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Flat Pack is cute, challenging, and currently looking for a home on your iPhone or Android

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Thinks on the outside of a box

With the arrival of iOS 11 comes the death of a longtime favorite for millions of gamers around the world: Flappy Bird. Yes, the most fun game ever conceived and created is officially unplayable as Apple’s mobile operating system will no longer support 32-bit games or something like that. To honor its far too early death, let’s all take a moment and think back to the wonderful times we had playing Flappy Bird.

Oh, that’s right, there aren’t any. That game was dumb, we were dumb for playing it, and any developer who copied the formula and put it on the goddamn Wii U eShop is the dumbest of us all.

Good riddance to bad rubbish as well as all rubbish because who wants rubbish hanging around. iOS 11 may or may not be cutting off access to your favorite mobile game depending on how old it is and how much money it made for the developers that they would care to update it, but if your beloved has gone the way of the Dodo, the Saint Helena olive, or the rational Twitter user, may I suggest trying to find a new mobile lover in Flat Pack.

Available now on iOS and Android, Flat Pack is a 2D platformer set in a 3D dimension where you move the unnamed character -- who for the sake of this write-up I will refer to by the simple and down-to-earth name of Agamemnon -- past obstacles built into the outside of boxes, rectangles, and more. Aggie, as I will now call the unnamed star of this game, can only attack with their propeller which is only possible by flying into the butt of an enemy. I learned that in level two after finding out in level one that I can’t just hopa-da-bopa-da baddies like a certain former plumber.

Each level contains six sides of a cube that must be collected to advance, as well as a hidden star needed to unlock a secret ending. Levels are tightly compact and constantly introducing new threats to take account of. There are moving sections of each stage that can crush, arrows that can pierce, Thwomp-like blocks that move at a ballistic pace to squash, and so much more. Ags, which is what I decided Aggie would like as a nickname, died quite easily in the few hours I spent with Flat Pack but it was never a hindrance. Like a quality game should, death only made me more ambitious in my attempts to conquer every challenge that came Ags' and my way.

If you have already downloaded iOS 11, there is a special AR mode utilizing the OS’ ARkit. My first experience with AR was those cards included with the Nintendo 3DS. Beyond that, Pokémon Go, and the vastly superior Garfield Go, I haven't had much interest in the technology. Flat Pack rekindled my curiosity in it quite quickly.

I don't have a lot of open space at my house, so successfully completing these stages had me avoiding obstacles both inside and outside the game. Having to physically move my body around the level to see what is happening is a pure delight and the stages are quite fair so I didn't have instances of cruel and unavoidable deaths. This mode has made me really excited about what else I'll see with the ARkit in the coming years.

The controls are the only issue I have with Flat Pack. There are no dedicated buttons on the screen because the developer wanted to make this a one-thumb experience. For the most part, it succeeds. To move left or right, I swipe and hold in either direction. To jump, I tap the screen and keep tapping it if I want to fly. These actions cannot be performed concomitantly so I cannot run and jump. I can move left or right in the air only after I jump and begin falling back to the ground. Precise movement needed in some levels is difficult to achieve. In certain stages, faced with incredibly fast enemies and traps, it can cause quite the frustration but never enough to make me stop playing.

After thoroughly enjoying this and Cat Bird, I am all for more free-to-play mobile platformers that actually put effort into their concepts and executions. If Mario and Zelda were the titles that inspired this generation of game developers, maybe a mobile gem like Flat Pack will be one of the titles that inspire the next.

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CJ Andriessen
CJ AndriessenFeatures Editor   gamer profile

Just what the internet needs: yet another white guy writing about video games. Also, I backed that Bloodstained game. more + disclosures


 


 



Filed under... #Android #Augmented Reality #Free-to-play #Indie #iPad #iPhone #mobile #Mobile gaming #Platform games

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