Thursday, August 2

Review: Flat Heroes [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Flat Heroes is precisely what I am looking for in an indie title, and that so often is missing in mainstream offerings: the purity of a great idea impeccably executed. What looks to have begun as an exercise in working control mechanics to an extremely satisfying level of quality has been turned into a gauntlet of maddening challenges as well as a quick-paced multiplayer romp.


While the campaign starts out feeling more like a simple-ish puzzle game you’ll quickly begin to see signs of what’s to come. It very effectively begins to nudge you towards learning the control mechanics like double-jumping and sticking to walls, as well as the various enemies you’ll need to contend with. With each world and level new combinations of enemies and level designs will push you to further refine your skills and then each world culminates in a boss fight to test what you’ve learned. Perhaps it is the years of playing too many games with underwhelming boss battles talking but every boss battle is a challenge and several of them are downright brutal to take out. Things seeming to be a bit too tough? Get a friend to join in and you’ll double (or quadruple, it supports up to 4 players) your odds of success. On the other end, if you’re somehow feeling like the original levels aren’t quite tough enough the developers have included the much tougher Heroes campaign versions of everything as well that will quickly have you rethinking just how awesome you are.


On top of the single-player campaign there’s also then a Survival Mode and a multiplayer-focused Versus Mode. Survival mode requires little explanation, it is a gauntlet of challenges on a single level that will test all of those evasion skills you’ve (hopefully) mastered. Though the enemies and initial placements will remain the same for each round every match will inevitably play out differently the moment you begin moving. Through persistence and a bit of luck you’ll then unlock additional levels to further test your skills. Versus mode offers a variety of relatively simple game modes that will pit you against up to 3 friends or CPU opponents. Gameplay is fast and chaotic, seemingly perfectly suited to a raucous time with your friends locally.


All said Flat Heroes is a complete and deep package whose unassuming appearance belies a wide variety of challenges and opportunities for fun. Even if you’re unable to get some friends together the massive 300 levels of the single-player campaign, Survival levels, and pretty competent bot support for Versus mode could keep you occupied for quite some time. If you’ve been looking for something that’s satisfyingly different and impeccably crafted you’d be making a mistake by overlooking this indie gem.

Score: 9

Pros:
  • A tremendous amount of challenging single-player content
  • The controls are tight and precise
  • Multiplayer versatility means co-op Campaign play or competitive in Versus mode

Cons:
  • I’ll note there’s no online play to be complete but given the price point and amount of content that’s not a surprise
  • A minimalist look may unfortunately make people inclined to pre-judge