Is Latman Interactive's new game worth getting in a flap about?
If we were to tell you that Flap! HD was a game that featured a cute bird, flying left to right, soaring into the sky, before being brought back down to earth with a finger tap, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the game was just another Tiny Wings clone. While it would be unfair to write the game off so unfairly, it's also impossible to pretend that the vibrant art, characterization and gameplay of Flap doesn't owe at least a little something to that fine feathered friend of ours.
So what's different about the game? Well, for a start it has a unique and beautiful art style that's entirely its own, mixed with a jaunty kids TV soundtrack that's almost as good as the one we've listened to endlessly in Tiny Wings. As our hero bounces off the flowers and trampolines which launch him into the sky, you'll need to time his landings carefully in order to pick up coins, power-ups and ducklings before heading to the next platform. Should you clumsily miss and hit the ground then it's game over, although a finger-swipe will give you a limited burst of extra speed.
Gather enough of the coins in each world and you can choose from a selection of increasingly expensive upgrades, from a magnet that automatically gathers every coin on the screen, to a rocket pack that blasts you through a healthy chunk of each world. As a high score runner, albeit one without randomized levels, it's all rather good fun and there's leaderboard support to keep you on your toes.
It's a pity though that the objective-orientated section of the game is never explicitly explained to the player. At the end of each run, a menu screen offers up a handful of stats which includes a mysterious mention of 'Objectives'. Only by hunting around within the menu screens will you find the details of these, and they consist of hitting a certain number of consecutive perfect jumps or gathering up a number of ducklings.
The trouble is that these perfect jump objectives require a degree of precision and foresight that the game simply doesn't play fairly with. There's a certain amount of wobbliness when it comes to the collision detection as you bounce around the screen, and so even if you barely (if at all) make contact with the next landing spot, you'll often still be propelled skyward. As the game picks up speed, too much of the upcoming danger is obscured for the game to feel like a fair challenge.
So on the one hand Flap! HD is easy to recommend, yet we recommend it far more as a free-runner than an objective-based game. If it helps swing your opinion either way, the game's been launched with a free promotion that lasts until May 21st, so if you think this could be your cup of tea then you should definitely grab it while the offer's good.
What's Hot: Great art style and a wonderful soundtrack separate Flap from the competition.
What's Not: Questionable collision detection at times and the objectives of the game are rather poorly explained.