Hey gang, Valkor here. And welcome to TOV 2015, where we enter out twelfth year bringing you the fun, the new and the “exciting”. For the first review of the New Year, I’ll be keeping things simple. The Playstation Vita is still holding its head above water with a steady stream of software coming down the pike. Enter “Flyhunter Origins”, a simple 2D platformer with a lot of heart.
Flyhunter Origins follows the adventures of bumbling janitor Zak, who while doing his duties, accidentally ejects the ship’s cargo and crew onto an unknown planet. You’ll take control of Zak in 2D side-scroll and 3rd person flight missions, as you head down to the planet to retrieve all that you've lost, equipped with only a flyswatter and jetpack. Eventually you’ll get a gun that can be used to stun certain creatures or make others go “pop”. And you’ll need everything and anything at your disposal as you’ll not only fend against some creepy critters but the environment as well. Objects that appear innocent in the background will jump out and attack such as frogs or spiders, if you happen to walk into their path. You’ll also need quick fingers to move Zak past snapping Venus flytraps, or enable his wall jump to get through precarious situations. And fear not, for if you happen to face death you’ll be brought back into the fold through a well placed cloner/checkpoint marker.
You’ll come into Flyhunter Origins for the gameplay and detail in graphics, but you’ll stay for the story, which seamlessly unfolds as you progress. For the most part you’ll hang with Zak, but at times the story will allow the ship’s captain – whom Zak has a crush on – to take part in the tale. So how does this one measure up?
If you’re a fan of the 2D, hop and bop genre, then adding Flyhunter Origins to your collection is a must and the perfect title to just mellow with. Controls are spot on having no real issues progressing through the stages and pulling off Zak’s simple moves (save for one, mentioned in the next section). The story is lighthearted, charming and fun, filled with loads of whimsical humor that won’t have you holding your sides, but you will chuckle here and there. My favorite is when Zak is testing out the cloner; I’m not sure why, but with his repeated deaths I couldn’t help but laugh. Graphically, the game is gorgeous and the look reminds me of Donkey Kong Country. Plus points to the attention to detail in the background; the colors are solid, bold and most fitting to each stage, plus the animation such as those freakin frogs - you’d think they’re just eyecandy, but then they suddenly suck you up. Audio is crisp and clean; there’s only one voice, which is a computer A.I. that not only helps progress the story, but also provides tips and information. The music is also very fitting with a bouncy, country blue grass beat, which helps immerse you into the experience. Overall, Flyhunter Origins is a solid effort by developer Steel Wool Games.
Along with the Vita version, Flyhunter Origins is available on other formats such as Android, iOS and Steam. And while I can’t speak on other platforms, the game on the Vita does suffer some slowdown here and there, which isn’t necessarily a good thing since it occurs during moments when not much is going on. Next is the controls, again spot on but getting used to the wall jump took a hot minute to get used to. And mind you it's quite easy to pull off, but sometimes things can get rather touchy, such as when you're faced with wall spikes or trying to get out of a lower area. Finally the load time for a digital title is kinda long. So you’ll need some patience between levels. I think the pay off is worth it, but still…
Flyhunter Origins is available now on multiple platforms – Playstation Vita, iOS, Android and Steam. And while the game does have a few distracting quirks, it’s still a playable, charming platformer that’s worth checking out. And out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Flyhunter Origins a 3.5.