Fly’n

A cosmic bin-man with a hair dryer for a face has decided to dump the contents of his cosmic dustbin all over planetary World Trees. It’s up to a handful of strange, bug-like creatures with extraordinary abilities to prevent them dying. Known as Buds, these creatures combine all their powers to navigate tricky areas, stop Hair Dryer Face’s tyranny and restore harmony to their world.

The designers are clearly very talented — Fly’n is stunning to look at. The art is superb. It’s a magnificent universe, intricately designed and home to countless critters. The story is told without words. Landscapes are gorgeous and characters appealing. Music is impressively married to the action, soothing at times and adrenaline pumping whenever it should be.

The game is a clear metaphor for industry vs. nature. An ecological fable of sorts, Fly’n is full of charm and color. The creatures on a mission to restore the World Trees are reminiscent of beautiful bug-eyed butterflies. Each can move, jump, hover and utilize unique abilities.

There are four Buds to play as. Blue can infuse collected orbs into objects that help navigate the tricky environments. The green Bud sticks to surfaces and climbs to new places. Black can cross new areas by bouncing past the waste others can’t touch. Orange completes the quartet of brave critters, and is able to soar like a rocket to new heights and past devilish obstacles.

Fly’n possesses all the attributes of classic platform games and some innovative new ideas too. Levels allow plenty of exciting gameplay and constant challenges to overcome. Besides the standard platforming, players are able to switch between parallel dimensions, fly on air flows and use unique skills that vary depending on which character is in play. Missing a jump or errors in timing can result in colliding with scattered red waste that kills instantly.

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of early levels. The game soon ramps up in difficulty. The objective is to collect blue orbs that unlock previously blocked areas. Despite the difficulties, Fly’n rarely feels frustrating. Checkpoints are generously littered throughout. In levels where a fiery tide of doom chases you, the option to switch off the pursuing carnage is presented after ten failures.

Checkpoints also operate as places to switch characters. Later in the game, there are times when it’s important to switch between all four at the same point to overcome obstacles that require significant skill and near-perfect timing to get through.

There are plenty of reasons to keep playing beyond completing the game, too. As well as competitive leaderboards, there are loads of unlockable features to get and secrets to find. Not everybody will be bothered by pursuing the optional objectives, but for completionists, it will add hours of gameplay.

Fly’n is incredibly enjoyable. Utterly charming, its unique design and challenging gameplay will delight fans of platforming games. It’s only real drawback is the competitive genre in which it sits. Trying to stand out amid the myriad of great indie platformers is a tough ask, and many players will probably check out after the opening levels. Feel sorry for those that do though — they’ll be missing out on wealth of platforming goodness.