. Did the artists make a good transition from movies to games? Let’s find out.
Flyhunter Origins follows the misadventures of Zak, a bumbling alien spaceship Janitor who makes just a teeny mistake of dropping the ship’s entire cargo hold onto the planet below, Earth. Not only were the captured flies part of that cargo, but also the Captain, who has been sent to the planet’s surface with nothing to defend herself with. It’s Zak’s responsibility, you, to venture through treacherous terrain an save your Captain, your Cargo, and your Career.
Flyhunter is a side-scrolling platformer that has action and stealth gameplay spread across both the characters: action with Zak, and stealth with the Captain. Zak is a very tiny alien, so small that even a fly is a large creature to him, so almost anything is a danger, from puddles to ants to venus fly traps. Armed with a swatter and later on a stun gun, Zak has to take on the wildlife collecting biomass to keep his technology working and rare bug eggs to sell in exchange for weapon upgrades. Almost everything in this game can kill you, however you cannot actually die as the checkpoints are Clone-o-matics, machines that create an exact clone of yourself with no other consequence besides falling back to that position.
Once you reach the end of each episode you face… that’s right you guessed it, a fly, in which the game changes into a third person race where you must catch up to the fly using boosts and dodging obstacles before swatting it down to the ground. The Captain is not armed with an offensive weapon making all of her levels stealth designed, sneaking through vents and tunnels. Flyhunter is definitely a game aimed at casual gamers, mainly a younger audience such as early teens, but I was surprised to learn that it’s a mobile port, making it slightly more impressive in my eyes. This does however make the game incredibly short, it took me less than 2 hours to complete the game, although each level has biomass and bug eggs as well as secrets containing suits Zak can wear to collect.
Without a doubt the best part of the game, which is to be expected considering who it is made by, is the animation. Not once did the game look/feel cheap, it has smooth animations with a Monster’s Inc. look to them creating fluid cutscenes and really hitting the mark with it’s comedic moments. Although the graphics aren’t top of the range, from an indie company they are very appealing with a Monster Inc. style to it.
The only complaint I have regarding them is the fact there are almost no settings to alter besides resolution. As you can see from the image above the jagged lines on the wings, spikes and especially the swatter are pretty bad, so the addition of anti-aliasing settings would be great. The background scenery is also blurred which is a really nice effect and brings your focus to the foreground objects that are trying to kill you.
Another aspect I really enjoy about Flyhunter is the music. It’s quirky, quick and fun keeping you entertained throughout each level. The sounds blend in with the surroundings although there does seem to be an occurring bug (ha, bug) where upon killing a bug such as an ant the sound of it moving continues after it’s death, which is a bit weird and can make you think there are more enemies around. The game’s only just been released so hopefully the few glitches in the game will be fixed.
Overall, Flyhunter Origins is a neat little title whose main let-down is how short it is. However, this is reflected in the price at only $6.99 (£4.99), making it a cheap game for casual gamers and younger gamers.